Friday, February 3, 2012

Breast Cancer Support ~ Keeping It Local

When I started my business almost 3 years ago the one thing I knew for sure is that a major component of my business plan would include giving back.

I have a handful of causes that are important to me, but one that has touched my life personally is breast cancer.  Two maternal aunts were diagnosed back in the 60's when treatment options were slim and procedures drastic.  Because of that they both suffered with life-changing side effects for the rest of their lives.

My Mother ~ who miraculously was spared the disease and is still living a healthy life at age 93 ~ seeing what her sisters had gone through, volunteered to be part of a clinical trial for a drug that could help women predisposed to breast cancer.

Over the years I, too, have escaped that scary diagnosis, but I've come close a couple of times.

So obviously, breast cancer awareness and finding a cure is very important to me.  The most well-known breast cancer awareness organization, of course, has been Susan G Komen for the Cure so in 2009 that is the one I chose.

I decided that every September and October (the typical BC Awareness months across the country) I would feature a few pink Wee Ones (like Trixie above) in my Etsy shop and donate 10% of each sale to Susan G Komen for the Cure.  Once I started branching out and doing consignment with stores across the country almost all of them generously carried several of the critters in their stores ~ again with 10% of each sale (some even matched my 10%!) going to Susan G Komen for the Cure.

Months ago I started hearing some rumblings about things within the organization that seemed to go against the grain of what I thought Susan G Komen was all about.  Petty things like lawsuits against any other charitable organization adding "for the cure" to their fundraising efforts.  Really?  They have the time and the money to do that?  The money that my trusting customers paid and donated was being used for petty lawsuits to insure their organization was exclusive?  That bothered me.

So when I learned yesterday that Susan G Komen (for the Cure!) was pulling funding from Planned Parenthood - funding that enabled low-income and uninsured women life-saving exams - well, that was the last straw for me.  I disagree with the decision.  And my customers deserve better.

And although word is just coming in now that Susan G Komen for the Cure has dropped their plans to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, they aren't guaranteeing funding in the future; so for me the damage is done.  As my friend commented, maybe this whole incident was a good thing.  It encouraged people (like me) to investigate other options to give back.  And I fully admit, had this not happened, I never would have found the wonderful organization I have chosen to support.

After some thought and research, I have chosen a grass roots breast cancer organization to support.  I realize it will narrow my customer base as it is a Denver-based organization serving patients in Colorado.  But just as I believe in shopping local, in this case, I believe in giving back local.

Sense of Security supports moderate to low income patients in Colorado undergoing treatment for breast cancer. They provide financial support for day to day needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation ~ the essentials of life never more needed than when one is ill and struggling to recover. 

I feel really good about helping a small, local organization who saw a need and are doing everything they can to fill it.  I plan to contact them to see what their "color" is (Komen's was always pink) and I will be making some Wee Ones soon in the chosen color for Sense of Security.  I will list a few in my Etsy shop and I hope that my wonderful customers will join me in supporting them.  

With gratitude,

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