Breast cancer fundraisers: Think before you buy pink

Fresno BeeOctober 14, 2011 

Pink products are everywhere this month: pink bracelets, pink blenders, pink cocktails, even pink on Cheerios boxes.

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that means a proliferation of pink.

But for many it's also a time to exercise caution.

Just because an item is pink or has a pink ribbon on it doesn't always mean a portion of the sales goes to a breast cancer organization, said Kim Irish, a program manager for San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action.

The group runs a Think Before You Pink campaign that calls for honesty from companies about pink promotions and encourages shoppers to ask about the pink products they buy.

"Because there's no regulation of pink ribbons, the burden does fall quite a bit on consumers to make educated choices," Irish said.

No one is denouncing the money the pink products raise. Corporate partnerships with Susan G. Komen for the Cure raise $50 million a year nationally. And there's a strong market among breast cancer survivors and supporters.

But people should ask questions before buying, said Sharon Johnson, executive director of the Central Valley affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the most prominent breast cancer fundraiser in the Fresno area. Find out how much of the purchase is donated and what organization it goes to, she said. And be aware that a far greater percentage of donations stay in the community when the money is raised through local events such as the Race for the Cure, she said.

"Don't be duped by pink products that don't have any information about what the cause is," she said. "Unless they have a name specifically, I would be very, very wary of purchasing an article like that."

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