Across the nation and in Western New York, the products with the breast cancer pink ribbon range from music boxes to at one point even cars, in hopes of getting you to buy something. But how much of it actually goes to help cancer patients? Buffalo's Early News and WBEN.com take a look at some of the awareness efforts.
In The NFL......
Throughout the month of October, the NFL, its players, even referees -- and even some fans -- are involved in the annual "Crucial Catch" campaign, wearing pink items for later sale to charity.
Wednesday morning, the items for sale at nflauction.nfl.com range from a game jersey worn by Philadelphia Quarterback Michael Vick, for over $4,700 to a towel used by rookie Buffalo Bill corner pack Justin Rogers being sold for $11.
Even though the team is not playing well, and the Bills towel is at the bottom of the fundraising pack as of Wednesday morning, local officials say the campaign is still a success..
"The program we have nationally with the NFL and the NFLPA is called the "Crucial Catch" program.
To date, the partnership has raised more than $3 million for the American Cancer Society," Paul McGee with the Society's WNY Chapter tells WBEN..
Beginning this year, money raised through A Crucial Catch will support the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program.
"This program provides outreach and breast cancer screenings to women who need them," McGee says.
The Buffalo Bills are also involved with a funding initiative for the Susan G. Komen Race for a cure, and as co-sponsors of the upcoming "Bill-ieve" concert event to light Niagara Falls Pink and create a human pink ribbon stretching across the border.
That event also features a free outdoor concert with former Go-Go's lead singer Belinda Carlisle.
"The funds from that evening will support the local American Cancer Society (as well as the Niagara Chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society).
"What comes to us locally will help support our breast cancer programs including free transportation for breast cancer patients in need of a ride to treatments, free wigs and cosmetics through our wig room in Amherst...local support programs, early detection advocacy efforts and even free temporary housing at our Hope Lodge on Summer Street for people who need to come to WNY for treatment from out of town.," McGee says.
Sweetbay, a Tampa supermarket chain began offering specially bred Pink Pumpkins this month, with donations on " a portion of sales " going to breast cancer research" through a foundation they established for that purpose
" Our goal with these pink pumpkins is to brighten our shoppers’ homes and help make their fall season memorable.” says spokesperson Nicole Lebeau.
Hard Rock Cafe in New York City kicked off the month with a "Pink" concert, with proceeds going to breast cancer support work.
Victoria’s Secret opened a "pink" store at Cowboy's Stadium in Texas at the start of this month.
Earlier this month Actress Elizabeth Hurley - who coordinates the "Pink" efforts for Estee Lauder cosmetics, lit the Empire State Building in NYC Pink.
Is it too much? Angela Wall thinks so.
"The pink ribbon is not trademarked so there is no way to track who uses it and what it is used for, so that is cause for great concern," says Wall, with Breast Cancer Action's Think Before You Pink campaign.
"Anybody can put a pink ribbon on anything and the problem becomes what is that pink ribbon or that product actually doing to end the breast cancer crisis," says Wall
Wall's organization says in the early days of "cause marketing" cars and breakfast cereals were on board with the Pink Ribbon campaign, but often times they only pledge a certain amount of funds for breast cancer.
She says awareness campaigns can sometimes use funds for publicity efforts, without funding research or comfort and support programs.
"Pink ribbons came out to raise awareness. I think most people are aware of breast cancer, and perhaps we are getting to the point of pink ribbon fatigue, where people aren't aware of what needs to be done.," Wall says.
Exclusive WBEN Audio
On The WBEN Liveline
Dr. Stephen Edge, MD
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated's Peter King tried to voice Pink Ribbon overkill concerns, in a tweet about the NFL that said:
" Please. Not pink for a month, NFL. A week, great, but a month?"
Twitter critics pounced, according to an account in Salon.com
"Maybe instead of being an ignorant idiot about life-threatening diseases, Peter King should stick to being an ignorant idiot about the NFL.” wrote ESPN Radio's Jay Sanin.
“Really? Is it that serious? If it’s raising money for cancer is it really worth complaining about?” tweeted another quoted by Salon. And yet another declared, “Get over it for those we’ve lost and survived, we honor them in any way we can.”
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In Brazil's capitol city, The Cathedral of Brasilia is lit for breast cancer awareness
Think Before You Pink, a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the overwhelming number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market.
Many companies that sell pink ribbon products and donate a percentage of each sale to breast cancer programs fail to indicate which of the many different breast cancer organizations will get the money. Furthermore, the consumer is left to trust that these organizations are engaged in work that is meaningful and makes the greatest difference. If you can’t tell, or you don’t know what the organization does, reconsider your purchase.
Early Diagnosis is Crucial But....
The debate continues over when women should get their first mammograms, be it age 40 or 50. One doctor says he understands the debate, but cautions about getting so many so soon
From The US Library of Medicine:
Over the course of a lifetime, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Early breast cancer usually does not cause symptoms. This is why regular breast exams are important. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:
Men can get breast cancer, too. Symptoms include breast lump and breast pain and tenderness.
Symptoms of advanced breast cancer may include : Bone pain, Breast pain or discomfort,Skin ulcers, Swelling of one arm (next to the breast with cancer)and weight loss.Risk factors you cannot change include:
Age and gender -- Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older. Most advanced breast cancer cases are found in women over age 50. Women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than men.
Other risk factors include:
Alcohol use -- Drinking more than 1 - 2 glasses of alcohol a day may increase your risk for breast cancer.
Childbirth -- Women who have never had children or who had them only after age 30 have an increased risk for breast cancer. Being pregnant more than once or becoming pregnant at an early age reduces your risk of breast cancer.
DES -- Women who took diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage may have an increased risk of breast cancer after age 40. This drug was given to the women in the 1940s - 1960s.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) -- You have a higher risk for breast cancer if you have received hormone replacement therapy with estrogen for several years or more.Obesity -- Obesity has been linked to breast cancer, although this link is controversial. The theory is that obese women produce more estrogen, which can fuel the development of breast cancer.Radiation -- If you received radiation therapy as a child or young adult to treat cancer of the chest area, you have a much higher risk for developing breast cancer. The younger you started such radiation and the higher the dose, the higher your risk -- especially if the radiation was given during breast development>
Breast implants, using antiperspirants, and wearing underwire bras do not raise your risk for breast cancer. There is no evidence of a direct link between breast cancer and pesticides.
The National Cancer Institute provides an online tool to help you figure out your risk of breast cancer.
Buffalo Bills “Billieve” Concert &
Human Ribbon Across The Border
To Benefit the American Cancer Society and The Canadian Cancer Society
Friday, October 19
O’Laughlin Drive, Downtown Niagara Falls, NY
Festivities begin at 5PM - Belinda Carlisle to perform at 8:30PM
Join Buffalo Bills players and their families for outdoor door concert performances including Belinda Carlisle. See a ceremonial pink lighting of Niagara Falls, and be part of a living ribbon stretching across the Rainbow Bridge.
On The WBEN Liveline
Bills Wife Rose Ann Ross
& Breast Cancer Survivor Tara Sanborn
Those interested in participating in the living ribbon can click on this link and for $30, receive a commemorative pink T-shirt, pink pashmina and a spot on the Rainbow Bridge to help form the living ribbon. All of the proceeds from the living ribbon will go to the American Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Society. Registration will be handled on Old Falls Street, USA.
- All participants in the ribbon ceremony will be required to produce a passport or enhanced driver’s license.
- Breast Cancer Awareness merchandise will be available and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and the Western New York Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
- In honor of the event, locations in Niagara Falls and Buffalo will be turning “pink” that night to help support the cause. This will include Old Falls Street, USA, Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls, USA, the Electric Tower, the Peace Bridge, the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Giacomo Hotel and the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.
In addition, the ECMC Lifeline Foundation Mammography Bus, which features two digital mammography machines, will be parked on Old Falls Street, USA for people to visit and receive information on early diagnosis and treatment.
Meanwhile.... Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Star 102.5 Bring You PINK PARTY 2012
Star 102.5 Presents Christina Perri in an intimate acoustic performance at our first ever "Pink Party", Monday, October 17th from 6pm-8pm at Pearl Street Grille and Brewery!
The Pink Party is a fun, frilly, girly, totally pink event! This is a ladies night out with a portion of the proceeds to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Ticket includes a drink ticket, light appetizers, and a goodie bag. There will be vendors, raffles for great stuff like Worlds's Largest Disco Tickets and Bängs Salon certificates, a pendant from Scanlon Jewelers, and more!
Plus, a fashion show featuring Tony Walker and TT New York Star 102.5's "Pink Party" with Christina Perri to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute