Most people have good intentions when Pink October rolls around. They truly want to do something to help cure breast cancer. However, what most people don’t know is that buying pink ribbons or reposting Facebook games doesn’t really help anybody. The truth is, thanks to efforts made over the last 40 years, pretty much every American above the age of 6 is likely already aware of breast cancer. 

There are plenty of ways you can help people living with breast cancer (as well as help those working on a cure). Here are ways you can get involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

1. Wear pink. A pink ribbon is an international symbol for breast cancer. Wearing a pink ribbon – or pink clothes – is an easy way to show your support for those who are fighting breast cancer. Pick out your favorite pink outfit and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Be creative in “thinking pink” this October.

2. Volunteer. There are numerous local and national volunteer organizations that raise awareness for breast cancer. Many people volunteer for the American Cancer Society (ACS), a nationwide voluntary health organization committed to eliminating cancer. 

3. Help a cancer patient. There are numerous ways you can help a loved one who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. You can help organize meal deliveries, rides, and other tasks to assist your loved one. You can help bring together the patient’s family, friends, and coworkers by helping support your loved one through an online social network and planner. 

Did you know you can make a difference in a cancer patient’s life without even ever speaking to them? In every town, there are community oncologists who will accept donations of blankets, hats, or scarves. Due to privacy issues, you may not be able to actually talk to them, but you can talk to the staff at the front desk and ask if they are willing to accept items.

There are many patients getting chemo who have nobody to drive them. You can leave flyers offering to do so, or post on community bulletin boards that you’re willing to help. You could also call a social worker to find out where the need is greatest.

4. Share facts and statistics. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. and the American Cancer Society both offer outstanding resources to learn more about breast cancer. 

5. Educate yourself and others about cancer screenings. Many women never expected to receive a breast cancer diagnosis until it happened to them. Knowing the risks of developing breast cancer can help in early detection, which makes cancer more treatable. 

Spread awareness of breast cancer by telling your female friends and family to get mammograms and educating them on how to check breasts for abnormalities. You can lead by example. Many clinics offer free mammograms in October. Schedule your mammogram, and hopefully, your friends and family will follow your lead. 

6. Donate/Create research initiatives. Research initiatives are vital in the quest to find a cure for breast cancer. They can also help us discover more effective prevention methods and treatment options. People throughout the country have raised money in their community – from hosting raffles to art and sporting events. 

Having a car wash, lemonade stand, bake sale, yard sale, or another DIY event with the proceeds going to a breast cancer charity is a fantastic way to support a good cause.

7. Participate in a run or a walk. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the largest and most successful breast cancer fundraising and education organization in the world. The organization runs the Komen Race for the Cure, a series of 5K runs and walks around the country. The organization also has the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a 60-mile, 3-day event. Proceeds from these events fund breast cancer research. 

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