Even if you missed it because the weather has been unseasonably warm here in Tennessee, you would still know that it’s fall because the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back. Not only that, you also get supermarket shelves full of pumpkin spice popcorn, marshmallows, chips, margarine, muffins, Jello, even cat food. There is no escaping the orange pumpkin mania.
But another – and in our eyes more pleasant – color inspired by the arrival of autumn is pink. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the pink ribbons have popped up everywhere once again. While “going pink” during October is great, we all need to remember that breast cancer support is needed every day of every month. We can accomplish this by inspiring awareness and educating each other.
Below we’ve listed some ways each of us can join the cause.
How Can I Help to Support the Fight Against Breast Cancer?
Host a Fundraiser
Hosting a fundraiser in honor of a relative or friend affected by breast cancer doesn’t take that much work and should be easy to pull off. If you don’t know anyone, consider hosting a general fundraiser to support the pink cause. Some people assume that fundraisers are not effective unless they raise thousands of dollars. They think of big media events and the public signing of a monster-sized check. But in truth, anything and everything helps. Get creative. Host a cook-off or bake-off and collect entry fees that go toward a breast cancer foundation. Who doesn’t love sweets? Or – ahem – pumpkin-spice-flavored treats? Having a bake sale at work, school, or place of worship is a great idea. But if you want to lay off the calories, there are many other ways you can run a fundraiser – silent auction, knitting lessons, craft beer tasting, you name it.
If you don’t want to be in charge of your own fundraiser, consider attending someone else’s, like a local tennis or golf tournament. It can be great fun and supports a good cause at the same time.
Make a Financial Donation
We are all pressed for time and there might not be enough hours in the day to play host for anything. If you don’t have the time to bake goodies and arrange a sale, consider donating your money. There are many organizations that work with breast cancer patients and survivors. A great way to show your support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to make a personal donation to one of these organizations. Do your research first so you can be sure that you know where your donation will be going. Does it stay local to help women and families in your area, or does it get sent to the national organization? It is important to know that some fraudulent organizations can mask themselves with official sounding names, asking for breast cancer donations that only fund salaries. Make sure that an organization spends at least 75% of their budget on program expenses, expenses that go directly to funding breast cancer awareness, research, or prevention. Ideal administrative expenses for these organizations will be less than 15%. Donations can be directed toward a variety of causes, such as research and community programs that provide financial aid, treatment, and social support. Do your homework and make sure that you are educated as to where the proceeds will go.
Donate Your Time
There are valuable volunteer opportunities all over the nation. If making a monetary donation is not in the budget, and if you don’t want to organize your own personal fundraiser, consider giving up your time for another organization that assists breast cancer survivors, like the YMCA. Providing emotional support to survivors, organizing fundraisers, and even administrative tasks are all greatly needed and appreciated.
Plan a Yard Sale
Clean out the clutter! Fall is the perfect time for yard sales. Ask your family, friends and coworkers to participate by donating items for a sale. Use your own social media to advertise that your sale is a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. Ask your friends to share your posts. If you have children or a neighborhood group of children, you can add a lemonade stand or some baked goods to sell as well, leaving a donation jar visible.
Ultimately, the best way to fight breast cancer is by prevention. We encourage every woman to educate herself on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to make it a habit to check herself regularly, not just in October but around the year. Tenderness, change in skin texture or breast appearance, or a lump developing are all reasons to consult with a doctor. Discover your beauty, and love your body!
We hope that you enjoy the fall colors and sipping your pumpkin-flavored coffee. But most of all we hope that you’ll start a new personal tradition to help fight back against breast cancer.