Breast Cancer is More than Wearing Pink
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and countless campaigns are in full swing to spread the word and raise money for the cause. When an entire month is dedicated to breast cancer, almost every city in America hosts a fundraising walk and NFL teams incorporate pink into their game day uniform, it is safe to say that it is unarguably one of the most successful healthcare campaigns around. What is it about breast cancer that makes it such a successful philanthropic campaign?
One reason could be the undeniable passion of its supporters. People who participate in these initiatives often have personal ties to the cause and sincerely care about helping women and men with breast cancer. After all, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and this year more than 2,240 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men.
With passion at the foundation, fundraising becomes a community effort. Each October, thousands of products are adorned with pink ribbons, colored pink or otherwise sold with a promise of a small portion of the total cost being donated to support breast cancer awareness or research. Hundreds of organizations partner with national and local races, walks, climbs and other events that provide emotional uplift, a sense of unity and an opportunity to raise money for the cause. The most successful partnerships are those that are transparent and accountable when it comes to using money raised for breast cancer support and research.
While raising money is instrumental, it is important to remember breast cancer is more than a pink ribbon. Almost all breast cancer campaigns devote a considerable effort to share personal stories of individuals and families who were affected by the disease. In fact, storytelling is a leading component of large initiatives organized by Avon, Susan G. Komen and American Cancer Society. Their interactive websites take you through the touching, inspirational and relatable stories of women and men who have fought or are currently fighting breast cancer. The SCAR Project uses photography to show the raw, unflinching face of breast cancer while paying tribute to the courage and spirit of so many brave young women.
As I was heading to Central Park on an early Sunday morning to join my colleagues for American Cancer Society's five-mile "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk, I thought of my grandmother. Surrounded by 50,000 walkers, whose passion for this cause was evident, I knew I wasn't the only one thinking about how breast cancer has affected my life. I was proud to be part of a movement that was not only spreading awareness about this devastating disease, but also saving the lives of thousands of people.