Seventeen years ago on October 2, 2006, Pink Fund was officially launched with a front-page story in The Detroit Free Press, written by Medical Writer, Pat Anstett Kiska.
And when I say front page, I am referring to a particular section of the paper, primarily devoted to women.
The story detailed my efforts to launch an organization that would help to pay the essential non-medical bills of women in treatment for breast cancer. Women at risk for treatment nonadherence, medically related bankruptcy and in the most egregious case, earlier mortality, because their inability to pay essential cost of living bills for housing, transportation, utilities and insurance caused them to seriously
consider stopping treatment and returning to work.
But here’s the thing, it was NOT just my efforts, but those of my husband’s as well.
However, over the last 17 years I have taken all the credit as Founder of Pink Fund, when in fact we founded the organization together.
It was Tom, who stood beside me and managed the details, while I, the visionary, imagined what we might accomplish.
It was Tom, who wrote our application to the government, known as the 1023, which granted us our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status within a miraculous three weeks of submission, no questions asked.
And it was Tom who wrote our bylaws.
And Tom who pulled us out of various logistical challenges, finding advisors, when we desperately needed them.
It was even Tom who came up with the name Pink Fund.
And today, it is still Tom, who as Comptroller manages all our financial and legal relationships and advises me when I might make hasty and poorly thought-out decisions.
Our nightly pillow talk is often about Pink Fund, and how we can do more to help more.
Every visionary needs their Tom, the person who translates big ideas into actionable steps to move the larger vision forward.
For the last 18 years, Tom has stood in my shadow, content to let me shine. I was the one with all the glory, while he was the one with all the strength.
And so in tribute to Tom, imagine me as Bette Midler singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings..."
It might have appeared to go unnoticed
But I've got it all here in my heart
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it
I would be nothing without you!
And so, it is today, that I am finally coming clean. Today I am retiring my title as Founder of Pink Fund and changing it instead to Co-Founder, recognizing the man who has been the wind beneath my wings.