Cancer. Fucking cancer.
Cancer is the great equalizer. It can strike at random: no matter who you are, where you live, how much money you have, and - oftentimes - how healthy a lifestyle you live.
I have several friends who were diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Some are still fighting; some are in remission. "Remission." This is a beautiful word. Another good one? "Survivor."
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of my brave, fabulous, resilient friends (we call her "Omaha") who is a breast cancer survivor is participating in her first "Race for the Cure" walk today. It's caused her to reflect on what it means to her to support this cause and what it means for the rest of us - as supporters, cheerleaders and donors - as well. Here are her thoughts:
"On the eve of my first 'Race for the Cure,' I am reflecting on 'Pinktober' with significant ambivalence. I was diagnosed almost one year ago, and pink ribbons flooded the landscape. I hated them. A reminder everywhere I looked of the battle that lay ahead. Now, as a survivor, I see them a bit differently. Yes, I do think the pink ribbon glamorizes an awful, deadly disease and the experiences that go with it. But it also has been the driving force behind a cultural shift making it easier for women to ask questions, seek help and find support. There is no arguing that the campaign has worked -- and raised many millions for the very research that helped save my life. Where last year they made me furious, with a new perspective, today the show of solidarity, strength, and concern expressed by the ribbons means a great deal to me.
As an employee of an organization with significant and transformational corporate partnerships, I believe in the power of cause marketing. And if I was already planning to buy yogurt or a can of soup, I love knowing a few cents are going to help the cause.
However, I do have a few bones to pick with 'Pinktober.' My disease has been used to sell handguns, fried chicken, Mike's Hard Lemonade and many other products that certainly do not represent a healthy lifestyle. Worse still are pink ribbon branded products whose proceeds do nothing but line the pockets of the corporations who make them, all the while misleading consumers into thinking they have done something to help the 1 in 8 American women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer. So even if you're only buying yogurt, check the label. And please, don't support those who exploit by brandishing the pink ribbon without supporting those who are, or will be, affected by breast cancer.
Actually, make a donation either way.
So tomorrow, I will be wearing pink. Lots of pink. And I will be proudly marching shoulder to shoulder with thousands of survivors and champions. But before buying the pink ribbon tattoos I will excitedly glue on before the walk, you can bet I checked out the charity they support.
So please, think before you pink, and of course, be proactive about ALL aspects of your health. XO"
Susan Schnase aka "Omaha"
Breast Cancer Survivor
October 3, 2015
Here are a few companies and products that support Breast Cancer causes and promise that all or a portion of their proceeds go towards cancer research, prevention and services:
Estée Lauder Companies The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign was founded in 1992 by the late Mrs. Evelyn H. Lauder with the launch of the Pink Ribbon, the universal symbol for breast health. In 1993, Evelyn also founded Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), an independent, not-for-profit organization that funds the most promising breast cancer research worldwide. For more information about BCRF visit http://www.bcrfcure.org/
Limited edition Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Awareness products that benefit BCRF include:
- Aveda "Hand Relief" Moisturizing Creme
- Clinique "Pink with a Purpose" Cheek Pop and "Dramatically Different" Moisturizing Lotion
- bumble & bumble "Pret-a-powder" Dry Shampoo
- Bobbi Brown Peony Blush & Brush Set
- Donna Karan "Liquid Cashmere" Perfume Spray, and of course,
- several Estee Lauder products, including their Solid Perfume Keychain and Dream Pink Collection
To browse all products and find out what % of proceeds go to BCRF, visit: http://bcacampaign.com/pink-ribbon-products
New Balance "Lace Up for the Cure" products. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, New Balance will contribute 5% of the MSRP of each product sold from New Balance's Lace Up for the Cure® Collection to Susan G. Komen, with a guaranteed minimum donation for $500,000 each year. For more information, visit www.komen.org.
- Running, walking and golf sneakers
- Signature t-shirts, caps and backpacks
- Workout gear
To browse all "Lace Up for the Cure" products, visit: http://www.newbalance.com/women/featured/lace-up-for-the-cure/
Avon will donate 20% of net profits (up to $1,000,000) to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade with each purchase. Avon is the leading corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause, having donated more than $780 million to breast cancer programs around the world over the last 20 years. http://www.avonfoundation.org/
- Skin So Soft "Soft and Sensual Body Oil"
- Mega Effects Mascara
- Anew Vitale products
- Outspoken by Fergie fragrances
- Signature t-shirts and workout gear
To browse Avon's Breast Cancer Crusade products visit: https://www.avon.com/category/380
Ralph Lauren Corporation's worldwide initiative in the fight against cancer, The Pink Pony Campaign, supports programs for screening, early diagnosis, treatment, research and patient navigation. Ralph Lauren Corporation will be making a $100,000 donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation this fall.
For more information about The Pink Pony Campaign, click here.
Ralph Lauren created their "Pink Pony" Collection to benefit the Pink Pony Fund. At least 25% of the purchase price of products from the collection will benefit the fund. Products include:
- Handbags and wallets
- T-shirts and workout gear
- Polo shirts
- Jackets and vests
- Fragrances (100% of the profits from the sale of limited-edition fragrances "Romance" and "Midnight Romance" Perfume will be donated to support the Pink Pony Fund.)
To browse the entire Pink Pony product line, click here.
For more information about prevention and detection, making smart choices with your money and how to support your loved ones with breast cancer:
- Health Magazine: "22 ways to help a friend with breast cancer" Click here to read article.
- American Cancer Society: Learn about cancer section. Click here to access resources.
- Women's Health Magazine: "The Problem with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month" Click here to read article.
- CBSNews: "Breast Cancer: Should you rethink buying pink?" Click here to read article.
- Think Before You Pink: a project of Breast Cancer Action, TBYP launched in 2002 to call for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions. Visit http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/ for more information.
FUCK CANCER. ROCK ON OMAHA! (and Tiff and Allison and another Susan...)