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The one hundred honoree: Premi Mathew

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Premi Mathew

Mass General Giving

Premi Mathew has enlisted more than 40,000 students—some as young as seven years old—in five countries to unleash their “pester power” to encourage their moms to perform regular breast self-examinations.

Premi, who lives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and holds an MBA, launched her nonprofit organization, Protect Your Mom (PYM), after assigning her business students a marketing project to research why women in the UAE did not perform self-examinations or undergo regular mammograms. The students found economic barriers for mammograms and socio-cultural barriers to self-examination.

Their research also revealed that in Western countries, 89 percent of women diagnosed and treated for breast cancer remain cancer-free five years later, while in less developed countries, just 40 percent of women survive five years. The low survival rates in low-income countries are attributed to lack of early detection programs.

PYM undertakes intensive no-cost educational initiatives to raise awareness of the importance of self-examination. The all-volunteer, social media-fueled campaign has recruited 35 brand ambassadors worldwide. The students organize events featuring dances, songs, skits and monologues, all targeted to and written for their peers. In Kerala and Kochi, India, PYM has held seven pink walkathons, as well as events throughout India.

PYM also supports the Hair for Hope India campaign, working with a fellow organization to encourage hair donation for wigs for cancer patients. More than 4,000 people in India have donated and over 300 patients have received free wigs.