Pink for October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this blog has gone Pink for October.

It's hard to miss the pink this month, with the Run for the Cure merchandise in stores, commercials on TV, and segments on the news. While some people may feel that they're being overleaded with pink, breast cancer is a serious issue that must be thought about all year round, not only when the marketing is going full speed.

Did you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women? And did you know that an average of 407 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every week? (from the Canadian Cancer Society)
I just returned home from meetings of the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, and they were very eye opening. I'm not a member of the provincial networks, but it was really interesting to see how they work together, and hear about the work that they do.

The most interesting conversation of the week was one about the marketing of 'pink', saturation, and where your donations go.

When you go in a store, you'll inevitably see a bunch of products sporting a pink ribbon. But have you ever thought about how much money from that loaf of bread, package of candy, etc. goes towards the charity? Sometimes it's as little as 1 or 5 cents! Also, do you know where your money goes? Does it go to a local organization or chapter? A national one? One in another country? Keeping donation money in their community/region is very important for many people, as is knowing how much of their donation is used for administrative costs rather than research/education/equpiment, etc.

Next time you're in a store selling pink ribbon products, look for that information on the package. Ask a sales associate. Call the 1-800 number on the package. And if you get a vague answer like "your money goes to breast cancer research" - no organization or amount specified - ask for details (I tried that this week at a store in Ottawa). The more you inquire about your donation, the more companies will stop using the pink ribbon merely to sell products, while giving a, quite frankly, pathetic donation to the cause.

Some companies giving substantial per-item donations:

Marks Work Warehouse - In addition to special discounts and prizes, Mark’s will match 100% of the proceeds raised from the sale of their One Night, One Cause t-shirt, benefitting the Breast Cancer Society of Canada

Penny People Designs - 50% of the proceeds from pink ribbon notecards goes to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Avon - Depending on the product, Avon will donate all net proceeds or full proceeds from its pink ribbon products to breast cancer charities

Holt Renfrew - 100% of proceeds from the HR Private Brand pink cashmere turtleneck go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

WonderBra - $5 from each 'Me collection' bra will go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

More CBCF sponsors here.

More information: Many breast cancer donations don't go into research: study (CBC)

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