The History of Project Pink’d
Project Pink’d started as an idea from a water cooler conversation at work. It was 2010 and Cynthia Sturgeon, who had been diagnosed three years earlier, was looking for ways to assist fellow survivors improve their lives based on her own experience.
In 2007, breast cancer was discovered on Cynthia’s 40th birthday. Her experiences opened her eyes to the challenges faced by survivors that no one seemed to be addressing. In her own journey, survivorship was harder than going through treatment and as she met survivors and they shared their stories, she realized commonalities existed. “Often the largest battle is when you’re done with treatment,” Cynthia stated in her 2017 Edge Magazine feature story. “It becomes about defining a new normal, redefining your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.”
She founded Project Pink’d as a vehicle to close the gaps she saw in support that people face with the onset of breast cancer. From complimentary survivorship programs and Helping Hand financial grants, each new program they designed boldly addressed issues Cynthia and her team either experienced personally or uncovered while embracing and helping those impacted by breast cancer. “No other organization was focused on survivorship, and we knew how important it was to meet that need on a local level, including keeping all funds raised in our local communities,” Cynthia explained in 2017.
Project Pink’d grew from the initial water cooler idea, to a volunteer powered organization providing free program support for thousands of breast cancer survivors in Nebraska and Western Iowa. Project Pink’d provides support targeting mind, body and spirit – including financial aid, Healing Heart Kits designed to comfort survivors during treatment and expert facilitated programs targeting growth beyond survivorship. Key among organization goals are remaining local – what’s raised here stays here, programs are always free to survivors and the end-all goal is for survivors to thrive beyond their diagnosis.
Project Pink’d has grown from selling a few hundred calendars in 2010, raising $20,000 to impacting over 10,000 survivors and raising nearly $900,000 in 2022.
Cynthia continued to remain dedicated to Project Pink’d, Inc. until her last breath because she believed there was more to do and more to learn about how to help others thrive beyond a cancer diagnosis.