October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and even if you or a loved one haven’t been directly impacted by breast cancer, it’s a cause worth engaging with.
I had my own scare after having my youngest. I’m very fortunate that everything turned out fine, but I always donate to the cause. Whether it’s donating ribbons or making regular contributions, there are a number of ways you can participate.
The first and most important thing you can do is educate yourself. Learn how to detect it, and take care of yourself by going for regular exams when the time comes. This year in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the National Breast Cancer Foundation is providing free breast health guides, which cover topics like healthy habits, assessing personal risk, signs and symptoms, early detection, and basic information about breast cancer.
The following are the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer screening guidelines for women:
- Ages 40-44: Begin annual mammograms, if you wish to start early.
- Ages 45-54: Should get mammograms every year.
- Ages 55+: Continue yearly screening or go at least every 2 years.
They also recommend becoming familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you’re better able to detect any irregular changes that occur. Of course, these recommendations will vary depending on your personal and familial medical history, so always talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.
The next step is helping to spread awareness to others. If you have a blog, write a post like this one. If you have a personal story, consider sharing it with others so they know they aren’t alone and to help them along on their own personal journey. It can be scary to share, but support is the number one thing the breast cancer community needs. Sharing personal stories also helps others who aren’t directly impacted by breast cancer to better understand and empathize. I found Meredith Israel’s story especially touching.
The social media age has really revolutionized the way organizations are able to raise both awareness and money for any given cause. The company Bake It Happen has created a brilliant platform where you find and bake a recipe from the site, then share it on social media using the proper tags and hashtags. Every time you share a photo, Bake It Happen donates money to The Cancer Couch Foundation. A pretty simple, fun, and delicious way to make a difference.
Whether you have money or time to give, organizations such as Susan G. Komen have been able to develop a myriad of truly impactful ways to help people “act, donate, and get involved.” You can participate in a Komen Race for the Cure or other nearby event, raise funds through their site, join Komen on the Go, become an advocate, or find a local affiliate where you can volunteer.
Do Your Own Fundraiser (DYOF)
If you know of another breast cancer organization that’s close to your heart or that you trust, a wonderful way to support them is by hosting your own fundraising event on their behalf in your local community.
The ideas are endless, but you know your community best — what do people like to do in your town? Is there a big golfing community? Nature or animal lovers? Here’s a wonderfully thorough list of ideas to get your wheels turning.