October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a great time for people to get involved in the cause, if they haven’t already.
Kathy Purcell, executive director of Komen Pittsburgh, says the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization and its affiliates, including the Pittsburgh branch, will encourage women to make an appointment for a mammogram in October, during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The national organization is also calling it action month, along with awareness month,” Purcell says. “We’ve done a lot of work in terms of making people aware that early screening and early detection is really the key to survival in this disease.”
Purcell says that Komen Pittsburgh does a lot of things to promote breast cancer awareness.
“What we really stand for is awareness,” Purcell says.
Purcell says that Komen Pittsburgh gives out a lot of breast cancer facts and awareness information at its events.
“It’s a way to get our information out to remind women to get mammograms and remind women to live healthy lifestyles,” Purcell says.
She says that Komen’s most well-known event is probably the Race for the Cure series. Komen Pittsburgh holds the race on Mother’s Day each year.
Komen Pittsburgh also holds a number of additional events throughout the year, such as a Paws for the Cure dog walk and an annual luncheon to recognize breast cancer survivors.
Purcell says that Komen Pittsburgh also gives out grants to other organizations to support breast cancer awareness education.
Volunteers Help to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness
Purcell says that volunteers play a great role in supporting Komen Pittsburgh.
“We rely on volunteers all of the time,” Purcell says.
She says volunteers help out with office work, health and women’s fairs, and all of the other events hosted by the organization.
Purcell says that many of the volunteers are breast cancer survivors, but others have simply had their lives touched by breast cancer in one way or another.
“Sometimes people want to give up their time, talent, or funds,” Purcell says. “We’re really open to all of those things.”
Purcell says that signing up to participate in events such as the Race for the Cure is a way of supporting the organization.
She says Komen Pittsburgh also has a lot of third-party events that go on, which are fundraisers that the organization doesn’t host themselves. Many fundraisers commonly are held by high school and college students.
“It can be as simple as people having a dinner party, and asking for donations, or putting on very large events and the proceeds come to us,” Purcell says. “What people do in the community to raise funds for us is always amazing to me.”
Fans of the New Kids on the Block Unite For the Cure
Fans of the New Kids on the Block have joined together to support breast cancer awareness in honor of group member Danny Wood’s late mother.
When his mother, Betty, passed away from breast cancer, Wood wanted to do something to help fight against the disease, says Abby Vicknair, site administrator of Remember Betty.
“He started the Betty Wood Breast Cancer Foundation, which was eventually rolled into The Susan G. Komen Foundation,” Vicknair says. “Three years ago when the New Kids on the Block reunited, Danny wanted to use their newfound spotlight to bring more attention to the fight against breast cancer. Thanks to the Blockheads (New Kids on the Block fans), Remember Betty took on a new life and has continued to grow.”
Remember Betty supporters have formed different branches of “Team Betty” to raise money for the cause and promote breast cancer awareness throughout the world.
Each branch of “Team Betty” holds its own fundraisers, with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen foundation, through its local Race for the Cure, Vicknair says.
“Fundraisers can be yard sales, bake sales, bowling events, dine-to-donate events, cut-a-thons, etc,” Vicknair says. “The list is really endless.”
“Team Betty” fundraisers are also tied to some of the New Kids on the Block events.
“The Canadian ‘Team Betty’ girls held a charity luncheon before the final NKOTBSB show in London, Ontario, Canada,” Vicknair says. “The Spanish Blockheads hold a dance-a-thon in the spring. Fans in the UK and Netherlands are working on fundraisers right now.”
Wood also sponsored a larger fundraiser of his own this year, Vicknair says.
“Danny raffled off his custom painted Harley Davidson,” Vicknair says. “It was on display during the NKOTBSB tour. The raffle also included two tickets to the NKOTBSB show in Long Island, NY, round trip airfare, and hotel.”
Vicknair says that Remember Betty has raised more than $660,000 for Komen over the past three years.
“For 2011, we have raised $182,000 and we still have 50 plus teams left to walk [in the Race for the Cure],” Vicknair says.
Promote Breast Cancer Awareness with Team Betty
Anyone interested in joining an existing “Team Betty” or starting their own can visit the events section of the site, which lists all of the Race for the Cure dates and team fundraisers, Vicknair says.
“They can form a 5K or 3 Day team, join an existing team, or find a fundraiser in their area,” Vicknair says.
Vicknair says Remember Betty also has a newsletter that people can sign up for to stay informed of the latest fundraisers, and teams that need more members.
“To donate money, please visit the events section of Remember Betty, find a ‘Team Betty’ and donate to their Race for the Cure,” Vicknair says. “You can also visit the donate section of Remember Betty and donate directly to the Remember Betty page hosted by Komen.”
Author: Laura Jerpi