BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:
The CARE Project, Inc.Riverside, California
ABOUT THE BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:The CARE Project, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit funded solely on private donations and fundraising events and 100% volunteer run. Unlike other breast cancer charities, even our board members and officers volunteer. We provide emotional and financial support to male and female breast cancer patients undergoing and recovering from treatment. We realize that while you're not working full time, due to treatment, everyday necessities become luxuries. Not many charities provide cash aid and we do. We provide financial assistance for things like, but not limited to: groceries, fuel, utilities, rent/mortgage, childcare, etc.
We have also forged great collaborations with companies that supply medically necessary products for breast cancer patients, such as LympheDIVAs for compression garments. Many breast cancer survivors undergo an axillary dissection and lymph node removal, which then can cause lymphedema. Compression garments help to manage it, but can be really expensive. A huge part of what we do is emotional support by way of our Survivor Social Club, which takes the place of a traditional "Support Group." We realize the value of a non-clinical setting to really allow patients to fellowship, share tips and tricks for managing side effects as well as health and wellness educational activities. We meet monthly to check in with one another, go on daytrips or simply share a meal. Another component of our emotional support is the Survivor Mentorship we provide. We link a newly diagnosed patient up with a seasoned survivor to serve as a mentor for one-on-one support, in between our monthly socials. We also have a Prom Project where we sponsor one teen in our community whose parent is undergoing treatment which allows the parent a little financial breathing room. During the holidays, we also sponsor a family and provide gifts, services and just love on them. Lastly, we aim to raise awareness regarding MALE breast cancer. So many people do not realize men can and do get breast cancer. Often, their survivor rates are much lower than females, most likely from being diagnosed at a later stage.
We are truly a grass-roots organization with good old fashioned community supporters who do extraordinary things to help keep us sustainable. We are also coming from the Survivor's Perspective, since I am a Stage III survivor of six years and my Vice President is a Survivor as well.
For more information, you can visit www.thecareprojectinc.org.
THE STORY:In 2012, I had undergone a mastectomy, chemotherapy and was midway through radiation when I really felt depleted, emotionally and physically. I told my co-founder, Christina that I wished I could talk to someone who had "been there, done that." She was a great supporter, but couldn't fully relate to what I was feeling. It was then my "big bright idea" to start an organization came up. She agreed to be my co-founder and help me get it off the ground. Friends, family and community members knew of my big bright idea and we pooled our money to incorporate and apply for 501(c)3 states from the IRS. We've been in business four years now and every year we earn more supporters which has kept us afloat.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS / ACCOLADES / AWARDS:We were elated just to hit the three-year anniversary as a 501(c)3 nonprofit as we see many other grass roots charities fold by that point. We attribute our success to our community friends who have continued to share the mission of TCP with others. Our first grant from eWomen Network, Orange County was received in 2017 and was our biggest to date at $5,000. I was flown to Dallas, Texas to attend a three-day event and presented the check/award. It was quite an honor. I also received a Latina of Influence Award in April of 2017 from Hispanic Lifestyle. That too was quite an honor.
ROADBLOCKS AND CHALLENGES:I haven't faced any roadblocks so to speak. In fact, doors have opened for TCP that I never dreamed of. I know I'm walking in my purpose because opportunities keep falling in my lap. It's a wonderful feeling to be truly LIVING my purpose, versus just surviving cancer.
CHILDHOOD YEARS:Growing up, I never quite felt that I fit in. I always had a huge heart and that often caused me to be taken advantage of. Despite having family & friends, I often felt isolated and alone. I always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, but just didn't know how or what that would look like.
CONTACT INFORMATION:7121 Magnolia Avenue, Suite B.
Riverside, California 92504