Nobody Should Go Through Cancer Alone

Today is Owning Pink’s three year anniversary (Throw confetti, pop corks, do cartwheels, and light firecrackers! WOOT! Happy Anniversary, Owning Pink!)

And that’s not all. Three days ago was my 43rd (gasp!) birthday.

I remember vividly my 40th birthday, for which all my best girlfriends flew out to San Francisco for a weekend-long sleepover, dance party, wine fest, and pillow fight. Owning Pink wasn’t supposed to launch until May 1, but two days after my birthday, the social media strategist I had hired to help with the launch called me to say “I know it’s your birthday weekend and all…but…uh…there’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss.”

Turns out swine flu had just broken out and Twitter was all atwitter with panicky misinformation spewing around the internet. So I wrote my first Owning Pink post - 17 Ways To Avoid Swine Flu (and Why Not to Freak Out) and we got loads of traffic on Owning Pink’s unofficial launch day.

Go figure. The Universe works in mysterious ways.

I’m getting a little nostalgic and misty thinking back on it all, given how beautifully Owning Pink has changed my life and how vastly different my life is at 43 compared to 40. So, in honor of both celebrations, I’d like to invite you to help me pay it forward.

Nobody Goes Through Cancer Alone

Let me introduce you to Nancy Novack.  When my dear friend Nancy was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer – a diagnosis few survive – her wonderful physician assured her that she would not go through this experience alone, that he would be with her every step of the way. In that instant, Nancy knew it was not her time and she would survive, against all odds.

That was almost a decade ago and, thank God, Nancy is thriving.  Since being given a new lease on life, Nancy has dedicated her life to the nonprofit she founded, Nancy’s List, whose motto is “Nobody goes through cancer alone.”

Nancy’s List

Nancy was lucky when she was diagnosed with cancer to have a wonderful support network of people and practitioners who loved and supported her, but since then, she has met hundreds of people who lacked such love and support.  Her visionary dream is to assure than anyone in the San Francisco Bay area who winds up with a cancer diagnosis will find the support they need, the resources that will help them thrive – and perhaps even more importantly to the healing process, they’ll find community, fun, laughter, and activities that have nothing to do with cancer that allow them to make friends with others going through what they are.

Since then, Nancy’s List has hosted multiple sailing expeditions on San Francisco Bay for children with cancer (as part of her Nancy’s Kids program). She’s thrown a crazy ass fundraising dance party jam with me, wine tasting parties, events with local musicians, and dozens of other events that gather people with cancer with the people who long to support them. She also rallies the community together in beautiful ways to make life better for all the people cancer touches, not just the cancer patients, but the caregivers who nurture them.

Even my daughter and mother got involved with Nancy’s List.  For Valentine’s Day, my mother helped Siena’s school make Valentines for the kids in the cancer unit. Siena then delivered the Valentine’s with Nancy.

Nancy’s Big Visions

Although Nancy is a PhD psychologist who now devotes most of her practice to working with people with cancer, she lacks a big organization that keeps Nancy’s List chugging along. Nancy’s List has been a labor of love that has been Nancy’s gift to the community, often at the expense of her own financial stability and personal time.

Like many visionaries with big dreams, Nancy has sacrificed in order to bring her vision to life – and miracles are happening because of her sacrifices. The stories she tells of children with cancer who have never been sailing telling her that it was the best day of their lives bring me to tears.

And she’s got way bigger visions, if only we can help her raise some dough.

Please Consider Donating To Nancy’s List

Owning Pink doesn’t need a champagne toast, and I certainly don’t need a cake or presents because I already have everything I need. But if you feel inspired to give even $1 ($20 or more would be even cooler!) to support Nancy’s List, you’ll not only be giving me a huge gift (because I really dig feeling generous, influential, and helpful); you’ll also be giving a ginormous gift to Nancy and the community she serves.


Birthday Blessings

When I was younger, I cared about bling on birthdays and fancy dinners on anniversaries and other such luxuries that feel fun for a while but lose their sparkle soon afterwards. The older I get, the more I want to transmute the blessings in my life into actions that help others, as a way of expressing gratitude for the beautiful life I already have.

If donating to Nancy’s List doesn’t light your fire, please consider donating to the other charities and nonprofits I support here – or pick your personal good cause fave and take action to support the cause that ignites your Inner Pilot Light today.

Thank You For My Best Gift Ever

Of all the blessings I’m grateful for on this birthday/ anniversary, YOU are one of the blessings for which I am overflowing with gratitude. Three years ago, I had quit my job as a doctor and my future in medicine was uncertain, I had written a book that 30+ publishers rejected because I had no “platform,” and I was completely confused about what I was called on this earth to do.

It’s miraculous how three years can change everything – thanks to you.

That this community continues to grow, that you all have become such a support for each other, that this community now allows me to solely support my family without having to sell my soul, that there is an online community filled with this much love, and that I have a place where I can let my freak flag fly, even when what I have to say might be controversial, is a gift beyond measure.

Thank you Owning Pink – and Happy Anniversary!

May we celebrate many more years together!

With love


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.comPink Medicine Revolutionarymotivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.

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Deb L.
Deb L.3 years ago

Everyone needs to feel loved and appreciated, especially during the dying process.

John B.
John B.3 years ago

I had good family and friends to rely on. Don't know what I would've done with out their support. Thanks Lissa.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago


ii q.
g d c.3 years ago


Richelle Rausch
Richelle Rausch3 years ago

No they shouldn't be alone. They need our love and comfort. And hopefully smiles & laughter too.

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago


Marianne Barto
MARIA B.3 years ago

Happy Anniversary, Lissa. Keep up the good work.

Marianne Barto
MARIA B.3 years ago

Friends and support give hope and courage to those with cancer.

Gloria H.
Gloria H.3 years ago

Hospice of Santa Rosa was wonderful when my friend was dying of liver cancer. Myself and his friend were the prime caregivers. It was hard and then we resorted to hiring outside help, it ate into his savings but gave us some respite time. You don't realize how much you can appreciate just getting out of the house to get groceries, or water the garden after being hyper vigilant 24/7.
I was honored to be with my friend to his last breath. It was painful to watch, but I didn't want him to die alone.

Sandi C.
Sandi C.3 years ago