Yes we are a materialistic society. Christmas has long been a marketing frenzy that starts even before Halloween. The same thing can be said of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It seems to begin in late August and September. The pink comes out in almost every item imaginable: pink pepper spray cans, pink Halloween costumes for your doggie, pink blenders, and worse yet cosmetics, perfumes and cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals that cause cancer! (Go to Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink site to learn more)
A lot of companies are making a lot of money capitalizing on Pinktober, but either give a very small amount or even nothing to breast cancer awareness or research. It’s mind-boggling, I know. So other than buying my breast cancer research postage stamps, I tend to shy away from pink products unless I am very familiar with the organization and know it will be put to good use. Another thing I can do is to give a direct donation to causes close to my heart. Here are some that I have supported in the past and hope you will, too:
Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance: This is a new organization that just launched that is a collaboration of many breast cancer organizations to raise awareness and research funding for metastatic breast cancer. I think this is long overdue and believe cooperation gets us farther than division (look at the government shutdown as an example). I have donated to several of these organizations in the alliance, and it’s always been difficult to choose which one was best. Their website doesn’t have anything about donations, but probably it’s too new. Go to their site and see the organizations involved and choose which one you’d like to support.
Camp Kesem: My daughter Chrissy and many kids like her who have/had parents with cancer have enjoyed a fun-filled week of overnight summer camp sponsored by college students around the country. These kids work their butts off all year to raise money then pour their hearts out to the kids during a magical week of camp. LIVESTRONG has supporting the opening of several new camps across the country, and it is growing by leaps and bounds. But they still need support to keep it going.
The Karen Wellington Foundation: When I was at one of my lowest points in my breast cancer journey, this organization sent me and my family on a trip to Longboat Key, FL. It was an amazing and much-needed trip for all of us. The foundation was started by Kent Wellington, whose travel-loving wife passed away from breast cancer. In addition to funds, they are in need of people willing to donate their vacation homes or time-shares for one week a year to a breast cancer survivor and her/his family.
Pink Ribbon Girls: When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt like a freak of nature. I was 39 years old and could not relate to older cancer survivors. I started attending and soon served on the board of Pink Ribbon Girls, which helps and supports young breast cancer survivors. Today, they help survivors of all ages through their Simply Fight and No Age No Stage programs, which provide meals, housekeeping and other services to breast cancer survivors undergoing treatment.
Annie Appleseed Project: Founded by Ann Fonfa, a miracle survivor in her own right, Annie Appleseed’s goal is to bring complementary, alternative therapies to the mainstream through conferences, education and advocacy. I’ve gone to their conferences for several years and have learned so much about ways to keep myself healthy while going through treatment. Check out their website; there is a plethora of good information there.
The Pink Fund: No matter what side of Obamacare you’re on, the truth is that many people go bankrupt trying to pay astronomical medical expenses. Founder Molly MacDonald knows this from personal experience. That is why she formed the Pink Fund, which pays for necessities like utilities and rent for up to 90 days for breast cancer patients during their treatment.
There are other organizations I’d like to recommend, but I’m running out of space! Feel free to comment and share other great causes to support during Pinktober.