'Random Acts of Pink' is committed to giving back and helping those who are fighting cancer.
One month before her 31st birthday, Janet Palmer, a law enforcement officer, found a lump in her right breast. After nine months of consultations with two different doctors and one negative mammogram, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At this time, Palmer decided to undergo a mastectomy, followed by months of chemotherapy and weeks of radiation therapy. And after a short while, she made the life-altering decision to have her healthy, non-affected left breast removed so that she could get peace of mind.
During the course of her diagnosis and treatment, Palmer had good insurance and it was a huge relief to her not to have to worry about how she was going to pay her medical bills. Numerous fundraisers were held on her behalf, and when she and her husband, Michael, saw that they did not need all of the proceeds that were raised, they decided to donate them to others in need.
Directly helping those in need
Palmer’s entire journey with cancer changed her forever. After being declared cancer-free, she left fully physically able to return to life, but she was struggling emotionally for what her new life would be. It was then that she realized she did not survive the horrible disease just to go back to her previous life. She survived because there was a much bigger plan in store for her.
Palmer went public with her own experience. She began to participate in many events for local charities, and she started to host numerous events in an attempt to raise proceeds for various types of cancer. At this point, she also began to question how much of the proceeds were going to recipients as opposed to administration. “I had always just assumed the money raised was going directly to help local people. In some cases, none of the money goes local except to pay for brochures and other materials or to fund future events and administrative costs” said Palmer.
She understood that larger organizations have overhead and administrative expenses and she knew that some of the proceeds have to be spent on educational material and trying to find a cure. However, Palmer could not shake the feeling that there was not enough being done for the individuals actually fighting cancer at the moment. “Let’s take that money and help someone pay for their treatment today. There just aren’t enough of those type of organizations in our area” she said.
Palmer’s good friend, Kayla Walsh, who had been working alongside Palmer in the community for the past two years, shared the same frustration. “Janet and I would have these long conversations about how we felt events should be managed, and how the money trail has to be transparent” said Walsh. The two became convinced that they needed to create a non-profit with a slightly different philosophy.
‘Fighting back against cancer, one act of kindness at a time’
Palmer and Walsh’s frustration blossomed into Random Acts of Pink, a cancer-related 501© 3 organization, established in their local community of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Random Acts of Pink is 100% volunteer-driven and the philosophy behind the organization is to raise proceeds by hosting events, all the while using the finances from sponsors and in-kind services to pay for the expenses. This will allow the organization to give all or 90% of the raised proceeds directly to those in need. “Random Acts of Pink will be a very transparent organization. In fact, once we file our tax returns, we’ll put those up on our website and our Facebook page, so people don’t have to search for the information” said Walsh.
Palmer and Walsh persuaded another friend, Kim Lobsinger, and Palmer’s mother, Cathy Cummings, to join in on their efforts. This group now makes up the board of directors, with Palmer as president, Walsh as vice president, Lobsinger as secretary, and Cummings as treasurer. “We’re really excited that we are now an official 501 (c) 3. Although it didn’t stop donations and sponsorships from coming in previously, now those donations are tax deductible” said Walsh.
Although Random Acts of Pink may sound as if it is specifically for breast cancer, the organization will, in fact, help to finance treatment for any type of cancer. Last year, Palmer and Walsh hosted ‘Random Acts of Spinning’ – a spin event at A Vicious Cycle in St. Lucie West, Florida. The event helped to raise $2,775 for Hematology and Oncology Associates patients. When the patients showed up for their treatments, they were each given a card that read “Your treatment for today has already been paid for by Random Acts of Pink.”
This year, ‘Random Acts of Spinning’ was held on September 29th, to help raise proceeds for the costs of surgeries associated with a breast cancer diagnosis. Thanks to all of the riders, volunteers, and sponsors, the total for 2018 reached over $5000, with donations still coming in. “There is something so special about a person receiving a surprise gift, it changes their whole attitude” said Walsh.
Having the confidence to take a leap forward
Five years later, Palmer remains cancer-free and in good health. “I could not have done it without the emotional and financial support of my family, friends, co-workers and community” she said. She has participated in several triathlons, including the 2018 Chasing Caterpillars triathlon, and she is currently training for the Horrible Hundred bike run in November.
Every day, Palmer strives to give back and help in the fight against cancer, but also to live a healthy and active life with her husband and son by her side. She and her husband make family their number one priority, making certain that they have no regrets – no matter what the future holds.
Through small random acts of kindness, Palmer hopes to be able to help others going through cancer to remain focused on their own families and not on where the money to survive is going to come from. “I want to help people actually survive whatever they’re going through and I’m sure a lot of other people feel the same way” she said.