Watch where your breast cancer donations are going

Oct. 6, 2014

Alexander Nedd
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Several companies sell items that promote charity for breast cancer. But not all of those businesses actually donate the funds.

Every October a sudden rush of color bursts onto the scene. From our grocery stores to our favorite football teams, pink rules the waves reminding everyone of the need to find a cure for one of the most dreadful diseases of all time: breast cancer.

The fight to overcome this illness has turned into a national movement. Donor groups such as Susan G. Komen and Avon Breast Cancer have pledged that their sole mission is to help fight this disease and find a cure.

October puts the movement to the front of our eyes, taking over our calendars with local walks and charity drives, pink ribbons and products, and sharing stories of unbeatable strength from both survivors and those who continue to battle the disease.

But how much money is actually going to finding a cure? Are wearing pink to look supportive instead of actually helping the cause? Are we simply looking the part because it’s the “cool” thing to do in October or are we really making a difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer?

Promoting breast cancer awareness and research fi ts several agendas, so much that it has garnered the term “pinkwashing.” Critics condemn the tactics used by companies and major charities that may not do exactly what they say.

Companies can set a money cap of what will be donated toward research, whether certain products sell well or not. Yoplait and Nike, for instance, have both done this. But there are also examples of organizations simply pocketing the money and not giving any to breast cancer research.

The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles offers breast cancer awareness license plates for purchase at a higher cost. People will purchase the plates thinking they are donating toward finding a cure.

But none of the money used to purchase the plates goes toward breast cancer research. Not one penny. It’s a move that is utilized by many corporations who offer pink products with the hopes you will become susceptible to buying it, but make no mention of a lack of donation. It’s almost as dirty as the disease itself and continues to happen.

Charities such as the American Cancer Society raise millions each year for cancer research, but often have to pay out fundraising and management costs, leaving behind very little to donate. In 2012 the American Cancer Society spent $160 million on research but $218 on fundraising expenses.

The efforts of millions every year should not go without notice.

It’s wonderful what we can do when we each put our minds to it. Covering football stadiums, walking several miles and donating hard earned money to find a cure is nothing to look down upon, especially when you consider how far research has come to aid scientists.

A 20 percent decline in cancer related deaths has resulted from the research funded through donation, according to the American Cancer Society.

If you are one to partake and give back to breast cancer research during the month of October, I encourage you to do research on the companies and their products. There are corporations who donate more than others, and there are those that will swindle your kind intentions.

Know where your money is going and donate wisely.