The kindness of strangers: How donations to small foundations benefit cancer research


Dodged another bullet. I am grateful that my CT scan this week showed “no change,” which means that the cancer in my liver is stable, not growing. This Phase One study drug has truly been remarkable for me. It has added two years to my life. I have hope I will be able to remain on this treatment and that it will continue to work for a long time.

It has become increasingly more challenging for small foundations to raise money, and with the government also directing less money for cancer research, we all have to count on individuals for financial support. “The kindness of strangers” is a phrase I’ve come to appreciate and know well.

Something wonderful has happened this week for the Noreen Fraser Foundation. Doug Ellin, the creative genius behind the HBO series “Entourage,” which ran for 10 years, is releasing a film based on the series. Doug serves on the Board of Directors of The Noreen Fraser Foundation.

Doug Ellin partnered with an amazing organization, Omaze, which fundraises for philanthropy through social media, via once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Doug offered the opportunity to spend the day and evening at the “Entourage” film world premiere, walking the red carpet with him and the cast of “Entourage.” Through Doug’s efforts, $126,000 was raised for The Noreen Fraser Foundation.

I am so honored to call Doug Ellin my friend and constant promoter of this fight to find answers for women’s cancers. Thank you, Doug, for all you have done for us. You are one amazing man.

Many of you do not realize how difficult it is to raise money for charity unless you are one of the top players who is armed with pink ribbons and has built their foundations into big business for the past 25 years. Smaller foundations like mine target projects in research that will make a difference. How do I know that? Because, unlike other organizational leaders, I have been diligently studying this evil force on a daily basis for 14 years as I have cancer!

I have knowledge and instinct, and am surrounded by genius doctors and researchers. Money isn’t always where it’s at. Where it’s at is choosing low-hanging fruit. We concentrate on choosing one research project a year so we can give a larger sum to one project, rather than divvying it up amongst many. The approach is smarter and more effective.

Back to the importance of donating to smaller foundations. I believe this to be wise business. Do research before you give. Just because you have heard the name of the organization is not good enough reason to give them your money. Do the homework.

You know where you can find me:

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women’s cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please ‘LIKE’ The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Noreen can be contacted via email at