Breast Cancer: After The Pink Ribbon

In Breast Cancer, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

From what I regularly hear, most people are very grateful that Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just about over for another year. They feel that they have seen enough pink ribbons and clothing and accessories and advertisements and promotions to last a lifetime. They are probably breathing a sigh of relief that they don’t have to see or hear about one more campaign, race, walk, run or buying opportunity to raise funds for research. But for those who have dealt with, are dealing with or will be dealing with cancer during the next year, it is just a sad reminder that once again, they will be forgotten or at least ignored because no one wants to think about breast cancer unless forced to do so.

“There are so many ways that we can creatively assist someone in need in ways other than financially…”Barbara Jacoby

The grim reality is that every organization needs to take full advantage of any chance that they may have in order to raise funds during October because for many, the funds generated will have to last them for the next year. However, it is not unusual to run out of money long before the next major fundraising opportunity comes along. It seems that the prevailing opinion is that a large amount of funds raised will go into the pockets of those who are running the various organizations but that simply doesn’t seem to be the reality from the research that I have done. And it is sad that one rumor about an organization or one choice to derail the efforts of someone from an “opposing” group can wipe out the 99 percent good that someone does on a regular basis.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t agree with every expenditure made by any group, especially the very large ones. No group or business will ever run perfectly to the satisfaction of every single person. But that does not give anyone the right to undermine that organization to the point where it negatively influences their abilities to raise funds for all the needs of others to which they contribute.

Unless a person has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has had their treatment cut or refused or interrupted because they don’t have the money to pay, there is no way to know the damage that is done when support programs are underfunded. If a patient needs to have treatment that interrupts the ability to work, they may be unable to pay rent, buy food, pay bills and support their families. The need to go to support organizations for help becomes a very real need but if the funds have dried up, not only do they have to deal with the cancer but a life that is now in total ruin. And even if a person is able to cover their basic needs, they may have options such as reconstruction after a mastectomy taken away or not be able to afford a prosthetic to replace the amputated breast.

The bottom line is that there will be organizations that will not raise all of the money that they need to fund their programs for the entire year. For some, it will mean a cut in staff to save a few dollars to feed a family whose parent is unable to work because of breast cancer. For others, it will mean that those who rely on the help will have to look elsewhere in order to keep a roof over their families. For some, it will most likely mean that they will have to skip treatments because they can’t afford the treatment or because the treatment makes them sick so that they can’t go to work and earn the money they need for their families. There are so many scenarios that I can’t begin to list them all but they all mean that there will be those who will have to deal with so much more pain and suffering than those that are directly related to breast cancer.

I wish I had the answers that would provide for all of the needs of those who are dealing with breast cancer and are in need of financial assistance, but I don’t. The best that I can do is to ask everyone who knows of someone who is dealing with breast cancer to look after them and help in any way that you can. Maybe you can’t provide money for food but maybe you can prepare an extra pot of soup and deliver it to a family. Maybe you don’t have the money to help someone who needs child care but perhaps you can volunteer to watch the children for an afternoon yourself. There are so many ways that we can creatively assist someone in need in ways other than financially and all that I am suggesting is that maybe, just maybe, if we all pitch in, we can help those who are most in need when they have nowhere else to turn.