There are people however, for whom awareness of breast cancer is a 12-month-long commitment. These are the men and women who help raise money for research, who treat the ailing, who assist patients who are fighting the disease and who help educate women about early detection and treatment.
For the past three years, The Early Show has done a special series, Pink for a Week, that puts the spotlight on the organizations and the individuals who wage this battle on a daily basis. We also use Pink for a Week as an opportunity to thank the many companies, large and small, that donate money and create pink-themed products that benefit the charities.
Every day this week, we're going to showcase a charity, as well as display some of the great pink products.
TrulyMom.com was founded after Michelle Nicastro was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her illness, which put her (temporarily) into a wheelchair, her friends Kim Arial and Maria Newton got together with Kristen Nicastro, Michelle's sister, to give her support and love. "They stood by me through my treatment and rejoiced with me when I started walking again," says Michelle. "During that time, they too were going through their own life struggles -- at some point I guess every mom does."
Determined to turn lemons into lemonade, the four tried to focus on what was meaningful in their lives. "When I was incapacitated, it wasn't my career or the paycheck that I missed," explains Michelle. "I longed for the simple things in life, packing my kid's lunches and picking them up from school." And one thing that kept sticking in their minds was how precious time is and how they wished they could get really organized.
According to their website, "From that revelation, the four moms created a smart and stylish tri-fold planner. Instead of the traditional binder-book planner, complete with dizzying conversion charts to the medical history of your Aunt Gladys, they simply included what they felt moms truly needed." Now their TrulyMom day planners are sold all over the country.
They are donating 10 percent of their retail sales for the rest of the year to the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, the fundraising arm of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Friday: The Komen Race for the Cure series gives patients, survivors and the family and friends of breast cancer patients a chance to come together to honor and memorialize their loved ones. The walk/run events also raise a significant amount of money that is given over to research as well as to community initiatives that fund breast cancer screening and treatment projects.
The first Race for the Cure was held in Dallas in 1983 and was organized by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan Komen, who died of breast cancer when she was just 36 years old. More than 1 million people have participated in Komen for the Cure events since 2005.
According to the charity, "A minimum of 25 percent of the net income from each domestic Affiliate Race supports the Komen for the Cure Awards and Research Grant Programs, which fund ground-breaking breast cancer research, meritorious awards and educational and scientific conferences around the world." Up to 75 percent of the net income from each race "stays in the local community," they say on their website.
New Balance Athletic Shoes, Inc. has been associated with the Komen Race for the Cure since 1989. They have an entire line of footwear, sports wear and accessories that feature a pink ribbon, one of the symbols used for breast cancer awareness.
The company says they will donate 15 percent of wholesale sales (before mark-up) from the "Lace Up for the Cure Apparel & Footwear Collection" -- with a guaranteed minimum donation of $500,000 up to a maximum of $1 million -- to Komen for the Cure. This effort lasts year-round.
Today on the Plaza, New Balance showed off their pretty pink shoes and clothes, and let Early Show visitors take home some of the jackets, shorts, capris, t-shirts, bags and sneakers. The "Lace Up for the Cure" collection can be seen here.
Thursday: The Entertainment Industry Foundation's Women's Cancer Research Fund raises awareness about the importance of early detection of breast and reproductive cancers, provides funds to advance some of the most promising research on treatment and early detection methods, and supporting community programs that assist the millions of women at risk of or affected by cancer.
In honor of breast cancer awareness month, you can donate directly to EIF, or through any one of their products and initiatives.
The shopping site Red Envelope will donate 10 percent of its retail sales of anything from the Think Pink collection for the month of October. Think Pink is featured on the site's homepage.
On the plaza today, Red Envelope gave Early Show guests some items from the Think Pink collection: a heart-shaped bottle stopper; a necklace with charms that say "Live," "Love" and "Laugh"; and a leather jewelry portfolio. One lucky plaza visitor even got a matching set of rose quartz earrings and a necklace.
Wednesday: Women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis are sometimes overwhelmed with an avalanche of information and advice. The purpose of breastcancer.org is to provide them with the most reliable, complete and up-to-date information. Their stated mission is "to help women and their loved ones make sense of the complex medical and personal information about breast cancer so they can make the best decisions for their lives."
On the plaza today, visitors to The Early Show were treated to products from the sleepwear company Sleepyheads (www.sleepyheads.com), including their Frankie & Johnny pajamas, robes, loungers and cosmetic bags. According to the company, they will donate 25 percent of the proceeds from retail sales of the products from their Shop Pink collection for the month of October to breastcancer.org. There is a link to the Shop Pink collection on their homepage.
Tuesday: The mission of Susan G. Komen For The Cure is to "end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures." The group, which sponsors activities and sells "pink" products, makes more than $58 million a year, money that is used to fund research and outreach programs for patients.
This year, they've taken one of their lovely tote bags and filled it to the brim with "pink" gift items and have distributed them to our Early Show guests in the plaza.
Inside the bags, they'll find:
A prominent supporter of the Komen group is KitchenAid, which has created a line of pink housewares; for more information, go to www.cookforthecure.com.
Monday: The mission of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is to "achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and genetic research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health."
To provide some of that critical funding, they've put together a shopping site, Shop Pink, where everything from a pink leather luggage tag to a pink designer scarf to a pink Sony Vaio computer may be purchased. Shop early, shop often!
One company that has shown true generosity to BCRF is Polaroid, which has developed a line of pink digital cameras as part of their "Picture A World Without Breast Cancer" project. The company has also donated $150,000 to BCRF.
From now until Dec. 31, visitors to their site are invited to submit photos and stories of their experiences with breast cancer and, as the company says, "how they picture their world free of breast cancer." All of the photos will be incorporated into a collage banner which will be unveiled in New York on Valentine's Day 2008. One person a week will be highlighted on their homepage and receive a free pink camera.
Also today, the Hard Rock Cafe, in partnership with singer Melissa Etheridge, is distributing a special limited-edition pin to the folks on our plaza. The pin, which is being sold at Hard Rock Cafes all over the world, marks the launch of Rocktober, a month-long committment to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. One hundred percent of the proceeds are going to breast cancer research organizations.
To watch the video of this segment,