Founder of breast cancer nonprofit in Nebraska is ready to step down

Project Pink’d founder: “I’m passing the baton.”
WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 7:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska’s non-profit Project Pink’d is coming off its biggest fundraiser ever as the founder prepares for the next chapter.

The volunteer-powered organization celebrated 12 years this weekend. Many breast cancer survivors, their families, and medical professionals watched as confetti bombs and champagne marked the occasion for Project Pink’d.

“Financial assistance is the heart of what we do,” said founder Cynthia Sturgeon. “To answer the question of ‘How do I live my best life in spite of the disease.’”

Nineteen women at different stages of their breast cancer journey took the stage at the Embassy Suites La Vista to reflect on the last year and a half together. The laughs, the tears, the uncertainty.

“Is this my last year? I have to transition and pass the baton and this is the year I’m passing the baton based on taking care of succession planning because my days are numbered. I’m open to saying that.”

Cynthia Sturgeon wanted to make sure the night was about the survivors and not her. She’s earned the right.

After all, she started the organization to fill in the gaps she saw after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2007 and understands this gala could be her last.

“I’m well past my expiration date,” she said. “We joke about it, but I am. I have been given a gift that’s longer than statistics would have given me and I’m going to keep serving as long as I possibly can. It’s what I do.”

When she was re-diagnosed in 2016 with metastatic breast cancer she knew the statistics.

Twenty-six months to live. It’s been five years.

“It’s hard to move forward, even when you’re done with treatments,” she said. “You want to live and thrive. But it’s a tall order to do that sometimes and it takes people who understand it.”

A mix of gratitude and reality keeps her going. Cynthia Sturgeon combined it with the belief that what she started will be there after all of us are gone.

“We know their families and we know them. It’s important for us to keep that culture and to not let go of that.”

Project Pink’d raised around $40,000 for its first event more than a decade ago. This weekend it brought in $550,000 to benefit those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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