Breast cancer runs in my family.
In September I watched my Grandmother slowly pass away from the disease . It was ugly and heart-breaking.
It’s a scary thought, that one day I could be diagnosed. That one day maybe my daughter could be diagnosed.
We all want a cure for breast cancer and every other kind of cancer. We want it now and we want to feel like in some small way, we can make a tiny contribution to that effort.
And we should make a contribution. We should all stand up and help with funding cancer research and helping those that are sick.
But something has been bothering me lately.
The thought of companies exploiting this desire to help. Companies claiming to make a difference when they aren’t. Companies that take an illness and turn it into a PR stunt.
I’m talking about the NFL.
Let me tell you something, pink ribbons and expensive sweatshirts aren’t doing a damn thing to help.
Not one single dollar from the NFL’s A Crucial Catch campaign goes to any type of cancer research.
None of it goes to helping find a cure, healthcare costs, medication, surgery or anything that would tangibly help the sick and dying.
The money they fork over goes to screening mammograms.
A good cause you think, right? Because surely if women are able to get screened they may catch their breast cancer early.
Well, maybe. According to research, screenings “have no overall impact on survival rates of women with breast cancer.” (source) Which is why US Preventive Services Task Force has changed their recommendation that women have mammograms every one to two years starting at age 40 to every two years starting at age 50.
But still, you think, at least they’re donating something. That has to be better than nothing, right?
You would probably want to go read the fine print first before making that assumption.
The tiny little words at the bottom of their webpage tells you that “All dollars are either donated to ACS or used to pay expenses incurred to produce and promote the campaign.”
Do you see that word OR? The money might go to the ACS OR it might go to promos.
“These costs include the production of in-stadium banners and stencils, and the purchase of on-field and sideline Pink products.”
Wait, wait, wait. On-field products? You mean all those fancy pink cleats? The pink jerseys? The footballs with pink ribbon decals? Those huge banners?
How in the world is that helping people with breast cancer?
Oh, and they also have to still pay out their royalties to companies like Nike or Wilson who didn’t agree to give away their profits to the ACS.
We can do better.
I applaud anyone who thinks they want to give their hard earned money to help a cause. It’s honorable and the money that you pull out of your wallet should go to something meaningful.
It should go to something good. Something that works.
It should not go to highly-paid athletes to wear a different color of shoe.
If you want to help fight breast cancer here are some ideas:
- Donate your dollars to Breast Cancer Action
- Or to The National Breast Cancer Coalition
- Or to the Cancer Research Institute
- Check out the Think Before You Pink website
However you choose to donate, be sure to check where your money is going.
And whatever you do, don’t think that buying anything pink is going to help.