The face of cancer has changed and when a young woman receives the news that she has been diagnosed with the disease, it is not only frightening, but bewildering as she seeks support from among her peers.
The Pink Pearl Foundation, the vision of Thorold native Elise Gasbarrino who was diagnosed with cancer while still in University has not only raised money and awareness but it also has helped create the support network the young women of today so desperately need when they receive news of their disease.
The following is an interview with Courtney McNamara of Pink Pearl Foundation who talks about the organization itself as well as the amazing fundraiser coming up at the Distillery District in Toronto.
What is your history with Pink Pearl Foundation?
I joined Pink Pearl just over 2 years ago when my good friend, Elise, founded the organization. Elise was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while we were in University and has been working ever since to turn her experience into something positive for other people. I just knew I had to be a part of it. Now I manage our 2 major annual events – “Black & White with a touch of pink” which we are hosting at Airship37 this year, and “One Fine Day” which is held in the summer and encourages our supporters to host their own events in support of Pink Pearl, all on the same day!
The branding and presentation of Pink Pearl Foundation is very unique. It is very stylized, fresh and positive and is devoid of a clinical look that you may find in the health sector. What is the idea behind the branding?
Thanks for noticing! That’s exactly what we are going for… Our organization addresses the non-medical, emotional side of being a young women who is facing cancer. That was the thing that Elise really missed when she was undergoing treatment so it’s the gap that we aim to fill. Pink Pearl is a peer-support organization for women facing cancer, but it is also about celebrating and enjoying the preciousness of life. We hope that comes through in the brand.
Does Pink Pearl Foundation brave relationships with other non-profits it works in conjunction with?
Absolutely. Partnerships have played a significant role in our success. The organization actually grew from a relationship with The Juravinski Cancer Center where Elise received her treatment. They have been so supportive in enabling our programs within the hospital and connecting us with great resources. We also work closely with Wellwood, Wellspring and Walker Cancer Center which are amazing non-profits that also provide support and resources for patients and their families. We are always looking to connect with other like-minded organizations and believe partnering only makes us stronger.