Regina George may have had it somewhat right, but these days it's not just on Wednesday's that we wear pink. The entire month of October is now dedicated to wearing the color in order to help raise awareness for breast cancer, and as knowledge continues to spread, more and more people are joining the movement. So what does wearing pink really mean? It means that not only are we showing our support by what we wear, but we are also trying to spread understanding of what the color pink really stands for.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with an average lifetime risk of developing breast cancer at 12%. There are about 300,000 cases diagnosed each year, with about 15% of those (40,000 people) dying from the disease each year. Another way of looking at it is that 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer, and 1 woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes. In addition, contrary to what most people believe, men can develop breast cancer as well (though it is not nearly as common). Always keep in mind that screening for breast cancer begins at 40 years old (for average risk women) with annual mammograms, and that catching breast cancer early can save your life.
While I completely support wearing pink everything to raise awareness, I believe it's also extremely important to know what else you can do to support the cause. For starters, everyone should educate themselves in any way that they can. Take this quiz if you want to see how much you really know about breast cancer, or go straight to the source for a full list of topics and explanations (more great info can be found on Susan G. Komen's website). If you are over 35 years old, you can get an idea about your own personal risk using this Breast cancer Risk Assessment Tool as well. Once you acquire more information on the topic, you can help teach others what you know.
To help you all out, I've compiled a list of things that you can do to help contribute; some are more time consuming, and some are simple enough to do in just a few minutes. I hope you'll take a moment to read through them and decide which one's you can do (aside from just wearing pink) to help out this October and raise breast cancer awareness yourselves.
1. Make Your Own Pink Ribbon!
This one is super easy to do. With just a quick stop at your nearest Michael's or Hobby Lobby you can pick up the items needed to make your own pink ribbon all month. I think this is fun because you can buy different shades of pink, or even patterned ribbon to really stand out. You can make extras and hand them out to friends, family, and coworkers to gt them to help raise awareness with you!
2. Get a New Stethoscope
My motto is you can never have too many stethoscopes, and you should definitely have a pink one for October. That being said, wouldn't you want to get one that also helps raise money for a good cause? Medelita has partnered with the American Breast Cancer Foundation to donate 5% of each pink stethoscope purchased during the month of October for breast cancer awareness. Anddd there are two different shades of pink that apply to the donation! (Mine is the "pink" one, but there is also a rose color)
3. Cook, Bake, And Eat!
Cook For The Cure is a fundraising partnership between KitchenAid and Susan G. Komen that has raised over $10.7 million in the past 16 years through purchases of pink products, celebrity chef auctions, and home based fundraising. Whether you need a new beautiful pink appliance for your kitchen (trust me when I say the Artisan Stand Mixer is a life saver on it's own), or just want to host a host a cooking party at your own home, KitchenAid is here to help you raise awareness. They also have this really cool program called pass the plate, where you make a meal and serve it on your special plate and then share it with someone special, who then passes it on to someone else. Plus you can register the plate so you can track where it's been- SO fun!
4. Join a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk or Run
Now that we're done cooking and eating, maybe we should do some physical activity. The great thing about joining breast cancer awareness walks/runs is that you get to exercise and also meet so many great people doing it. If you're not an avid runner, don't sweat it (see what I did there), plenty of people prefer to walk instead. There are multiple options depending on where you live, with the most widely known one being the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life campaign. It's super easy to find an event (or two) near you and sign up to help out.
5. Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
I have always loved buying new sneakers because nothing makes me feel more motivated than a new pair of running shoes (aside from running off the donut I ate this morning). Not to mention you can totally show them off at one of the breast cancer awareness walks/runs mentioned above (see #4). There are several companies that have teamed up to help raise breast cancer awareness such as New Balance's "Lace Up for the Cure" and Sketcher's "Our Walk Together", and Nike's Air Max breast Cancer Awareness sneakers are even on sale, but selling out quickly!
6. Training Gear
If you want some other exercise equipment aside from just new shoes, there are plenty of options here as well, all that help support AND raise awareness for breast cancer. Under Armour has a campaign called "Power in Pink" with multiple different items for both men and women. If you're into yoga, Maduka has designed project:OM in which 10% of all yoga gear purchases go to the Susen G. Komen foundation. If you're into football and want some pink items to help root for your team, NFL shop has quite a selection (the NFL themselves even auction off items worn by athletes in there Crucial Catch campaign to raise money for the American Cancer Society as well). Lastly, Ford donates 100% of net proceeds from their Warrior Wear Pink products to your charity of choice (and no, you don't have to buy an actual car).
If you don't have time to join an event or do some of the other activities but just want to help with a donation, you can join the hundreds of other companies that have done so. You can go directly to the American Cancer Society website, the American Breast Cancer Foundation website, the Ntional Breast Cancer Foundation website, the Susan G. Komen website, orrr the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. All are legitimate and not scams, and your money will definitely be used in a good way. If you want more information just click on the links to see what they're all about.
8. Fundraise for the Cause
If you want to donate but also want to get others to help join you, fundraising is the best option, and there are plenty of ways in which you can do so (check these out too). A lot of the fundraiser options available include walks/runs (like I discussed before), golfing events, art galas, sporting events, etc., but you can also create your own fundraiser if you want! If none of these are super appealing to you, you can buy items in bulk from this wholesale site and sell them to raise money that way instead.
9. Get Involved Yourself
There is research all over the world to find out more about cancer and how we can stop it. If you know someone with breast cancer who wants to enroll in a clinical trial, there are plenty around. You can also learn more about breast cancer research here, or you can attend events to hear what the experts have to say in person. After all, knowledge is power, right?
10. Social Media
Everyone knows that what goes on social media these days spreads like wild fire. That being said, use it to your advantage to spread the word about wearing pink and the multiple ways we can all support breast cancer awareness. I know my personal goal for the month of October is to post as many things as I can (without driving everyone crazy) about breast cancer and what we can be doing to help out. Use your voice to let others know what they can be doing too!
Now that I've given you multiple different ways you can help RAISE AWARENESS (are you sick of hearing me say that yet?), please please help participate in any way that you can. It is up to us to put an end to this terrible disease. I love you all, now lets kick some breast cancer butt!
About the author:
Erica Wigdor, DO is an internal medicine physician who graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Florida State University and then went to Nova Southeastern University for medical school to peruse a career in osteopathic medicine. Follow Erica on Instagram!