by Jan James, Founder
Provision Project is a different kind of breast cancer non-profit organization. You don’t see much pink on our website. Some. But not much.
And that’s on purpose. Throughout the years, the pink ribbon of breast cancer has become a synonymous symbol of breast cancer. In October, the country turns pink. Commerce turns pink. Even the NFL turns pink.
We’re very grateful that there is so much awareness of breast cancer in the United States, and that awareness has undoubtedly saved thousands of lives because women are reminded to do self-exams and mammograms.
The leadership team at Provision Project has intimate knowledge of breast cancer. All of our board members either have had breast cancer or have had a loved one fight it. Most of us are part of a large online breast cancer support group that I founded in 2012 where we learned firsthand that many of our sisters are fighting another battle on top of breast cancer. It’s a financial battle.
It started innocently enough. One of the gals in our support group asked us to pray for her. She needed to decide whether to pay her co-pay for chemo the next day OR to pay her electric bill, which was overdue and about to be disconnected. Thankfully, some of the women in our group rallied around her and found the funds to make both things happen.
But that wasn’t the only situation we heard about. We painfully learned that women with stage 4 breast cancer never stop treatment … if one treatment stops working, they start a different protocol. How can a family be expected to keep up with the deductibles, co-pays and their regular bills for the rest of their lives? Especially when one of the family’s breadwinners is fighting for her life and either has to cut back on work hours or can’t work?
We all became aware that financial devastation is often a side effect of breast cancer treatment that no one talks about. And that’s not right.
My best friend and co-leader for the breast cancer support group, Renee Miki, quietly started to sell off her possessions so she could send money to women who were suffering financially. No one but her husband, Jacob, and I knew that she was doing it. Renee and I often talked about why there were no non-profits that helped women financially while they were in treatment. Almost all the breast cancer non-profits we knew about were raising money for “the cure.” Or “awareness.”
Renee changed her address to Heaven in November 2014, leaving Jacob and her two young daughters behind. Jacob challenged me to start a non-profit in Renee’s honor, and Provision Project was born in February 2015.
Why call it “Provision Project”? Because we’re providing for the most basic of necessities. That’s it. Every human being deserves to have food, clothing and shelter. But the breast cancer fighter also needs deductible payments, co-pays, prescriptions, gas to get to treatment and other basic needs. Often there just isn’t enough money to make all of those “basics” happen.
Jacob is a graphic designer, and it only seemed right that he would design the logo for Provision Project. We didn’t give him any ideas about what to create, but when he came back to us with the current logo, we knew it was The One.
Why a dandelion? Jacob says, “My idea behind the dandelion is that its head is made up of several seeds that work together for the purpose of multiplying and creating more dandelions. The dandelion seeds sprout new growth and create more dandelions. Our hope is that the seeds that each donation represents will not only be disbursed to give financial relief and hope, but also inspire others to donate and support the cause as well. The more donations we can disburse, the more women we can help.”
We loved Jacob’s idea, and we also loved the idea of having a “not pink on purpose” logo. Our logo is the colors of life. We are helping women live with cancer.
Remember being a child and picking a dandelion that had gone to seed? What would you do? You’d blow it into the wind and make a wish. Provision Project likes to think of those seeds as seeds of hope. The women we serve need hope. They need financial relief. They need to know that someone cares about them and their fight and will help them get through it. They need Provision Project.
On Friday, October 14, 2016, Provision Project Founder Jan James was interviewed on 92.3 KTAR-FM. Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes air a segment called, “Restoring Your Faith in Humanity.” The segment features a business, organization or person from the Phoenix area that is helping others. You can listen to the interview by clicking here.
Many thanks to Bruce and Pamela for their continued support of Provision Project’s work to provide financial relief to women in active treatment for breast cancer.
by Kristin Knerr
I am honored that Provision Project has asked me to tell my story. This project is very close to my heart, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this group of women who have inspired me and encouraged me so much.
I don’t want to tell the story of my diagnosis or my journey through the battlefield. My story is most likely much like yours. The devastating phone call, the destruction of body, mind, and spirit. The confusion, the sorrow, the suffering, the agonizing pain. The coming undone.
What I want is to give you the most valuable weapon you must have if you are to survive and move on again. I want to give you hope. I want you to know in your darkest and loneliest of hours, that you will come out the other side again. In the burning away of all that you are and possess, do not let go of your hope. The sun is going to shine, your hair is going to grow back, you will laugh out loud, and you will grow strong once again, I promise. I will never say, “Don’t give up,” because I did, one thousand times. Victory isn’t in the not giving up. It’s in the getting up, over and over again. I don’t recall ever thinking that cancer would be the death of me, but I certainly do remember thinking that despair would. Connect yourself to other survivors because they understand, and they need you to survive as well. I am here with you. My name is in the link here somewhere, and I want you to friend me or message me. Take my hand, I’ll go with you as far as I am able. When you want to give up, I’ll stand in the gap for you.
After I finished treatment, I was left with some significant physical disabilities. I was not able to walk very well and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. I would wake up in the mornings, and the first thought I would have was, “I can’t” and I would cry myself out of bed. It took almost two years to be able to walk normally and a lot of physical therapy, but here I am, on the other side.
A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to climb Mount Tetakawai located in Sonora, Mexico, surrounded by the Sea of Cortez. I was accompanied by my daughter, grandson, and a precious friend who has stayed with me through it all. Funny thing about mountains, they don’t look very intimidating when you see them from a distance. But when you stand at the base of them and look up, it appears insurmountable. I think being on the cancer battle field is a lot like climbing that mountain.
Mount Tetakawai isn’t an exceptionally large mountain, but it is technical and complicated. There are large sections of shale and slate with razor sharp edges. There are a few sections of rock that you can’t actually climb but can sort of throw your body over them. How did I climb that mountain? One rock at a time. I stopped and rested a few times, but I kept going. I came to a few spots that made me laugh because I knew there was no possible way I was strong enough to get through it, but I did. The love and encouragement from those that were with me got me over the top of several boulders. When I looked up at the mountain looming overhead, I knew I couldn’t do it, but when I looked at each rock as its own challenge, I knew I could do that. Let me tell you, the view from the top defies description. I was somehow changed inside, standing on the highest point, witnessing the way the ocean met the sky.
Keep going. Keep reaching up and forward, and keep your eyes on the little obstacles in front of you because before you know it, you will be at the top without even knowing how you really got there. Be courageous, be fierce, and most of all, be full of hope.
The Tee Off for Pink Golf Tournament will be hosted by Provision Project, an Arizona-based non-profit organization whose mission is to provide financial relief to women in active treatment for breast cancer. Find out more at www.provisionproject.org.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, Adobe Course, 2400 E Missouri Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85016
This tournament date is the Saturday before the Biltmore will overseed the Adobe Course for winter grass. All 18 tee boxes will be moved in order to make the yardages between 145 and 191 yards, making each hole “hole-in-one possible.” A brand new car from 18 Valley dealerships will be sitting on each of those tee boxes, allowing players 18 opportunities to shoot a hole-in-one to win a new car!
Jan James, Tournament Director and Provision Project Founder
EVERY month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Provision Project. EVERY month we receive applications from women who need help paying their bills while fighting breast cancer. Funding is needed EVERY month to help. We need your help!
Five dollars. Most of us spend five dollars without blinking. At the coffee shop. At a convenience store. At a fast food restaurant. At the drug store. Five dollars. It’s not a lot, right?
So can we ask you to donate at least $5 a month for the next year? If you do …. and if others do …. we will be able to help more women at higher levels of assistance. Many small donations can have BIG IMPACT!
Our goal is to get 500 new donors who will give a minimum of $5 per month for a year this October. Please help us reach this goal so more women can be helped in the upcoming year!
by Rashida Willard, Executive Director
The first eighteen months of Provision Project have been remarkable because of supporters like you! Thanks to one of our committed donors, we are strengthening our infrastructure with a system that will allow us to communicate with you more. Look for regular newsletters like this one to learn how your generous donations are impacting women in active treatment for breast cancer.
It was around Christmas when I found the lump. I was 34 years young and enjoying the wonderful life I had. No one in my family had cancer, so I would be okay, right? The holidays were full of tests and pokes and doctors’ appointments (more…)
A huge THANK YOU to The Standard for hosting the 2016 Volunteer Fair. Provision Project’s Executive Director Rashida Willard and Treasurer Michelle LaLonde were privileged to be a part of the fair and met so many survivors and family of survivors! We appreciate everyone that stopped by to hear about all the great things Provision Project is doing and how you can help support our mission!