A story can change us. It can motivate us to go, to give. Sometimes a story offers so much hope and humanity that it shines like a light, drawing others who want to do more than hear it — they want to see it for themselves, amplify the message, tell the story to others.
The Promise Fund of Florida has a uniquely powerful story, one that they have entrusted Moore to share with community members, multicultural groups, civic leaders, public-private sector partners, media and recently the first lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden.
The mission: Overcome health care disparities and improve access to care and outcomes for women
Promise Fund is reducing health equity disparities and saving lives. It was co-founded in 2018 by Ambassador Nancy Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would find a cure for breast cancer and, in turn, became regarded as the leader of the global breast cancer movement. The nonprofit connects uninsured and underinsured women in South Florida with critical, early detection screenings and life-saving treatments for breast and cervical cancers.
The organization’s key to success is its novel patient navigator program. These navigators, who often speak Spanish or Haitian Creole, find marginalized women where they live and encourage them to reconnect with medical care.
“These navigators bring patients to screenings and treatments, serving as translators, health educators, and guides through our complex medical system,” Brinker said. “They hold hands with patients through their tears, fears, and joys — and along the way empower them to become their own health advocates.”
Since launching, more than 16,000 women in predominantly low-income communities of color have been educated, screened, treated, and navigated for breast and cervical cancer. Looking to double that impact every year moving forward, Moore hit the ground running with the Promise Fund in early 2022, helping to spread the good news of transformative funding and impactful partnerships with media, public-private sector leaders, and donors, while advocating for more community awareness, engagement, and support. As awareness expands rapidly, Moore is excited to serve as a strategic communications partner for the nonprofit organization as it rapidly scales efforts to successfully replicate their patient-centered navigation model within Florida and across the nation.
When the Biden administration announced in February that it was reigniting the Cancer Moonshot initiative, we all hoped that the White House might take note of the Promise Fund and its innovative patient navigator model.
What we couldn’t predict was just how quickly recognition would come.
With about 10 days’ notice, we learned Dr. Biden would be visiting West Palm Beach on June 23. Promise Fund asked for all-hands-on-deck support crafting the schedule of events: writing participant remarks, designing stage and photo backdrops, fleshing out a constantly evolving run-of-show, inviting guests, providing message training, coordinating media logistics and much more.
Fortunately for all of us, one member of the Moore team possesses extensive first-hand White House experience that allowed us to immediately hit the ground running. Managing Director Nic Breeding, who is based in West Palm Beach and lead strategist on the Promise Fund account, served in President George W. Bush’s administration in numerous roles, including as an advance representative — directing event logistics, coordinating site build-outs and working in tandem with key stakeholders to best communicate and convey White House policies and initiatives. Nic’s expertise was invaluable to both the Promise Fund and Moore teams as he helped us visualize and rehearse the tour and event scenarios, adhere to Secret Service expectations, prepare for press movements, think through down-to-the-minute pacing and more.
With our preparations completed, my role during the visit was to lead the first stop at FoundCare Palm Springs, the Federally Qualified Health Center that houses the Promise Fund Mammography Screening Center. From receiving the first lady’s motorcade, to showing the press where to get the best photographs, to shepherding the tightly controlled facility tour—it all went according to plan. Although my favorite memory was unscripted: Behind a glass wall, numerous FoundCare health care workers waited with phones in hand for a glimpse of the first lady; when she saw them, she pulled out her own phone for a selfie with them.
In a matter of minutes, Dr. Biden was en route to the Hilton West Palm Beach, where more than 250 local community members were now past the Secret Service’s magnetometers and poised to hear speeches from a congresswoman, a former ambassador and the first lady herself — though the one that moved them to tears was given by the least recognizable speaker. Liliana Herrera, a patient navigator, recalled her story of being uninsurable due to her prior breast cancer diagnosis. When the cancer returned, oncologists rejected her for not having insurance, but so did charitable organizations, who said her income disqualified her from assistance. So she quit her job — losing her car, losing her home, and sleeping on a lawn chair in a friend’s mechanic shop. An immigrant from Argentina, she had no extended family to help.
“I know what it’s like for our Promise Fund patients,” Herrera said. “Some don’t speak English. Some don’t know where to apply for help. Some don’t have a car to get to medical appointments. Some don’t have anyone to watch their kids during their treatment. Some don’t have anyone to hold their hand when they get hard news. Until they meet me, or another Promise Fund navigator. Then they have all of those things.”
Thanks to Moore Senior Director Meredith Westheimer leading on media relations for the Promise Fund, Liliana’s inspiring words and the organization’s hopeful message were communicated to an audience well beyond Palm Beach County. Local, state, national and international media coverage of the first lady’s events with the Promise Fund has generated more than 460 million impressions to date.
I will tell Liliana’s story — the Promise Fund’s story — to others. I have seen it for myself and it has drawn me in. But more importantly, Moore will keep helping the Promise Fund to shine so that others can be changed by its light, and maybe moved.
Moved to go. Moved to give.