Tomorrow starts Breast Cancer Awareness month. You will inevitably be bombarded by pink ribbons on every imaginable product. Every thing from clothing to food to cosmetics and even trash cans. And, my personal favorite…hair products. (because that was just what I wanted to buy when I was completely bald and going through chemo…hair gel!) The list goes on & on.
You will be told that if you purchase these products you will be helping to spread awareness. Really?! By show of hands, who is NOT aware of breast cancer? Come on, raise ’em high. Nobody? See my point? We are painfully aware of breast cancer. We need a CURE! We need to find out what causes cancer, of all kinds, and find out how to prevent it before it starts and end it if it already exists.
The reality is this: companies are aligning themselves with causes that their target audiences care about with the strategy of increasing sales. With breast cancer rates at 1 in 8 women, it’s a sure bet that every one of their consumers is either a survivor or co-survivor. Not to mention that women do most of the shopping and purchasing for their household. This is cause marketing at it’s finest!
Before you make a purchase, I encourage you to really understand exactly how much of that purchase is actually going towards a cancer organization, which organization does it benefit and what is their mission. Some packaging will say “benefits cancer research”, but that is incredibly vague and honestly an insult to our intelligence as women. Also, how much does that specific organization actually budget towards researching a cure. I bet if you take a little time to find out these things you will be shocked that many companies are not specific about where the money is going and how little money is actually being donated. You may also be shocked to know that the organizations benefiting from these campaigns do not invest a large amount of the money into their mission, but rather into administrative costs. Of the organizations that do use the money towards their mission, you will find they are not necessarily trying to find a cure, but are trying to fund drug companies that will develop the next medication that may extend someone’s life by a few weeks. Every cancer patient wants to live as long as they can, but they would rather be cured.
By definition, October is the month of Awareness. I strongly believe in communicating the need for self breast exams and monthly mammograms. I am living proof that these things are incredibly important until we can find a cure and/or prevent cancer. I spend an enormous amount of time spreading that message. Heck, that’s part of the reason I continue to blog. In fact, some of my favorite celebrities (nationally and locally) will be bringing messages of early detection and hope. But, we can not lose sight of the goal…a cure!
As you go through the month of October, you can show your support to your favorite breast cancer survivor by wearing pink, but you can also send a card, make a call, go for a visit or even schedule your mammogram in honor/memory of someone special. If you choose to give financially, consider making a donation in honor/memory of a survivor. You can give directly to an organization and by-pass all the hype. And, don’t forget there are a number of local organizations that help your own community. They often struggle to raise funds in lieu of the big non-profits.
There are many great organizations out there to support. I hope to highlight some of them throughout the month of October. Below I have highlighted information regarding some that are local to my area and special to my heart.
Praying and Believing …for a CURE!
Focused on A Cure – a local non-profit founded by a photographer friend; money raised throughout the year and granted to local hospitals and organizations to help with the costs of mammograms and treatments for underinsured women. In full disclosure, I am a featured survivor in their 2013 Focused on a Cure exhibit. But, this is an organization I believe in and I know they are doing good work. Visit them on Facebook or online.
Breast Health Center (Women’s Services at CMC-Northeast) – supports breast cancer patients by providing comprehensive breast cancer services including prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. There are some incredible people working here. If you need a mammogram, have questions or want to learn more about self breast exams give them a call.
Batte Cancer Center (Levine Cancer Institute partner) – provide patients with the highest quality cancer care available. I do not have words to describe the incredible care and support I have received at Batte Cancer Center. From administrative staff, nurses, support staff and doctors, the quality of care is excellent.
To make a donation to Breast Health Center or Batte Cancer Center, please visit Northeast Foundation. They support one of our community’s most valued assets, Carolinas Medical Center – NorthEast. Gifts to NorthEast Foundation are considered gifts of love and support from the community, gifts that acknowledge the importance of preserving and enhancing the health status of our community.