PHASE ONE: BEGINNING PROJECT PINK
One fine morning in October 2007 brought a fortunate stroke of serendipity. Five ladies from Southern Manila— four cancer survivors and one medical doctor— discovered that they shared a common passion. Driven by their own experiences in their cancer journeys, they all sought to encourage, empower and provide hope for cancer patients and their families.
As their friendships were set well into stone, so was the commitment to start a cancer support group – a simple yet secure venue where individuals on a similar path can connect, inspire, educate and express themselves. And they called themselves Project Pink.
PROJECT – indicates a well-thought out undertaking where one could celebrate their uniqueness but work together towards one goal
PINK – While the color pink commonly represents womanhood, it also signifies health and harmony
Project Pink was formally launched in January 2008 as a non-stock, non-profit organization that aims to provide assistance and support to cancer patients and their families in their community. It was spearheaded by five core group members: cancer conquerors Melissa De Leon Joseph, Joy Trinidad, Angie Laborte, Jojette Yuhico; and Palliative Care physician Dr. Mae Corvera. Asian Hospital embraced them in its start-up, providing a venue to regularly meet as a support group and host wellness forums.
We no longer call ourselves survivors: instead, we are conquerors who wish to encourage many others, sending out the message that “there is more to life than cancer”. Indeed it is true,“we did not choose cancer, we choose life!”
PROJECTS AND VISION
Project Pink is associated with The Carewell Community. It is also the only accredited branch in Southeast Asia of the Wellness Community of Boston, USA, an international non-profit organization using the “Patient Active Concept” as its main advocacy. This is the same concept which Project Pink has adapted and aims to promote here in the south of Manila.
The vision of Project Pink is to provide emotional and psychological support to both the survivor and the caregiver – spouse, children and family — to give them hope and stand alongside them in their cancer journey.
Project Pink aims to help assist in the dissemination of cancer information and educate people about cancer. One of its goals is to build its own “home”, with a library and resource center for those seeking information about their cancer battle.
PHASE TWO: INTRODUCING STAGE ZERO
In 2013, Project Pink began a new fundraising and advocacy campaign as an extension of the Project Pink brand. Project Pink began to consider the rebranding due to a couple of realizations: first, that many other support groups used the color pink and the word ‘project’ in their name. Second, though the original founders originally envisioned women to be their main target—hence the pink ribbon, the symbol for breast cancer—the reality was that they’ve grown to include both male and female patients, with all types of cancer: colon, nasopharyngeal, cervical and lung cancer, among others.
And so they called it Stage Zero.
WHY STAGE ZERO?
[Stage Zero] is used to describe cancer in situ, which literally means “in place”.
Stage 0 cancers are still located in the place they started and have not invaded nearby tissue.
-American Joint Commission on Cancer
(for more information on the medical definition, see Stages of Cancer)
Beyond the medical definition, being ‘patient active’ in combining the will of the patient along with the skill of the doctor, alongside equally powerful interventions such as family and community support, can conquer cancer, keeping it at “STAGE ZERO” in another sense. We can limit cancer from invading the other aspects of our life…our mind, spirit and soul.
Project Pink felt compelled to stress two main things at this point in the group’s history. They wanted to zero in on what they’ve done for the past five years—encouraging and empowering patients, families and the community to CONQUER CANCER through knowledge, emotional, social and spiritual support.
The main desired outcome?
To bring every cancer down to STAGE ZERO!
To bring every cancer down to STAGE ZERO!