Breast Cancer Fundraising

There are thousands of breast cancer fundraising initiatives available for you to support with your hard earned cash and your valuable energy. The difficult question is how do you decide which one to support?

The first thing you will want to consider is what area of breast cancer resonates most for you. Are you a survivor? Does your mother or is another member of your family tree ill with the disease? Are you concerned about what causes breast cancer? Do you want to encourage health education? Is prevention your main focus? These are important questions to ask. Not all events, products and foundations have a common focus.

Once you establish which of these areas deserves your attention you will want to find out who the money is going to. Be sure that the recipient is an actual charity and foundation. Then ask yourself if you are interested in seeing your support used within your community or would you like to contribute on a national level?

Find out how much of the product or event ticket price is going towards the charity or foundation. If the amount seems insignificant you may want to give to someone else. Not all initiatives are created equal. You might want to consider if the product or service has any redeeming value and educational purpose relating to breast cancer. If it does then your contribution is doing double service.

Running, walking and paddling seem to be top events on the breast cancer fund raising list. Given that increased physical activity is known to reduce your chances of getting breast cancer this is a good fit. The fine art photography breast calendar is another good initiative and fits with both primary and early detection recommendations.

Breast Cancer Fundraising Events

Breast Cancer fund raising events are plentiful across North America. The most popular kind of events seem to involve physical activity which is good considering that increased physical activity is one way you can reduce your chances of getting breast cancer.

In the U.S. , the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure seems popular. Personally, I would prefer if we were racing to the Cause thereby eliminating all the pain and suffering of the nearly 2 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. But that's just me.

According to the Komen website, "this year, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Komen Race for the Cure®, the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world. In 20 years, the Komen Race for the Cure® has grown from one local Race with 800 participants in Dallas , Texas , to a series of more than 100 Races with 1.5 million people expected to participate in 2003."

In Canada , Women's Healthy Environment Network and Stop Cancer Now introduced their first Annual Run Walk Roll for Cancer Prevention in conjunction with the National Capital Race in Ottawa. According to their website, Cancer experts say that if we applied everything we already know about prevention over 70,000 Canadians would not be diagnosed with cancer this year. More than 30,000 would not die of this terrible disease in 2004 - or 2005, 2006 and so on...

But - as we pour billions into research for better treatments and 'the cure' - cancer prevention is totally overshadowed. While continuing to do our best for those now suffering with cancer it's also time we got moving for prevention!

Here's an ambitious thought. Why don't you host your own breast cancer fund raising event and direct funds into a resource that supports your community.

Breast Cancer Fundraising Products

Breast Cancer fundraising products range from soup to nuts...almost literally.

There seems to be a few different lines of thought when it comes to products. Some are practical and some totally frivolous. Some have educational value and some have no obvious connection to breasts or breast cancer. You can spend a little or a lot. There seems to be no end to the variety either.

Pink ribbon campaigns run everywhere in North America leading up to and during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can wear actual ribbons or select from a wide array of artist renditions of the ribbon emblem. The pink ribbon campaign is designed to raise awareness about breast cancer.

The Breast of Canada Calendar is a fine art wall calendar designed to bring attention to breast health education and prevention of breast cancer, plus address issues of positive body image. Powerful imagery, current breast health educational information and a celebratory pro women tone make the Breast of Canada calendar the ideal gift for the contemporary breast owner in your life.

Before you make a purchase ask yourself why you are buying the product. If you need it or love it then it makes sense. But if you are buying the product out of some obligation or sense of guilt you will likely end of hating the product and blame the seller. Neither is very positive or worthwhile.

Breast Cancer Fundraising Warnings

It sounds noble: a cosmetics company promises consumers that if they buy one of its products a portion of the sale will go toward the fight against breast cancer.

But what if that product contains ingredients that might actually increase the risk of developing the disease?

To draw attention to the troubling trend of corporate pinkwashing, Breast Cancer Action, a national grassroots breast cancer advocacy organization, is running an ad in the national edition of the New York Times (see www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org) questioning some high-profile corporate marketing campaigns launched in connection with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

We're not opposed to companies raising money for the cause, said Barbara Brenner, Breast Cancer Action's executive director. We're concerned about companies claiming to support the fight against breast cancer while manufacturing products that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease. They can't have it both ways.

Breast Cancer Action offers examples of corporate pinkwashers:

  • Cosmetics companies such as Avon , Revlon, Estee Lauder and Mary Kay all direct a percentage of their profits toward efforts against breast cancer. They also manufacture products containing phthalates and/or parabens, hormone-disrupting chemicals that may affect the development of cancer.
  • BMW's Ultimate Drive campaign entices prospective customers to test-drive one of its vehicles by promising $1 to a breast cancer foundation for every mile test-driven. Components of car exhaust known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been linked to breast cancer and a host of other illnesses. (Ford, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz also sponsor breast cancer promotions.)

Breast Cancer Action's Think before You Pink campaign is urging consumers to pressure corporate pinkwashers to explore alternatives to chemicals (such as parabens and phthalates, in the case of cosmetics) that are known or suspected to promote cancer development.

Laboratory studies have shown that chemicals that mimic or otherwise interfere with hormones are associated with the development of breast cancer, says Ruthann Rudel, a scientist with the Silent Spring Institute in Newton , Massachusetts , a research organization focused on uncovering preventable causes of breast cancer. Chemicals that mimic estrogen make human breast cancer cells grow in the laboratory and a number of potent estrogens are known to cause breast cancer in humans.

Evidence suggests that young females with developing breast tissue are particularly vulnerable to this risk. Avon recently launched a cosmetics line aimed at teenagers and began recruiting young women as sales representatives, with youth sales taking place at slumber parties and other gatherings. As Avon expands its reach to younger age groups, the potential dangers of its products are of even greater concern, Brenner said.

Breast Cancer Action supports further research into the causes of the breast cancer, particularly environmental links, in order to identify ways to prevent the disease and stem rising rates. The organization is also concerned about the lack of coordination of breast cancer research funding.

The interest in breast cancer fund raising is encouraging, Brenner said, but, we have no idea how much these companies are raising or how it's being spent. What happens to the money that does make it to the cause? Millions of dollars are raised every year in the name of breast cancer, but no one is coordinating all of our research efforts or making sure they move us forward toward effective breast cancer treatments and true breast cancer prevention. Incidence rates climb year after year.

Throwing increasing amounts of money at the problem has not brought us any closer to solving it, Brenner pointed out. As long as we believe we're doing something meaningful about breast cancer, by buying into these corporate marketing schemes, the real work that needs to be done around treatment, access to care and true breast cancer prevention will continue to be under-funded and ignored.

Source: Breast Cancer Action Media Release

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Breast Cancer Fundraising