Before we ask you to join with us in our efforts to overcome oral cancer, we would like you to think for a moment about non-profit foundations in general. Why do foundations like ours exist? There are many reasons, but primarily they come into being because a particular need is not being met adequately through any other means. They exist to increase awareness of that need or problem, drawing public, professional, and governmental attention to its unique situation. Foundations then apply that public awareness to effect change. Worthy endeavors in the form of non-profit foundations abound. Those that seek to protect our environment, that help shed light and elucidate diseases and chronic conditions that burden lives, others that champion social causes, or lift the human spirit. All worthy in their own right. Our government cannot allocate the resources to every worthy cause which exists. Professional associations in the arts, sciences, medicine, education, etc. also cannot meet the demands of every need, even within the more finely tuned scope of their efforts. Foundations attempt to fill these voids, and their efforts and contributions have been profound. They have protected endangered species, preserved habitats and wilderness, championed the rebirth of inner cities and provided opportunities for the under served and the less privileged of the worlds populations. They have fed the hungry and moved governments to change. Cures for disease and important medical research are furthered by their involvement, and they have enriched lives with exposure to arts.
Of course many more positives could be added to this list, but their most important contribution is more subtle, they give voice to those who alone may not be heard. When an idea or cause is acted on by a chorus of voices speaking in unison, it will be heard. The individual voice, amplified through a foundation becomes the catalyst for change and empowerment, the creator of hope, and the general improvement of the quality of our existence.
People become involved in foundations for a simple reason. They share a common value with the goals and visions of the foundation. Through their association, they add their voice, their time, and money to a cause which speaks to their own individual value system. In a world where the focus frequently seems to be on the selfish enrichment of individuals and personal consumerism, those who join with a cause set themselves apart. When you hear of a foundations success in a particular endeavor, it is in reality, the thousands of private individual voices of their members whose synergistic contributions have effected that change. While foundations and their causes often are able to accomplish a particular goal through the benevolence of a major corporate partner, or private individual with the financial independence to altruistically further that effort, most financial support arrives in thousands of small increments. The individual memberships and small donations of concerned and more importantly, involved, private individuals allow a foundation to carry out both its mission and vision.
Many have called oral cancer an “orphan disease” since no one until now has come forward to adopt the cause and champion its defeat. A killer who takes more lives than commonly known diseases such as cervical cancer and skin cancer, it has gone relatively unchallenged. For decades there has been little or no improvement in the numbers and statistics which count its deadly existence. There has been little effective effort to increase the public’s awareness of this disease, and how they can reduce the risk of oral cancer touching their own lives. Professions who have had the ability to decrease the morbidity and death rate through early detection have not involved themselves adequately in efforts to do so. It is time for a change. We ask you to join with us in our efforts to educate the public to the risks, and to create in their minds an understanding of the need for an annual screening to find oral cancer at its earliest stages where it is most likely to be cured. We ask you to add your voice to those encouraging the medical and dental professions to aggressively become involved in its detection at these curable stages. To join with us in the implementation of initiatives in prevention of the disease through education of our youth and those most at risk of developing oral cancer, and to help search for improved methods and technologies to discover, diagnose, and cure oral cancers. Through your membership and donations, you will contribute to all these goals. You will become a partner and a voice in a chorus for change and healing.