October isn't just the 10th month on the calendar, it's also the month where amidst all the orange, yellow & reds of autumn you'll see a sea of pink. October is designated as Breast Cancer Awareness month. You'll hear about a number of fundraising walks being sponsored, like the one I was in last weekend. You'll see an endless variety of 'pink' items on the shelves that supposedly donate a portion of sales to breast cancer research. I'd like to think it's true that funds are being raised that support ground breaking research, create community awareness, and support programs that directly assist current cancer patients going through treatments. But there are times I wonder just how much of the profits of the commercial items ranging from water bottles & mugs to socks and t-shirts actually go where they're supposed to and what that actual percentage is. Just how much money are all of these companies making at the expense of breast cancer or any other cause for that fact? I would hope that some companies aren't just jumping on the pink band wagon knowing that if they donate even the smallest percentage to the cause that they'll be able to rake in some big profits during the highly publicized month. Don't get me wrong, as a 7 year breast cancer survivor I am truly grateful for every single dollar that gets raised in hopes that a cure can be discovered before my daughter or anyone else's daughter is affected.
If you have $25 to donate and want your $25 to have the most impact then you need to ask yourself an important question. Where exactly do you want to make a difference? Has there been a specific program you've seen in action that touched your heart? Do you have a relative or a friend who benefited from Meals on Wheels? If so, why not donate directly to their program? Do you know someone who received immediate care and support at a shelter? Then why not make a direct donation to them? There are so many great organizations out there that do exactly what they say they're going to do that I think it's great when they can get some support.
I chose to walk in a recent Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk because it's organized by the American Cancer Society and I've personally benefited from programs that they continue to offer. I knew where my donation and those of my supporters was going. I'll admit that I've purchased a pink ribbon t-shirt or two during the last 7 years and that's o.k. I just think that in a day and age when commercialism and making a profit are as predictable as the sun rising and setting each day, we need to all be responsible and be careful.
Do you have a charity you feel strongly about? If you do and ever have an upcoming event you'd like to get the word out for - let me know. I have no problem sharing good information with my readers.