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History


Overview

In 1985, compelled by the memory of her late father, Edward P. Richardson, who had died of cancer one year earlier, Carolyn Aldigé embarked on a mission. She founded the Prevent Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, with the hope of sparing others from the pain and suffering caused by cancer. Aldigé believed firmly that an emphasis on prevention, not just treatment, could help decrease cancer deaths and incidence rates. Since then, through its research, education and outreach efforts, the Foundation has worked hard to spread the prevention message to the public, spurring ground-breaking research and new ways to reach captive audiences.


Looking Back

In the 1980s, upon starting the Foundation, Aldigé recalls, “Everyone was focused on the ‘magic bullet’ and everyone was focused on finding something that was going to cure cancer. And that’s what people thought was going to be the solution—a cure. Prevention was not in the mainstream. I think the attitude of most people was that cancer was a disease you were either going to get or you weren’t. There wasn’t anything you could do to keep yourself from getting it. The screening technologies were not nearly as good as they are now. We understood that it was a disease caused by genetic mutations, but we didn’t understand nearly as much as we do now about the science of how those mutations lead to cancer.”

Over the years the Foundation has invested millions to support cancer research to better understand the disease, funding many impressive discoveries. Aldigé has met dozens of researchers supported by the Foundation and followed their careers at leading medical institutions. Many researchers have approached Aldigé saying, “You gave me my first grant and here’s what I’ve done.” And some of them are now scientific superstars.


Hope for the Future

The climate within the cancer world has changed dramatically in recent years. In 2007, cancer deaths declined for the second straight year, with many experts crediting wider screening efforts for major cancers, such as colon, prostate and breast, as well as fewer smokers and better treatments. In addition, Americans are surviving cancer longer, as the five-year survival rate has risen from 53 percent to 66 percent, according to recent data.

This news is encouraging to Aldigé, a much sought-after speaker who travels around the world delivering messages of prevention that are increasingly popular in the public and in the media. “Cancer is a disease that can be prevented and there are many actions you can take to reduce your individual risk of developing cancer,” she says.

Even though almost one-half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States are at risk for developing cancer within their lifetime, preventive methods–including early detection, screening, a healthy diet and an exercise regimen–can make a difference. Coupled with improving technology and research, the Foundation is optimistic that cancer trends will continue to improve.

Aldigé encourages everyone to be aware of their health and follow simple guidelines that can help detect cancer in early stages. “The actions you take to prevent cancer can prevent a whole host of chronic diseases, not just one.”

Our Foundation’s future work will certainly help ensure that Carolyn Aldigé’s vision will have a long-lasting impact on cancer prevention for years to come.


Milestones

2020

  • Awesome Games Done Quick sets new record, raises $3.1 million for charity at 10th annual gaming marathon.

2019

  • The Prevent Cancer Foundation® convenes its first young adult advisory committee, PreventGEN.
  • Foundation launches Too Young for This Sh*t campaign to raise awareness of rising colorectal cancer rates in younger adults.

2018

  • More than $1.5 million raised during 10th annual No-Shave November.

2016

  • The Foundation launches Think About the Link®, an education campaign about the link between certain viruses and cancer.

2012

  • The Foundation begins a partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation at the Iowa State Fair, enhancing its long-standing collaboration with John Stoddard Cancer Center, to reach residents of rural Iowa with cancer screening and prevention education.

2011

  • The Foundation reaches $130 million invested in research, education, outreach and advocacy.

2010

  • Games Done Quick hosts its first “Awesome Games Done Quick” video game marathon to benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation®.

2008

  • The Foundation awards its first community grants to support organizations across the U.S. working on increasing cancer prevention and early detection in their communities. Since then, the Foundation has awarded grants to projects in 33 states, tribes and territories.

2005

  • The Prevent Cancer Super Colon®, an inflatable, interactive intestine exhibit, takes to the road to educate Americans about colorectal cancer.

2000

  • Congress designates March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and a Presidential Proclamation authorizes the month of observance. The Foundation spearheads this effort.
  • The Foundation holds the Millennium Lung Cancer Workshop (now Quantitative Imaging Workshop) to jump-start early lung cancer detection.

1999

  • The Foundation leads the way in promoting cancer screening when it holds its first national Dialogue for Action® (now Prevent Cancer Dialogue), an interactive conference that subsequently draws an international audience.

1996

  • The Mammovan, the Washington region’s first and only mobile mammography unit, makes its first appearance. The Mammovan was purchased with Foundation funding.
  • The Foundation provides $1.2 million in research grants in this fiscal year.

1994

  • The Foundation launches ¡Celebremos la Vida! (Let’s Celebrate Life!), a breast and cervical cancer education and screening program for underserved Hispanic women.
  • The first Annual Spring Gala is held, attracting guests from the business, diplomatic, government, medical, sports, media and social communities.

1991

  • Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program is established through a partnership between the Prevent Cancer Foundation® and the Congressional Club. The program is a bipartisan cancer prevention awareness effort.

1987

  • The Foundation’s first public awareness campaign, “Your Cancer Risk,” is launched.

1985

  • Carolyn Aldigé founds the Prevent Cancer Foundation® in memory of her father, Edward Perry Richardson, who died of cancer in 1984. 

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