A collage of images of Courtney Bugler

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

Spring Updates

Dear ZERO Friends,

Blonde woman with very short hair standing behind a podium that has a sign saying "ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit"

As I reflect on my first six months as ZERO Prostate Cancer’s President & CEO, I’m filled with gratitude for each and every one of you. Thank YOU. Thank you for being open with me by courageously sharing the devastating impacts of this disease, about lives forever changed and lost, your hopes for a better future, and what ZERO Prostate Cancer means to you. I’ve heard your impassioned pleas to be bolder, louder, and more urgent in our fight. You’ve inspired me to dream big. To envision a world where prostate cancer can no longer be brushed aside or perpetually hidden behind other color ribbons. A future where ZERO Prostate Cancer is too big to ignore. 

It all starts with our commitment to three fundamental impacts: reducing late-stage diagnoses, improving the quality and quantity of life for patients, and decreasing mortality. We know that these will require bold action and expanding our mission so that we can end the silence and stigma that has surrounded prostate cancer for far too long. It will require us to invest in our infrastructure to scale ZERO appropriately to meet the growing needs of our community. It will require us to be like the Kool-Aid man, busting down barriers and breaking down doors. We must be ready to run through walls to get what we know our patients, survivors, and care partners deserve.  

I’m putting a mission-first strategy in place to support this new vision. We’ve hired our first Chief Mission Officer, who starts in May, to lead efforts to center health equity into all of our work. We will build out our capabilities to pilot interventions and outreach in the communities - geographic and otherwise - that need us most. We will collaborate with organizations on the ground to support work already being done to best serve those at the local level. We will engage with volunteers in more meaningful ways to strengthen our cause nationwide. These are just some of the steps we are taking as we reimagine a new future for ZERO and our constituents, working with a renewed sense of urgency needed today to save more lives tomorrow.

Just last month, I witnessed our mission in action at our ZERO Prostate Cancer Advocacy Summit. Experts, leaders, partners, and advocates were all together to educate and empower one another, championing new legislation for greater access to prostate cancer screening. Being alongside our inspiring community of advocacy leaders from across the country on the steps of the Capitol was one of my proudest moments in nearly 20 years of patient advocacy. More than 130 patients, survivors, care partners, loved ones, and doctors - all united in being louder and bolder to change the outcomes for everyone impacted by prostate cancer. When it was all said and done, we convened 158 Hill meetings, working with members and staffers from across the political spectrum to move our priorities forward.

I’m grateful to our fantastic Summit advocates for creating exciting momentum to help pass important legislation, the PSA Screening for HIM Act. We all know that expanding screening coverage for individuals at high risk for prostate cancer will save lives. Now, we need to continue to ring the bell, and we can’t do it without your help. I urge you to add your voice today and share with your elected officials why their support is needed.  

On the heels of our Advocacy Summit, we hosted a Virtual Education and Support Summit connecting thousands of patients, survivors, and care partners nationwide with more than 10 hours of valuable content from medical experts on prostate cancer advancements, sexual health, diet, and treatment options. We heard a keynote address filled with hope from ABC News Award-Winning Correspondent Deborah Roberts, discussing her and her husband Al Roker's prostate cancer journey. Our dedicated team of Support Group Leaders facilitated nearly a dozen virtual support group discussions throughout the event to create safe spaces to nurture connection.

Through all of this, it is YOU who inspires us to knock down barriers and do what needs to be done to ZERO out prostate cancer. While it will take time to build out this exciting new future of making prostate cancer a national priority, we are putting the building blocks into place today to be unstoppable tomorrow. As I shared in that room full of advocates in February, we can be proud of the work we’ve done. And we are. But we must also be dissatisfied. Because in the time that you read this blog post, another man has died from prostate cancer. Another family has lost a loved one. What we’re doing is simply not enough.

Together, we will make prostate cancer too big to ignore, and I’m fired up to make it happen with you. 

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