October has been designated the national Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pink products are all over the place, supposedly, with the purpose of helping support the cause. However, not all of the profits are reaching organizations, researchers or patients, as advised by authors consulted by the Time, who recommend anyone willing to help the cause should go directly to the source: donate to organizations according to their work. There are only advantages, even in the taxes.
Products with pink ribbons are available everywhere and come to supporters as an appealing way of helping. Nevertheless, not all of them are in fact supporting the 2.9 million breast cancer patients, charities or research, and are only meant to raise awareness about the disease, as explained by Gayle Sulik, author of Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health.
There are also situations in which sales profits from products meant to support charities don’t end up serving that cause. Either because the company that is producing them already set a cap on a donation amount or, what Sulik believes is the worst case scenario, when companies are selling pink ribbon products, as well as products with ingredients that increase the risk of developing the disease, what he calls “pinkwashing.”
“It doesn’t make much sense to buy pink ribbon products. By doing so, you’re simply subsidizing corporate marketing campaigns. If you want to give, give directly to the breast cancer organization,” summarizes Samantha King, author of Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy. Even though it may difficult to chose from an organization, the author believes it is the best way to actually support the cause, avoiding the corporate business involved. Moreover, donating directly to organizations enable supporters to deduce their charity contribution on their taxes.
Among the several organizations, one of the most important things to decide is which purpose do one want to support. As such, both authors and the Charity Navigator helped Time chose five organizations. The non-profit Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, and the California Breast Cancer Research Program, conducted by the University of California, have been dedicated to support research on preventing breast cancer. The Young Survival Coalition dedicates its work to help younger patients, while the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund works to support education, and The Pink Fund Inc. helps patients with financial problems.
In addition to donating, anyone willing to support the Breast Cancer Awareness Month can participate in one of the several events that are taking place all over the country, from fashion shows and walks to hanging bras. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is even giving supporters the opportunity to host a fundraiser, among other activities that can be seen in the organization’s website here.