When Peter Deltondo’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he decided he needed to take action – not only to help his mom, but to support the millions of other families dealing with the disease. With the help of his wife and other designers and artists, Peter started Design vs Cancer, a project that raises cancer awareness and provides support to people fighting the disease through inspirational printed tees, hats and posters.
The birth of it all
“You almost hope it doesn’t happen like this,” he says.
At the beginning, Peter and his wife were trying to figure out how they could help. Peter focused on cooking food and bringing his parents dinner.
“We wanted to use our God-given talents,” Peter says. “The original idea was to create a section on my own personal website and design some inspirational posters and shirts. Anything that I sold I would give to them.”
But fate wouldn’t let Peter and his wife settle for something small.
As Peter told friends and other designers what he was planning to do, they fell in love with his idea and wanted to get involved.
“Before we knew it, we had some world famous designers jump in with us on our Kickstarter campaign to help launch this off,” Peter says. “We realized then that it was more than just about helping my mom.”
The evolution of Design vs Cancer
For Peter, making a difference meant addressing what he felt was one of the biggest difficulties people face when going through cancer.
“Cancer turns many lives upside down,” says Peter. “I remember at one point my mom came home and told us that her two week pay check was $180.00. When both of your parents work, that’s not enough to live on, let alone get treatment for a deadly disease.”
Design vs Cancer’s goal is to make a significant financial impact so people can live their day-to-day lives as normally as possible. “That can include anything from paying the rent to helping a family’s kids with school expenses,” Peter says. “We want to meet whatever financial need they are having trouble with so they can focus on getting better and healing.”
To execute his vision, Peter teamed up with Mike Jones, a graphic designer based out of Georgia, and Rob Davarnia, a local developer.
For months, they focused on creating really great products that people would want.
“Some of them are very cancer specific, or cancer-themed,” he says. “Others are just cool designs.”
Hoops to jump through
When it came to starting up Design vs Cancer, Peter and his wife had to set up a non-profit charity called Creativity Helps.
“It was such a huge hassle with the paperwork to get all the company squared away,” Peter says.
When Peter and his wife decided on an amount they could afford to give his parents, taking care of the legal paperwork and business licenses ended up being three times as much.
At this point, he questioned whether they should move forward.
“I decided that I had already told people that we were going to make this happen,” he says. “So we did.”
The Kickstarter campaign
In the middle of December, Peter and his team kicked off a Design vs Cancer Kickstarter campaign that included inspirational posters, t-shirts, hats, and stickers, as rewards for backers. The funding for the campaign was to put the project into production and to stock up on inventory for their website.
For the next month, the kickstarter campaign became Peter’s full-time job. “I completely underestimated how much work people have to put in for a kickstarter,” he confesses. “I probably spent anywhere between 4-12 hours a day for 30 days, even over Christmas.”
On January 16th, Peter’s campaign was fully funded, and exceeded its $10,000 goal by $2,208 dollars.
“It was very validating to see people support us, like the designs, and know they were on board,” Peter says.
But, he admits that his biggest reward was seeing his mom feel like her support network grew by leaps and bounds.
“We had strangers from all over the world sending messages saying we’re thinking of you, we love what you guys are doing, and we’re praying for your mom,” he says. “Every time someone backed the project or gave us a shout on social media, it was like one more person joining the team. And my mom felt that there were a lot of people rallied behind her.”
Peter recalls that whenever he told his mom what other people were saying, it always brought a smile to her face, and it gave her that little bit of extra energy she needed.
Designing to make a contribution
As a full-time freelance designer, Peter currently dedicates one to two days a week to Design vs Cancer
“I would love to put myself on staff and be dedicated full time to Design vs Cancer,” says Peter. “But because our goal is to give money away to people, we’ve got to be selling a lot of stuff for me to justify paying myself.”
On top of Design vs Cancer, Peter likes to take on up to two projects a year, where he offers his service to non-profits for free.
“I offer to help them out with a logo or a website,” he says.
He loves being able to give back to causes he’s passionate about.
“Sometimes these are the projects you are most proud of,” he adds.
Recently, Peter and his family found out that his mother is cancer-free.
“We put the news up on Instagram and 75 people liked it,” he says. “Everyone liked it on Facebook as well and it made my mom feel really special and that she was bigger and part of other people’s lives.”
For the next couple of months, Peter will be focused on getting the word out there and releasing new shirts, posters, and other goodies over the course of the year.
“We’ve got some really cool stuff planned and we’ve got some great collaboration in the works,” he says. “We can’t wait to engage people and get in touch with people that need our help.”
To support Design vs Cancer and their efforts check out their Facebook page, Twitter, and site. If you like their designs, purchase something, knowing it’s going to make a true impact on someone’s life.
Read or listen to the book that inspired Design vs Cancer’s Creator. Peter’s recommendation is Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card “It’s one of those books that when you read, you feel like you get smarter learning from the characters.” You can get it now in the DesignGood Book Store.