How one fundraiser started a movement for hope

Every year, Play for P.I.N.K. (PFP) empowers grassroots fundraisers to make an incredible impact on breast cancer research. 2016 was no exception; 30,000 volunteers from across the nation hosted thousands of lifestyle and sporting events through PFP, raising $4.8 million for BCRF this year alone.

Play for P.I.N.K. is a cornerstone of the BCRF family and the single largest independent contributor to the Foundation. Dedicated to accelerating advances that will affect detection, treatment and survivorship, PFP has contributed more than $48 million for critical breast cancer research since 1996.

Play for P.I.N.K. was started by founder Laura Lassman as a one-time golf tournament in New Jersey to raise money for breast cancer research. After learning of a close friend’s diagnosis, she rallied her local country club to raise funds. The eagerness of the community to help allowed the event to grow and flourish with opportunities to fund more science, faster.

In 1996, Laura was introduced to BCRF Founder Evelyn Lauder, marking a pivotal moment in PFP’s history. PFP soon named BCRF as their sole beneficiary, allowing 100% of Play for P.I.N.K.’s proceeds to go directly to the Foundation.

“It began as an act of friendship…I never imagined that one decision would have such a significant impact on so many lives,” said Laura.

At the heart of Play for P.I.N.K. is a devoted community - best friends, school groups, country clubs, and a variety of supporters from across the nation inspire each other to raise funds for research. PFP organizers are passionate about keeping fundraising fun; by hosting a PFP tennis match, golf tournament or card party in their communities, everyone puts more hope in the game.

“Nearly 20 years ago I heard the dreaded words, ’You have breast cancer,’” said Claudia Burke, PFP participant and National Advisory Board member. “I am a very thankful survivor, and I would like the day to come when everyone who hears those words will also become a survivor. Play for P.I.N.K. allows me the opportunity to work toward that goal.“

PFP grant recipients are an integral part of the close-knit community. The organization currently supports 26 of the greatest minds in science at leading academic medical institutions around the world. Each day, the scientific advances made possible in part by PFP brings all of our communities closer to a world filled with better treatments, more options, and ultimately a cure.

“If not for funding from Play for P.I.N.K., our Dana-Farber team could not have initiated the research on relationships between ovarian and breast cancers, leveraging discovery in one disease to benefit the other,” said PFP grantee Ross Berkowitz, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

“With this support, we found accumulation of genome damage and mutation in tumor are associated with better treatment outcomes with longer lives of patients in both diseases.”

After more than 20 years of supporting ground breaking research, PFP has no plans of stopping. The organization kicked-off the new year with a brand new website, ready-to-use resources, and more supporters than ever before. As the community grows, so does the shared passion to be the end of breast cancer as we know it.

 

Starting your own Play for P.I.N.K. event is easy; learn more by visiting www.playforpink.org.

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