My guest on this week’s episode is Becky Horn. She is the Executive Director at Pretty in Pink Foundation. She joined me to share the history, vision, and mission of Pretty in Pink.
Founded in 2004 by Dr. Lisa Tolnitch, a breast cancer surgeon, Pretty in Pink was established after Dr. Tolnitch noticed that some of her patients were not receiving their cancer treatments. She discovered that many patients were economically disadvantaged and did not have the means to pay for cancer treatments. They were deciding between cancer treatments or put food on their table or pay for their rent.
Dr. Tolnitch created the foundation in order to provide un- and under-insured breast cancer patients in North Carolina with financial assistance for life-saving medical treatments. The foundation seeks to remove the financial burden of care for those in active treatment in order to increase their chance of survival. Pretty In Pink is the only non-profit in North Carolina whose primary mission is to fund medical treatment for breast cancer patients.
The foundation seeks to find patients in need by going into the community, hosting Lunch and Learns, and creating/maintaining relationships with county health departments and radiologists. The foundation looks for opportunities to share and also utilizes social media to find patients who are in need.
Becky shared that many times, the foundation is the last resort for many patients. They have exhausted all possible resources. While many of the patients seeking support are later stage, the foundation does provide financial assistance to all patients regardless of staging. They serve both women and men. Approximately 48% of the patients they serve are African American.
Of the 100 counties in North Caroline, Pretty in Pink has served individuals living in 94 of those counties. In the past year, they have served 270 people with 20 more applications to be reviewed.
In order to receive assistance, the patient has to submit an application and tell their story in their own words. For Becky, as a survivor herself, this is one of the hardest parts. She maintains a notebook of the stories so that she never becomes numb to it. Applicants have to be a US citizen, a North Carolina resident, and earn less than 250% oof the poverty level. Pretty in Pink provides grants to individuals and pay medical bills directly through the service provider in order to take the patient out of the equation. This allows the individual to focus on treatments rather than paying for treatments. Pretty in Pink works with service providers to negotiate the cost.
Funding sources for Pretty in Pink come from grants, business donations, and individual fundraisers.
While the primary mission of Pretty in Pink is to provide financial support, they also provide other free resources such as wigs, make-up, protheses, and bras.
For more information, visit Pretty in Pink at prettyinpinkfoundation.org