Paulette Criscione has turned her story of struggle as a cancer survivor into one of hope as she strives to comfort her local community afflicted with cancer. Through her nonprofit organization – Cancer of Many Colors – she dedicates her time to raising money to assist survivors and family members suffering from any type of cancer. The name derives itself from the fact that every ribbon is associated with a color.
“If you’re a sole supporter, it’s is difficult to pay living expenses. I know how it feels because I’m a sole supporter,” said Criscione. “I’ve been dealing with cancer for 40 years.”
Criscione describes her survivorship as her dad passed away from breast cancer when she was in her twenties and both of her brothers were diagnosed with two different types of cancer and eventually passed away. Criscione was also diagnosed with breast and lung cancer and continues to chronicle her story by spreading hope to her fellow neighbors and community.
It’s important for Criscione to keep all the funds raised in the Lexington community because she believes in the importance of being there for one’s fellow neighbor.
“If I give money, I want to know it’s going to help my neighbor or friend. My thing is to pay it forward so it helps others,” she explained.
When it comes to the future of her organization, she has colorful and vibrant dreams.
“My vision is that the turnaround time is fast. Within a week, I would love to see the turnaround. I want to make the emergency need turnaround quickly. I don’t want people to have to wait (in case of an emergency),” explained Criscione.
Pitch for a Cure
Criscione is excited about an upcoming event that will benefit survivors while people have fun. Pitch for a Cure happens Sept. 17 for the second year in a row at the Pine Grove sports complex. The tournament is for a girls fast pitch softball tournament with different age categories.
“During the opening ceremony, a cancer patient throws out the first pitch,” said Criscione.
“The vision is to definitely grow it,” said Criscione who wants people to understand that cancer strikes all people, all colors, all ages. Last year, there were 22 teams and she mentioned that people may still apply to participate or to be a sponsor. They may contact Director Carrie Lyons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-261-2698 for more information.
In order to participate, the team must be sanctioned by the United States Sports Specialty Association and the cost is $150 for those eight and under and $275 for those in the 10 and under and 18 and under age division.
Currently the greatest need is for sponsors. “We really need people who want to support local survivors,” Criscione said, adding that even a small donation can help pay for the gas a survivor needs to go to a doctor’s appointment for treatment. Every little bit really does matter because the expenses are drastic.
Criscione wants people to know that all survivors needs all the support they can get and it’s not just those in poverty who need aid. “There will never be enough money for cancer treatments,” she said.
“I always say be kind to one another,” Criscione points out. “It’s human nature to sum up people and you never know what other people are going through.”
There is a definite passion for this organization as Cancer of Many Colors is Criscione’s side job where she puts in at least 40 hours a week in addition to her current 40-hour day job.
“I am here to help my neighbors,” she explains.
For more information about her organization and future ongoing events, or to volunteer to help, visit www.cancerofmanycolors.com. For information about Pitch for a Cure, contact Carrie Lyons at email@example.com or visit www.southcarolinausssa.com.
Pictured: Paulette with her brothers