Rethink the pink


Breast Cancer awareness sign at Macy’s.

“Pinktober” has become more nationally recognized in the past couple of years, but for those who are unfamiliar, “Pinktober” is essentially when a lot of retailers sell and promote pink items that have a portion of the profit going to various breast cancer research organizations in October.

It appears to be a great program and seems to raise awareness about breast cancer, but how much money actually goes to breast cancer research? In reality, not much. But looking more closely, companies profit off of misguiding the public about where their money from “Pinktober” products goes.

Susan G. Komen, a well known cancer research organization, uses the majority of the money raised for the business. Only a small percentage goes towards breast cancer research, which can be shocking. In more recent years, their funding towards research has declined to 15% and instead has put more of a focus on education. While educating the public is important, finding a cure exceeds that importance by a longshot.

With breast cancer being a topic close to home, everytime I see “Pinktober” products, I always make sure to see what percentage goes back to research. A few products that caught my eye were various t-shirts at Lady Foot Locker which had profits going towards the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF.) The t-shirts themselves cost around $26, but only $5 actually went back to the BCRF. On their web store that they partner with popular brands like Alex and Ani, but again, only 20% of profit goes back to the BCRF. So from purchasing a $38 bracelet, without shipping and tax, only $7.60 is going towards research. Yes, $5 and $7.60 is better than zero, but when every two minutes a women in the U.S. is diagnosed, a majority of profits going back to breast cancer research would be much better and could provide significant results.

Another familiar appearance is the NFL’s pink paraphernalia in stores and at games. Unfortunately, the NFL’s push and show of pink items does not raise any money for cancer research, but rather only ‘raises awareness.’ So instead of funding money for research, the NFL just misguides the public about where they money goes, and there isn’t really a clear answer about where that money is going.

Alternative organizations that you can donate to are the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC), Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), The Breast Cancer Site (TBCS), the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), and METAvivor Research and Support Inc. (MRSI); the list goes on.

You can directly donate any amount of money on BCRC’s website, or you can even host an event, where 100% of profits go back to research or programs. Their mission is through community support to offer free programs for those with breast cancer since 1995.

Instead of buying a t-shirt supporting Susan G. Komen, you can purchase various products like bags, shoes, and jewelry on LBBC’s webstore where 100% of the profits go to breast cancer research.

A third option for donation is the webstore on TBCS where 100% of their profits and sponsor advertising fees help fund your choice of either mammograms, research, or care. TBCS is run through a larger organization, the Greater Good, which has different donation branches ranging from various problems like breast cancer, the rainforests, and literacy. Specifically, their breast cancer site aims to prevent future deaths and advocate for breast cancer.  

Another option is the YSC, which serves women affected under 40. They offer various resources like connections and outreach programs to help those young women feel hopeful and supported. A donation directly to their website helps provide funds for increased research on young women who have breast cancer.

A fifth choice is the MRSI, a sole U.S. organization dedicated to funding research for stage four metastatic breast cancer for both women and men. Their raised funds go towards research grants to doctors who show a distinct promise in making a difference and finding a cure for MBC. Their ultimate goal, according to their website, is “to transition metastatic breast cancer from a terminal diagnosis to a chronic, manageable disease with a decent quality of life.” You can directly donate on their website, where you can choose to donate any denomination, and you can either do one payment or recurring. You can also make your donation in honor of or in memory of.

With such a horrendous disease affecting thousands of men and women, it is important to become aware and informed of where your money is going when you buy their “Pinktober” products.