By: Ben Broghammer, Founder & President
November is Awareness Month for stomach cancer, and it provides a time to bring attention to, to focus in on, and to talk about a disease that affects so many people every day. When I think back to what we have been able to accomplish and what this organization means to all those we are able to help, I am reminded of the values we were founded on—values that touch the meaning of what charity is all about, down to its roots. To boil it down simply—it means doing all we can, without self-interest, to better the lives of others, for the right reasons and in the right way, and to do all we can to leave our world a better place.
Roughly one million new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed this year, and with a five-year survival rate of about 28%, while being the fifth most common type of cancer worldwide, little attention is brought to this disease. In fact, just over a quarter of a single percent of the cancer research budget of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is directed toward the research of this specific disease. That leaves nearly all funding up to private foundations and public charities like ours to set the ground work that will really make a difference in the big picture. Stomach cancer is not a disease that is talked about much, and unless someone is personally affected by it, it is rarely paid attention too. It is a disease that gets diagnosed in later stages and is often confused with other conditions. More needs to be done to bring attention to this horrific type of cancer, and more research needs to be funded for its cure. That is why we are doing what we are doing, and that is why awareness month is so important.
When I decided to start this organization, I was twenty years old, my cousin had just passed away from the disease, and all I wanted to do was make a difference in the world that could be felt, and create tangible change in the lives of others. Even if we were only able to help just one person, the hard work would have been all worth it. And with that, I decided every dollar we raised would be directed toward our mission, meaning I wouldn’t take a salary, and everyone else involved would be completely volunteer as well. This has allowed us to make a bigger difference, give more to research, and keep our mission in mind when making decisions. That is something that was important to me then, and still is. I am able to see all that one decision allows us to do, especially when we are able to give more funding to a cancer center and see what that extra amount does. It is a value that we are nearly alone in having and living by when compared to other national and international non-profits, and it is something I am so proud of. It is who we are, and it touches so deeply what charity is.
I think when we are put in a situation that tests who we are as people, we are given an opportunity to take action or let those events take us down. When my cousin passed away, I poured all my grief and emotion into doing something that would make a positive difference. I felt called to do something that would make our world a better and brighter place and help others. And this November’s awareness month, I am especially aware of what that mission means, the importance of what we are doing, and the commitment we have made to do all we can and never give up until our mission is accomplished. One day a cure will be found. It is only a question of when. And we can all play a part in having that be sooner than later. We all have a role to play in making our world a better place and bringing an end to all cancer, and for me, that started with forming a foundation that brings awareness and helps support the research that is desperately needed for a cure to be found.
Giving to Project Periwinkle
We are only able to keep our mission moving forward because of the generous support we receive. Please consider making a gift that will allow our work to continue. 100% goes to our cause, and any gift, large or small means so much to us. Project Periwinkle is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. Please visit our donation page to learn more. Thank you for your support!