For five years, Timothy Greco, MD, FACS—a board-certified facial cosmetic plastic surgeon with offices in Bala Cynwyd, PA and Manhattan, NY—has been honoring National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) by quietly sending a generous check to support the mission of Susan G. Komen® Philadelphia. But this year, inspired by Komen Philadelphia’s recent challenge to the community to be MORE THAN PINK, Dr. Greco decided to heed that call and reinforce his annual donation with increased action in the fight to end breast cancer. Specifically, Dr. Greco presented his check before the October 1 start of NBCAM in order to bring more attention to his personal mission and ensure his message would be heard and not get lost among the many other important breast cancer stories, appeals and messaging that overtakes the communications channels every October.
Exactly what is this personal mission of Dr. Greco? To inspire the corporate community in Komen Philadelphia’s 15-country service area to stand up and more strongly recognize their responsibility in the fight against breast cancer—and to mobilize them to do more to help fund the lifesaving work of the organization.
“On the whole, businesses certainly recognize the importance of the work Komen Philadelphia does and the devastating impact breast cancer still makes on our community,” said Dr. Greco. “Moreover, many—admirably—make small donations or support employees who make some type of personal effort to support the cause. While all this support is good and important, overall I think the corporate community is missing the boat in terms of recognizing that we, as for-profit businesses, have what Komen Philadelphia critically needs and what no other community can provide at the level we can. Money. Simply put, we have income, we have dollars, we can write a check. And, large or small Komen Philadelphia needs our funding support.”
Dr. Greco expanded upon his message and meaning.
“Breakthrough research is costly. Bringing more effective breast cancer treatments to the approved and usable stage for women is costly. Komen Philadelphia doesn’t operate on zero budget. Their educational events, outreach programs for women in need, support programs for survivors and families, the grants they’ve given to more than 80 local hospitals over the years, the nearly 200,000 free mammograms they’ve provided… none of it can happen without funding. It’s an easy equation, the more money Komen Philadelphia has, the more lives that can be saved—and the more quickly they can help researchers get to a place where breast cancer is effectively treatable in almost every instance.”
And so, this October, Dr. Greco has launched what he considers his personal ambassador program within—and, hopefully beyond—his own network of business contacts, clients and vendors.
His main tactic will be, simply but powerfully, conversation. That is, he is taking every opportunity he can to have discussions about Komen Philadelphia’s mission and the power of dollars, then mobilize other businesses to follow his example by making a donation.
“Dr. Greco falls into the category of supporters we call the ones who ‘truly get it’,” said Elaine I. Grobman, Chief Executive Officer of Komen Philadelphia. “Like Komen Philadelphia, he realizes how powerful every contribution to this fight is—whether that’s volunteering, sponsoring a program, dropping a few dollars in a donation bucket, participating in a fundraiser or making sure you and the women you love practice early detection. But, he also sees clearly the vital importance of every dollar. More accurately, he understands that without funds, Komen Philadelphia would cease to exist and there would be no place for all the wonderful people supporting our cause to translate their activities into saving lives. Dr. Greco knows how it all has to work together—the action and the funding—and he is doing his part by doing both things to help increase our fuel for the fight. He is being, in every sense of the word, MORE THAN PINK.”
A strong history of support
All told through the years, Dr. Greco has donated more than $45,000 to Komen Philadelphia. He openly shares that, until he made his first donation, he didn’t fully understand the extent of work Komen Philadelphia does nor, therefore, the critical need for funding. The lessons he learned also form a key part of his new mission and messaging to the corporate community.
“It’s hard to explain, but once you make that first donation—no matter how large or small—you become invested in the mission on a whole new level,” said Dr. Greco. “For me, the number on the check I wrote, those dollars, became much more. They connected me with people. I saw the faces of the women, men and children who were counting on these dollars to—through the work of Komen Philadelphia—survive this disease and go on to live a quality life. All this just makes you want to learn more, to do more and to understand on a deeper level the lives you are impacting and how you are making a difference. I am confident other corporate donors will have the same experience I did.”
One of the ways Dr. Greco immediately put his understanding to work was by being a breast health resource with his own patients. Although Dr. Greco does not treat breast cancer or perform breast reconstructive surgery, as a medical professional he is fully devoted to his oath to advance the complete health of those who put his trust in him. Guided by his professional promise and personal mission, Dr. Greco—guided by Komen Philadelphia—has assisted several of his patients who were at risk of breast cancer and/or had a concern in connecting with the resources they needed for care. Moreover, while always being respectful of the doctor-patient relationship, Dr. Greco stays vigilant to the cause and frequently makes Komen Philadelphia materials available for women who come to his office.
“Ultimately, my support of Komen Philadelphia and efforts to assist with fundraising all comes down to a commitment every business should have—that of giving back to the community that allows our businesses to stay open and thrive,” said Dr. Greco. “The Delaware Valley has been very good to me. It has supported my business and offered me wonderful opportunities to put my medical expertise to use to enrich the lives and wellbeing of others. The more successful we are in this office, the greater my ability to continue and grow my support of Komen Philadelphia. And to me, helping to end a horrible disease like breast cancer—helping to save lives—is the ultimate way to give back.”