Texas Oilman and Cancer Survivor Lester H. Smith Announces Pink Well Challenge

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$1,000,000 Challenge Grant Awarded to Charities Willing to Dig Deep in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Texas oilman Lester Smith is a survivor. With his beloved wife Sue at his side, Smith spent nearly two decades battling, and ultimately overcoming, two dismal diagnoses of cancer. At the same time, Smith was hard at work training as a competitive dancer and constructing what was to become a hugely successful oil company; finding his fortune, as he says, “in a handful of Texas dirt.” Today, the dynamic and battle-hardened couple of Lester and Sue Smith have dedicated their lives to eradicating cancer in an unprecedented way by pledging up to $1 million dollars from a Texas oil well in the fight against breast cancer.

The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation is proud to announce The Lester Smith Pink Well Challenge - a national campaign symbolized by an active pink pump jack in the heart of West Texas - to support and challenge organizations to dig deep in the fight against this disease that strikes one in eight women.

Says Smith, “Cancer has many forms and many faces, and as much as it’s taught me, it’s made me fighting mad. Having lost one family member to the disease already and another one battling it today, I vowed to do whatever I could do to stop it in its tracks.”

About The Lester Smith Pink Well Challenge

The Pink Well Challenge, supported by its website at http://www.pinkwell.org, includes ways to connect institutions and individuals worldwide who share Lester’s mission to find and fund a cure for breast cancer. HOPE BLOG features news on groundbreaking research and lifestyle advice. LIVING JOURNAL hosts inspirational stories submitted by patients, families and advocates fighting every day on the front lines of the disease. The website will also promote EVENTS in the cancer community helping to rally the genius and energy available by various efforts and venues across the country.The Pink Well Challenge will award a total of $1,000,000 to up to 20 eligible non-profit organizations, each involved in the fight against breast cancer. Charitable organizations may include, but are not limited to, research institutions, social service support groups, multiservice clinical providers and basic service organizations providing transportation, wigs, prosthetics or education for patients and families struggling with the disease.

From all eligible organizations applying at http://www.pinkwell.org by July 1, 2011, The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation will select 20 finalists.

By August 12, 2011, each finalist will set a fundraising goal and create and submit a short video explaining who they are, what they do and how the funds will be used. Videos will be posted on pinkwell.org to increase awareness of the mission of each organization, and to solicit votes for the best video. Voting will be conducted beginning August 19 through October 7, 2011. Upon fully meeting their individual fundraising goal for the Lester Smith Pink Well Challenge, finalists will receive a dollar for dollar match of up to $45,000from The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation.

The Pink Well Challenge is just that: a challenge to organizations to be creative in engaging new donors and sharing their important message of hope and healing. As Lester wrote in his book,You Gotta Dance LikeNo One’s Watching, “Think big!”

“If you’re going to do something, DO IT BIG,” says Smith. “Together, we can help scores of people struggling with breast cancer to find hope again. Let’s drill that gusher together!”
The organization raising the most funds will be named The Pink Well Challenge Grand Prize Winner and will be awarded an additional $50,000 grant from The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation. Plus, an additional $50,000 will be granted to the finalist whose video receives the most online votes by October 7, 2011.Remember: organizations could receive a grand total of $145,000 in awards from The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation for successfully meeting their individual fundraising goals, raising the most dollars among finalists and for winning the popular video vote.

The winners of The Pink Well Challenge will be announced in October 2011 celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For more information or to apply to be considered for the Lester Smith Pink Well Challenge, please visit http://www.pinkwell.org.

About Lester Smith

A two-time U.S. Grand Senior Latin Dance Champion, Lester Smith is a second-generation Texas oilman. A native of Wharton, Smith battled bladder cancer for nearly two decades while building a successful energy business and training as a competitive dancer. But it was a diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer that nearly ended his life. In true “Lester” style, he committed himself to a full recovery and he and his wife Sue vowed to do whatever they could to help others struggling with cancer.

Lester’s battles with cancer, and the devastating loss of Sue’s sister to breast cancer, sparked a fierce advocacy for supporting critical research. This personal campaign has set an unprecedentedstandard for philanthropy, igniting a very public platform to raise awareness of the disease, encourage early detection and fund the most promising research at the Texas Medical Center and beyond. The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation has donated in excess of $50 million dollars to support cancer research and treatment at many organizations including Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Harris County Hospital District.

Lester Smith is a Trustee of Baylor College of Medicine, and a member of the Board of Directors of The Holocaust Museum Houston, Board of Visitors at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Prostate Cancer Foundation. He is a Trustee and former Chairman of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. His first book, You Gotta Dance LikeNo One’s Watching, written with Trish Morille, published in 2011 with all profits supporting breast cancer and genomic research.

The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation supports numerous non-profit organizations dedicated to medical science, education, arts and humanitarian causes.

For information on the Lester Smith Pink Well Challenge contact:
Erin Saxton at The Idea Network at 908.684.4332

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Erin Saxton