VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 06
The Pink Ribbon Project | Susan Rafte & Jane Weiner
18 years ago, Jane Weiner and her sister Susan Rafte shared their story with us about how they felt after hearing that Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995. The two were always very close and remain so today. As cancer and the fight against it came in to Susan’s life, Jane felt helpless watching her sister go through it in Houston while Jane lived in New York City. So, in 1995 while Jane lived in New York City pursuing her dance career, she was compelled to start the Pink Ribbons Project as a loving tribute to her sister.
Eventually Susan became Executive Director of the chapter in Houston, and what was initially supposed to be a two-year project turned into a twenty-year business, raising over $6 million and granted in funds to Houston area organizations. May 2016 will be bittersweet, for the organization is closing its operations. In a media statement, Pink Ribbons Project shared:
“During the past two decades, there has been growing awareness of the importance of breast health, and funding for breast cancer organizations has increased significantly. In addition to these positive changes, the number of nonprofits devoted to raising funds for breast cancer organizations and research has multiplied, creating growing competition. These changes greatly impacted this tough choice for Pink Ribbons Project.”
The closure isn’t stopping these sisters from giving back to the community and being involved in Houston and beyond. Susan is now a 21-year survivor, with her passion still focused in the cancer and breast cancer arena.
She is involved as a patient advocate in a variety of ways through her work at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine. Susan will continue to provide peer-to-peer support to others facing their own cancer journey. Jane continues to run the nonprofit organization Hope Stone, Inc., which provides mindful arts education to over 700 students, ages 2–98 years, along with the professional dance company Hope Stone Dance that presents work on a project basis. The organization’s vision of Art for All allows them to reach thousands of children and adults in the Houston area who might not otherwise experience the transformative power of art.
Jane and Susan have shared struggle and success, and continue to impact the citizens of Houston through their work and passion. These two sisters have made a difference in this city, affecting lives and providing hope to so many and to each other.