© 2017 by Lauren Wiatrek - Austin, TX
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Let’s Make A Real Impact This Pinktober

15.10.2018

 

We are almost half way through October and the pinkwashing is everywhere you turn.

 

Pinkwashing: The practice of a company using support of breast cancer-related charities to promote itself and its products or services. 

 

How many of you have purchased a pink item only because it was pink and you thought, “Surely this goes to a good cause for cancer.”

 

Sadly that is far from the truth. Large organizations sometimes have so much overhead that their giant events pay for just that… their giant event.

 

Or companies jump on whatever trends there are out there today… unfortunately that also includes breast cancer awareness month. They will sell pink items, only to seem as if they are doing good, but the money doesn’t actually go anywhere helpful for cancer.

 

As a breast cancer survivor of 17 months, I am allowed to be critical of this process because I was in it. I was the bald mom receiving chemotherapy treatments while pink items were being flooded my way. At first, I was all on board… I am not really a pink person, but I loved the support, love and awareness it seemed that the pink was providing.

 

Until I looked into it further… and until I became a more seasoned survivor did I really start to understand that a lot of the breast cancer survivors hate the color pink.

 

We feel it is a misrepresentation of what we go through. That somewhere pink was created to sugarcoat the anything but pink we feel as we endure the pain, the surgeries, the fear, the financial ruin as people just hop along wearing pink.

 

SO for the rest of this month, I implore you to do your research and be open to supporting a local or more impactful organization.

 

I have come up with a list of organizations I approve of as a breast cancer survivor:

 

  1. Breast Cancer Resource Center: This organization has been supporting me since day one of my diagnosis in May 2017. They have paid for bills, given us grocery store gift cards, paired us with a business who sponsored us for Christmas last year (when we truly thought there was no way we could have a decent Christmas), they have support groups, each survivor is paired with a patient navigator who checks in on them every few weeks, they encouraged me to apply for Art Bra 2018 as a model, they helped me get an electric recliner for my recovery from my reconstruction. They make a huge difference in survivor’s lives every single day, they will drive you to treatment, they are there every step. 100% based on donations.

  2. METAvivor is dedicated to the specific fight of women and men living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. At the time of METAvivor’s founding, no organization was dedicated to funding research for the disease and no patient groups were speaking out about the dearth of stage 4 cancer research.  While more and more people have taken up the cry for more stage 4 research, METAvivor remains the sole US organization dedicated to awarding annual stage 4 breast cancer research. METAvivor exists to sustain hope for those living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (MBC). We are a volunteer-led, non-profit organization that funds vital research to help improve the longevity and quality of life for MBC patients. Passionately committed patients ourselves, we rally public attention to the urgent needs of the MBC community, help patients find strength through support and purpose, and make every dollar count as we work with researchers to extend and improve quality of life for MBC patients.

  3. Breast Cancer Research Foundation - The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. We provide critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship. 88% of their funds go straight to research.

  4. Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation - Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation challenges the status quo to achieve a future without breast cancer and improve the lives of people impacted by it now through education and advocacy. We drive collaborative cutting-edge research  with nontraditional partners, bring to light the collateral damage of treatment and seek ways to diminish it, and interpret science to empower patients.

  5. Living Beyond Breast Cancer - We provide programs and services to help people whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer. Our goal is to provide information, community and support that you can trust, is easy for you to access and respectful of you and your situation. All our resources are carefully and frequently reviewed by some of the country’s leading healthcare experts and informed by people living with breast cancer. 

  6. California Breast Cancer Research Program – 95% of funds go straight towards research. In 1993, California breast cancer activists joined forces with scientists, clinicians, state legislators, and University of California officials to catapult the state into national leadership for breast cancer research. The activists, most of them women who had survived or currently had breast cancer, were impatient with the slow pace of progress against the disease. With their allies, they wrote and won passage of statewide legislation to push breast cancer research in new, creative directions. The California Breast Cancer Act increased the tobacco tax by 2¢ per pack, with 45 percent of the revenue going to CBCRP.

 

There you have it six organizations that make a huge impact. Find the one that resonates most with you and donate there this month. Please. One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That is 12%. In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.

 

About 40,920 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2018 from breast cancer.

 

In 2018, it's estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.

 

Most breast cancer is found in women who did not have symptoms.

 

 

 

Make an impact today. Hopefully you have seen my journey, what I have endured. Our women need more. Stage four needs more. Research needs more. We are not free of cancer… remission is just a word.

 

Pink doesn’t cure cancer.

 

To make a real impact partner with one of the organizations above OR whoever your closest survivor is… BE there for them. Be present. Don’t ask to come over and help clean, just do it. Oftentimes we feel forgotten and left by the wayside… the world keeps spinning. Make that personal connection and donate your time by helping them and their family through this tornado that cancer is.

 

There is hope and one day we will all be free from cancer. Right now, the best way to beat cancer is by the way we live. – Stuart Scott

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