Eight years ago I hatched a formal non-profit for wedding professionals to help in the fight against breast cancer. I cultivated the brand, a blog, then a website, then another website, gathered an incredible board of directors, grew a membership to more than 150 strong, hosted fundraising events, helped others host events like golf tournaments and networking galas and marathons, attended luncheons and corporate meetings, spoke on the radio and was interviewed in magazines, presented at conferences, led monthly board meetings and annual meetings and photographed for free til my heart's content for this important cause.
I learned SO MUCH from dreaming and making Pink Initiative a reality. It made me realize that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. But if you add a bit of heart, too? Oh, that's when the yummy richness of our work can be seen. Tens of thousands in donations, more than 30 lives potentially saved from hosting Dana Farber's mobile mammography van – twice! – for women who otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford the service, a trip of a lifetime for a family to DisneyWorld fighting the fight and making memories of a lifetime, and on and on.
If I could have done that work all day every day and still pay my mortgage, I so would. Working for the greater good is enormously fulfilling. Life, however, has gotten busy. Each of our board members has started their own family and/or business or moved on in recent years and the guilt of not keeping the organization as active as it should weighs on me daily.
2015 will be our final year in active operation and recent donations will be gifted to the Young Survival Coalition, an organization that was helpful when we were getting our feet off the ground and who introduced us to breast cancer survivor Tina Koral. The following quote from her memoir If I Just Breathe became our anthem for Pink Initiative's work:
“The photographs from my wedding day show a joyful young couple, visibly excited to start a new life together. The promise of a happy home full of children shone in our eyes. The thrill of that day, of marrying my childhood love in a city filled with romance, will stay with me forever. What I did not know at the time was that along with something old, new, borrowed and blue, I carried a seven centimeter, rapidly growing mass of malignant cells in my breast. I was twenty-nine years old.”
We still have custom Sea Bags and wine bags for sale if anyone is interested. They're a collector's item now! More info can be found here.
To J, Megan, Kelsie, Mia, Liene and Linda, heartfelt thanks to each of you for your love and dedication to this cause over the years. An extra special thanks to Megan for detailing your personal journey on our blog – you are a crazy awesome inspiration. To my mom and Steve as well. And to Donna and Olivia, who will forever be the heartbeat of my charitable work to come. xoxo