Brian Hill, OCF Founder/Executive Director and Stage IV Oral Cancer Survivor

I hope the Oral Cancer Foundation can count on your help in December this year to fund our continued activities in 2024. Even as lean an organization as we run, with only 17.5% of each dollar going to fundraising or operational overhead and the rest being applied to our cause-related missions in 2023, there is never enough funding to address all the opportunities we know need attention. The years of a pandemic have crippled many small nonprofits and OCF, while still offering services that help patients navigate treatments and find clinical trials when things do not go as planned, needs as much help as your generosity can muster. This year, we have had a couple of walk-run fundraising events that help raise funds, but not like pre pre-pandemic and CDC shutdown of all of them. They are a large, primary source of donations and revenue, as we, unlike others, do not seek large support from the pharma industry. The net of that is some programs have had to be cut back, and important ones like our Free Vitamix to those that qualify for one have a waiting list now, which it has never had pending funding for purchases.

Historically, OCF’s financial support predominantly comes from those we have served, individuals who understand the chilling touch of this disease personally or on a family member’s life, and from those who work with us in the medical and dental communities who have first-hand knowledge of what OCF accomplishes. The truth is that we are just the vehicle to manifest their desire to better the oral cancer problem and bring this cancer down from its high ranking as a killer. Our ability to do so is directly tied to their support, both financially and as volunteers. This benevolence of thousands of private individuals makes each year’s activities and progress possible.

I hope that this year, we can count on your support and financial partnership to bring tangible, positive change to the world of oral cancer. It has not gone away or diminished because of the pandemic. It is as large and terrible a disease presence as it has ever been, and the suffering that it causes has not ceased because of the COVID-19 virus. Only together, when thousands of individual voices unite into a single chorus and a unified course of action, does progress occur.

This ask for your support is followed by a long piece on why OCF is different than others and deserving of your support. If you already know us and our work and understand that, please donate to the block below if you have better ways to spend your time.

I have been told by people who understand this process of keeping a non-profit financially viable better than I, that if you wish to ask people for their help, for their donations; that you need to be concise, to the point, and be direct. For them, my opening paragraph certainly fills the bill. But as you are about to see, I do not entirely agree. That is because I personally would not give to a charity that I did not know something about, one whose staff were unknown to me, or their perspectives and ideas to create change explained. I would also like to know or have access to what others who are respected in the non-profit world say about them. Charity rating organizations whose badges and access are on the bottom of most of our web pages.

Platitudes describing lofty intentions written by a great PR firm, or an organization with the little history of delivering on those intentions do not move nor satisfy me to become engaged or donate. I’ve learned to recognize things like the subtle wording in the PR world “We support research.” Well, of course, we all support research, don’t you? But at the end of the day that is word play, supporting it, in theory, is different than funding it. At OCF we say we fund it because our name appears at the bottom of lots of peer-reviewed research work that we have helped explore, (through the generosity of our donors) to actually spend money on. You can see key peer reviewed articles with our name on them in the research section of our web site. More than that, I desire a relationship with an organization I support, and if I believe the cause to be noble and their abilities equal to the task, they will have my fidelity for a protracted period of time… as nothing ever happens overnight or easily. I am not a “one-time, write a check” kind of donor, as I know that only tenacity and innovative approaches applied over long periods move the ball down the field. If you are like me in this thinking and would like to learn more about why OCF is deserving of your support, and your long-term fidelity, you may want to read further…

It was 26 years ago this month, that I received the news that the swelling on the side of my neck was a cancer, and that it was very advanced, a stage 4B, bilaterally metastasized cervical node involved oral squamous cell