THE BLOG
22/09/2015 8:27 PM IST | Updated 07/12/2017 3:50 AM IST

Changing the Face of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

If we focus our awareness in this way, we will be able to help so many more people than we could previously have imagined and that will make this year's Breast Cancer Awareness Month the best one ever.

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With Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, I can't begin to explain what has already been going on across the country as every organization and company as well as many individuals who have ties to breast cancer have been busy developing their programs for the month of October. As I watch what is going on, I can't help but reflect on what is happening and how everything has evolved since I faced my first BCA Month after my first diagnosis and I feel so many mixed emotions. But, let me explain.

The face of breast cancer and fund raising has changed immensely. Perhaps much is the same, but not to me and apparently so many others, and the biggest game changer seems to be in the world of social media. There are so many positive outcomes that can be seen with mostly it being in awareness of all of the various programs and fundraisers that are being held and the opportunities to make contributions with ease to the particular organizations with which we feel a personal alignment.

During BCA Month, every single individual and corporate program that is held is carefully designed and administered because someone believes in the needs for which they are raising funds or providing support to the breast cancer community. For many, whatever they are able to accomplish in raising funds during BCA Month will represent the majority if not all of the monies with which they will have available for the entire year. Therefore, it becomes a driving force to do anything/everything possible to fill the coffers in the hopes that they can at least meet the same numbers that were generated for the current year and perhaps exceed those numbers. After all, when you put your maximum efforts into what may very well be your life's work, you want to be successful in every way that you can.

While social media has brought such positive opportunities in more individuals and organizations being able to share what they are doing to raise money, there is also a dark side to how some have chosen to utilize their message sharing. Some have become frustrated in their efforts when they see nationally televised fundraisers bringing in millions of dollars to a particular organization while they are struggling to help a neighbor with funding for chemo treatments. They are feeling intimidated and overwhelmed when they see the coverage given to companies that are able to provide resources for major research and the media coverage that is given to all of the programs that they are providing. They are angry because they are not in a position to reach major corporate sponsors or high profile spokespeople to back their efforts. And often when this happens, some choose to resort to negative behavior that ultimately undermines the efforts of every single person who is doing the best that they can to help and support those who are most in need of help and that is everyone who has been, is being or will be touched by breast cancer.

Therefore, I would like to request that everyone involved in any work in the breast cancer community to make BCA Month about so much more than just the money this year. Every single effort that is made to help someone in the breast cancer world is appreciated so much more than you could ever imagine. Of course, if you are in a position to make a financial contribution, that would be absolutely, positively fantastic to donate to the organization with which you most align yourself. Every single one of them exists because the founder(s) saw a need for what they are doing so no one organization is better than another, just different. We are all extremely aware of the need for money for everything we need to do. Therefore, it is very important for all of us to support all fundraising to the very best of our abilities.

For those who are not in a position to contribute money during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that doesn't mean that you can't contribute to the help and support of those with breast cancer. Perhaps you can volunteer to hand out water to participants at your local run/walk event. Maybe you can help a neighbor or friend with a ride to cancer treatment and/or doctor appointments. Perhaps you can visit some of your local businesses to request support in the way of goods and/or services that they would be willing to provide to someone in need. Or tonight when you are preparing a big casserole or stew to feed your family, maybe you can make some extra and take it to the family down the street to help them out because Mom is not feeling well enough after her breast cancer surgery to prepare a meal.

There are so many ways in which we can help those dealing with breast cancer if we take the time to think about it. I would love for all of us to make Breast Cancer Awareness so much more than just raising funds. I would appreciate it if everyone would get on the bandwagon and make Awareness about what patients and their support teams might need and make a commitment during this special month to commit to doing something(s) in the coming year to help in any way possible. If we focus our awareness in this way, we will be able to help so many more people than we could previously have imagined and that will make this year's Breast Cancer Awareness Month the best one ever.