Over 2.6 million people in the United States suffer from breast cancer. According to BreastCancer.org, one in eight women will develop this disease at some point in her life; for men, the risk is one in 1000. But there is hope: survivorship rates have increased over the past five decades, and much of this is the result of better screening and treatment options.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its NYC race for survivors in 1991; since then, the world has shown its support for awareness, research, and funding with pink.
Pink is considered a feminine color, but today, you will see some of the country's biggest, toughest men sporting pink.
Image by sportsbusinessnetwork.blogspot.com
The NFL, for instance, holds a breast cancer awareness day and players show up with pink cleats, wristbands, helmet decals, towels, eye shields, skull caps, gloves, and shoe laces to show their support.
These teams join millions by wearing pink merchandise, which is designed to help boost awareness, urge women to get regular screenings, and help raise funds for research. There are stores and shops worldwide that specialize in these types of products.
The goal of pink ribbon merchandise is twofold: to increase awareness of breast cancer and the need for screening, and to raise money for research and treatment. Wearing pink is wonderful - but it is much more effective and powerful when your purchase helps the cause.
Image by audreyjm529 on Flickr
Purchase your pink ribbon products through organizations which donate proceeds to breast cancer research or treatment. BreastCancer.org, for instance, offers gifts, home decor items, jewelry, skin care products, clothing, accessories, books, CDs, and more. A portion of the proceeds goes back to BreastCancer.org in order to fund its free programs, which include clear, comprehensive information/research for those with breast cancer.
Other sites on which you can find merchandise include: the Breast Cancer Site, which uses proceeds to fund free mammograms at clinics and hospitals around the country; the American Cancer Society's Hope Shop, which helps fund research and is the official sponsor of "more birthdays."
Purchase pink ribbon items for a fundraising event. Maybe you are holding your own event; maybe you are participating in a race or other fundraiser and want a better, more efficient way to make money. Soliciting donations can be difficult, and often, merchandise makes it easier.
You can find shops online that distribute bulk items, such as tee-shirts, bracelets, ribbon pins, hats, and more that you can resell at your event to raise funds for research, treatment, etc. Try the Pink Ribbon Marketplace or FundRaisingforaCause.com.
Not all of your merchandise has to be pink to help fund breast cancer awareness/research. In fact, now you can shop and help as well. GoodSearch.com, a search engine, donates 50 percent of its ad-sponsored search revenue to charities designated by users. You use it as you would a "regular" search engine, and proceeds go to the charity of your choice.
The GoodShop mall is a collection of merchants who donate 3 to 20 percent of your purchase to the designated charity, such as BreastCancer.org, or any of your choosing.
Pink ribbon favors and merchandise is a great way to show your support for breast cancer victims, survivors, and families; shirts, caps, and bracelets are terrific ways to show your solidarity during charity walks or events; these products are a visual reminder to everyone who sees you that they should make screening a priority.
Image by epSos. de on Flickr
But you can also do a lot of good by skipping the merchandise and making a donation in the same amount; you won't get the t-shirt or hat, but you will give 100% of your money to a very worthy cause. Make sure to look for sites (like the BreastCancerSite) which guarantee to 100 percent donation.
Pink is the new black! It goes with everything; looks good on everyone; and does a lot of good for the women and men who suffer with breast cancer.