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An Interview with The Pearl Project and Chance to Win! (Giveaway Closed)

An Interview with The Pearl Project and Chance to Win! (Giveaway Closed)

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we’ll be spreading the word about the many lung cancer awareness and advocacy efforts of the community, and sharing ways to get involved. Today, we’re featuring Kristina Corrales Raso, founder of The Pearl Project. Read about her efforts below, and enter to win two bracelets from The Pearl Project at the bottom of the post! Keep one for yourself, and share the other to even further spread awareness!

Meet The Pearl Project Founder Kristina Corrales Raso

I lost my mom to lung cancer when I was 22 years old. She was also young, active, healthy, and it was a complete shock to our family. My mom had many struggles with her cancer battle including the toll it took on her physically, spiritually, and emotionally. One struggle she did not expect was the stigma of her disease. She did not smoke, but didn’t believe anyone should be blamed for having cancer. She had compassion for people who struggled with addiction and wanted to be part of a greater community that supported everyone battling lung cancer.

How did The Pearl Project begin and what is the inspiration behind it?

When my mom had lung cancer, she wished there was a pink ribbon for her disease. The incredible progress toward opening up the conversation about breast cancer and its risk factors was mostly based on clever marketing. Providing an instantly recognizable symbol (and color) that would make people feel a part of an important cause. One of the awareness colors for lung cancer is clear because its an invisible disease. Another color is pearl.

Pearls are readily materialized, beautiful, and instantly recognizable. They have long represented history, wisdom, and strength. Traditionally worn across the chest and lungs, I felt it was the perfect object to represent lung cancer awareness. Jewelry is easy to wear and always makes a lovely and personal gift. When you give someone a piece of jewelry, it makes them feel beautiful touches a part of their soul. So the movement and project “think pearls for lung cancer awareness” was born.

What is the mission behind The Pearl Project?

I have always believe that the first step toward progress for any issue or cause is opening up the conversation. Research funding will not increase if people don’t feel comfortable talking about the cause in the first place. So the core of the mission is to change the way the world sees lung cancer: As the leading cancer killer in both women and men worldwide that deserves recognition and compassion. Of course progress in research and awareness requires funding, and all profits for all jewelry sales are donated to lung cancer-focused nonprofits.

At what point did you decide to fully dive into lung cancer advocacy?

After my mom died I continued to work in advertising and eventually became in charge of the company’s branding. I learned how to oversee a logo and website design, effectively advertise online, and what goes into how people perceive a company and the resulting decisions they make. I always wanted to spread the word about lung cancer awareness in honor of my mom but didn’t know how to do it. The knowledge I gained professionally enabled me to create a branding campaign for a cause for which I am deeply passionate.

What does it mean to be a lung cancer advocate?

It’s a continuous learning process; but essentially means talking to anyone, from a store sales clerk to someone I chat up at a party, about my story and why I founded the project. It’s not about selling it’s about telling. Stories are incredibly powerful as people can easily see themselves in your narrative. When I talk about my mom they will think of their mom, and its very effective in humanizing a heavily stigmatized disease.

What advice would you give to others who may want to raise awareness, but are unsure where to begin?

Reach out to a nonprofit you care about and start out by committing to an event. The hardest part is usually showing up, but then you will meet like-minded people who will support you and make you feel part of a greater community for social change. Events require a lot of work but you will feel amazingly accomplished by serving for an important social mission. There is also power in numbers — trying to get people’s attention can be difficult, so being a part of a group with the same goal will help you stay motivated.

What do you wish people better understood about lung cancer?

It’s a disease that does not discriminate. Anyone can get lung cancer, and nonsmoking women are at the highest risk in history. Estrogen, the same hormonal contributor to breast cancer, may also cause lung cancer. And also understand the mentality of victim blaming. “They smoked and got lung cancer; I don’t smoke so it won’t happen to me.” Which only makes it more difficult to make progress in life saving research.

Telling just one person about the risks of lung cancer can save a life. My mom was initially misdiagnosed because her own doctor did not think she would be at risk as a young female nonsmoker. People are often shocked when I tell them lung cancer is, by far, the leading cancer killer in women. Most lung cancer is caught when it is too advanced to treat effectively and has a very low survival rate. Women should pay attention to their lungs like they pay attention to their breasts. And of course, the next time you see pearls, think of lung cancer awareness with an open and compassionate heart. Once we’ve changed our mindset about a social issue, great change will follow.

Enter to Win!

For a chance to win our Lung Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway, simply enter your email address in the box below. One winner will be selected at random.

The giveaway ends on November 26, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. The winner will be notified via email. The winner has 48 hours to claim their prize before an alternate winner will be selected. For more information, please read these Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

This Giveaway has closed. Thank you to everyone who entered.


  • KateK
    7 months ago

    Thank you Kristina for all you do.
    I see pink ribbons, pink pens, and other pink stuff being sold in stores all through October because October is breast cancer awareness month. November is lung cancer awareness month, but there is nothing in the stores.
    My first LC was found by accident, before it had a chance to spread. My second LC was found early as well, but only because I was still on “watch status” from the first one. I am now down to 3 lung lobes, but (hopefully) cancer free.

  • TerryKarlstad
    8 months ago

    I was initially diagnosed in 2001 with nsclc stage 3B. I had surgery and was deemed” cured “ at the end of 2002. I took a trip and met my wife in Romania , we married in 2009. Then in 2010 I was diagnosed with squamous cell in my larynx and went down hill from there. In 2012 stage 3B adenosine carcinoma again and once again my doctor said he would scoop it out. Now being a little more knowledgeable about cancer we asked him about lymph node involvement to which he replied they don’t matter. We immediately began searching for a good oncologist and found one in GA. Had wedge resection and chemo and was deemed cancer free again. 2015 once again adenocarcinoma. Went on chemo then through our research we saw Opdivo was an option so I brought it to my doctors attention and have been on Opdivo to this date. December of 2017 doctor told me they found a spot on my spine as well so I am no stage 4 and still fighting. Will know how well it is doing at next appointment when I will get s scan.

  • shipcookie1
    8 months ago

    Kristina I can’t begin to thank you enough for this amazing project. I was first diagnosed 12/13 and it spread in 2015 to my left lung. While I was in treatment one day I read an article about the pearls representing lung cancer I had no idea but was so delighted that we had a symbol a ribbon color that I learned was white. That Christmas I gave my oncologist/Palliative care doctor and team pearl bracelets as gifts and they still wear them as I do everyday,they all are lung cancer Specialist in more ways then one. I cried reading this story as I had no idea of the back story to the pearl. I’m so sorry for your loss and you have given your mom an amazing legacy to all of us lung cancer survivors. Thank you for all you do you are an amazing women. Thank you from a grateful two time lung cancer survivor. The pearl now has even more meaning now and I will think if you and your mom as I look at my pearl bracelet every day ❤️

  • Dkperry
    8 months ago

    Had a very good Dr to diagnose me went for surgery now cancer free go every 3 months to get scans

  • Margot moderator
    8 months ago

    Thank you so much for sharing, great to hear you had a good doctor and are now cancer free. Best, Margot,

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