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Courtney Bugler, blonde woman

On a Mission: A Quarterly Blog from ZERO's President & CEO, Courtney Bugler

Winter Updates

Blonde woman with very short hair wearing a light blue shirt and dark blue blazer

Dear ZERO Friends,

As I round the corner on my first few months as ZERO’s President and CEO, I wanted to share with you my thoughts and reflections and the next steps we are taking to move the needle toward a ZERO Prostate Cancer future. It has been my honor to meet many of you in the inspiring ZERO community. Thank you for all you do to help save lives. I appreciate you sharing your thoughtful feedback and insights with me.

My initial months here at ZERO have been focused on listening and learning. I have benefitted from over 145 different conversations with stakeholders to understand where we have been and where the cause needs us most. It was equally important to learn as much as I could about the science of the disease. At various national roundtables, meetings, and conferences, it was amazing to hear over and over again about the power of ZERO as the voice for patients and their families. Recently, I attended the invitation-only Prostate Cancer Foundation’s 30th Scientific Retreat to hear first-hand about promising research as well as where gaps persist, and how we can partner together to address the greatest patient need.

As a breast cancer survivor, it was stunning to learn how prostate cancer research, funding, and treatments lag behind breast cancer despite sharing similar disease incidence and mortality rates. Seeing the steadily rising rate of prostate cancer diagnoses paired with the alarming statistics on the undertreatment of advanced prostate cancer patients is not only sobering but unacceptable. Just fifteen years ago, 1 in 10 men diagnosed had advanced disease. That number is now 1 in 4. Where other cancers are advancing in survival, prostate cancer is heading in the opposite direction. The urgency is now. The challenge has never been more critical.

The pink ribbon moment for prostate cancer is yet to come. The need for more awareness, education, and support is abundantly clear. As a result, our biggest challenge is to scale ZERO appropriately so that all those at risk, patients, and loved ones are aware of the disease, seek medical screening and intervention at the appropriate time, and know that ZERO is here to empower and support them through it all.

We want everyone to understand the risk for themselves and the people they care about. We know that early detection saves lives. We want every person and their family facing a prostate cancer diagnosis to know that they are not alone and that there is help and hope available. Being the patient voice at ZERO isn’t just about the organization representing you; it’s about ZERO doing everything it can to ensure that it helps those patients use THEIR voice with strength, knowledge, and action.  

With our new strategic plan, we are driving our mission with increased urgency to help meet the needs of the growing number of patients and all those affected. Moving forward, our mission will be at the center of everything we do. To that end, we are hiring our first-ever Chief Mission Officer. This represents a pivotal milestone for ZERO and an exciting moment of transition and transformation, propelling our cause to greater heights and elevating prostate cancer as a nationwide priority.

As part of our “mission first” strategy, we are taking action to evolve our infrastructure and scale the organization to best serve our community. From growing and diversifying our board and staff to better reflect those who we serve to forming new partnerships and building out additional systems and structure, we are taking the necessary steps to build capacity. While all of this will take time and investment, we are steadfast in our commitment to driving change, breaking barriers, and ultimately, achieving our vision of ZERO Prostate Cancer. 

I’m incredibly grateful for you, our cause heroes, standing with us across the country during this time of transformational change. Thank you for your unwavering support and dedication. Together, we are writing a new chapter in the fight against prostate cancer. I look forward to keeping you updated on our continued progress throughout this next year on how we are advancing our new strategic plan to save and extend more lives.

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