To honor National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are 5 breast cancer-focused nonprofits I think you should know.
Most people are familiar with the bigger, national charities like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, but there are many more smaller or local organizations across the United States that provide all kinds of breast cancer awareness, education, and support.
Some Breast Cancer Facts & Figures
But first, I want to share some general breast cancer facts and figures.
While the exact statistics aren’t readily available right now, according to the American Cancer Society, in 2019, “an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer [would] be diagnosed among women and approximately 2,670 cases [would] be diagnosed in men. In addition, an estimated 48,100 cases of DCIS [would] be diagnosed among women. Approximately 41,760 women and 500 men [were] expected to die from breast cancer in 2019.” (Source: American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2019-2020, p. 5)
The American Cancer Society also explains that “as of January 1, 2019, there were more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer living in the United States.”
Yes, that number is correct. At this point in 2020, I imagine that number is even closer to the 4 million mark.
While the incidence rate in the White and Black communities is fairly close, the Black community has the highest mortality rate (more on that below).
3 Ways To Support Breast Cancer Charities
Now that you know the facts, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What can I do to help?”
I was recently talking to a Volunteer Coordinator at a local nonprofit about the ways people can make a difference for the causes they love.
She and I both recognized that while most organizations prefer to have monetary donations, that’s not the only way to give.
In fact, the organization she works for (supporting un-housed single mothers), makes sure they always offer alternatives to monetary donations to keep their community interested and engaged.
Many breast cancer-focused charities take the same approach and usually offer some form of the following three options. You can also do more than one throughout the course of any year!
Option 1: Make a direct monetary donation.
I have yet to see any website for a breast cancer-focused nonprofit without a “DONATE” button front and center or a “Donations” section in their menu.
Donations are a nonprofit’s bread and butter. Every dollar truly does count so even a $5-10 donation will make a difference.
Sometimes they also offer an option to pay on a monthly basis which helps with budgeting. A total donation of $100 can be split up into a payment of $10/month instead.
If you’re trying to get the most out of your donation, double check about whether or not your company does a matching program. If they do offer this option, read the requirements carefully so you ensure the match is made.
Option 2: Host or hold a fundraiser.
Many nonprofits also offer the structure and tools to host a fundraiser for their benefit.
They can be as simple as creating an online fundraising page that you share through social media. The more time intensive ideas involve hosting (in-person or online) an event like a bake sale or a party with a theme.
Options 3: Make handmade items to donate to their “boutique”.
Some breast cancer support organizations have a boutique where they sell items to support their programs.
Not only could you make make items to donate to the organizations clients, but the chemo port pillows, heart-shaped mastectomy pillows, waterproof mastectomy drain bag holders, or double mastectomy pillows could also be donated for sale.
Many organizations also have holiday gift fairs that need vendors and you could sell your handmade items there and donate a significant portion of the proceeds.
Connect With These Breast Cancer Charities In October
Sisters Network, Inc.
Sisters Network, “is committed to increasing local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community.”
Their overall goal is to, “reduce the mortality rate of breast cancer among African American women by generating awareness, garnering attention, providing access to information and resources, and supporting research efforts in the ecosystem.
This nonprofit serves African American women through an affiliate chapter model.
Affiliate chapters provides things like:
– Holding monthly support meetings
– Outreach to provide breast cancer education within the local community
– Providing breast health resources to the local community
The Sisters Network is headquartered in Houston, TX and has affiliate chapters in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
I learned a lot from reading through the information on the Sisters Network website. I highly recommend that if you have the time, take a moment to read through their breast cancer facts page.
Bay Area Cancer Connections
Bay Area Cancer Connections started in 1993 and supports women battling breast and ovarian cancers in the Bay Area.
This organization offers, “a range of services including support groups, counseling, a wig and bra boutique, wellness classes, expansive medical research services, a Resource Center” and more.
They welcome monetary donations and they also need a variety of handmade items like chemo port pillows, mastectomy pillows, and knit or fleece caps.
Cancer CAREpoint “provides personalized Counseling, Assistance, Resources & Education to all Silicon Valley cancer patients, survivors, families & caregivers.”
They offer a variety of ways to get involved and often use port pillows as part of their Chemo Care bags.
If you are in the Bay Area, why not designate Cancer CAREPoint as your non-profit beneficiary for your Basementeer membership?
National Breast Cancer Foundation
The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) was, “founded to fill in the gaps of cancer care, ensuring every women has the access and information she needs to get through every step of her breast cancer journey.”
They offer a variety of programs that focus on early detection and diagnosis, providing support during and after treatment, and educational resources.
Since early detection saves lives, I want to draw attention to their National Mammography Program that provides, “grants for free breast screening and diagnostic services to those in need (low-income/uninsured/underinsured).”
The NBCF also has clear fundraising ideas and tips to help get you started in supporting their mission and goals.
Breast Cancer Resource Center
The Breast Cancer Resource Center supports women diagnosed with breast cancer in Central Texas and their mission is, “to empower those affected by breast cancer with personalized support and compassion.”
The Breast Cancer Resource Center organizes and hosts a variety of events like support circles and community-focused fundraisers.
Let’s All Be Informed And Educated About Breast Cancer
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to gain a deeper understanding about both the disease and the organizations that support breast cancer patients.
I hope that the information and support provided by one or more of these five breast cancer-focused nonprofits help you or someone you love.