Breast Cancer Awareness Month means more than just a bunch of pink ribbons, pink shoes, and pink buckets of KFC (that’s a real thing). In October, dozens of companies don pink — the official color for breast cancer awareness — in a show of solidarity to end one of the most serious cancer killers for women.
There are funny campaigns (see: Your Man Reminder), serious campaigns (see: Avon), and some companies just trying to cash-in on the sudden cache of “going pink”.
So how to know which campaigns are duds and which are the real deal? Never fear, Greatist has sourced eight of the very best social good campaigns supporting breast cancer awareness month in October. The best thing? Almost all of our picks don’t just stop in October but help fight breast cancer throughout the year. Check out the list for a bunch of hot dudes, some pro sports teams, and even a digital “brain” designed by a teenager, all with one goal: stopping breast cancer in its tracks.
Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns
One of the best ways to catch breast cancer is to remember to perform regular self-exams. It doesn’t hurt when the person doing the reminding is a super-ripped hot guy with a heart of gold. That’s the thought behind Your Man Reminder, a free iPhone app made by Rething Breast Cancer to encourage women to check themselves with a little bit of humor (and body oil). The app enlists a series of hot dudes (from rugged jokes to sensitive artsy types) who pop up to provide information and reminders. The app itself comes loaded with legit information on how to spot irregularities and where to get checked. It’s a smart combination of good-natured humor and legit resources.
2. Susan G. Komen for the Cure Goes High-Tech
Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been fighting breast cancer for years, but it recently adopted some fancy, high-tech RFID chips to help inspire its community. The organization raises money through a variety of fundraisers, including a series of local and national walks for the cure. Now, users can strap a small radio frequency identification (RFID) chip to their shoe. That sounds complicated, but it basically (very basically) works like a bluetooth device loaded with well wishes from family and friends. When near special stations, the chips will broadcast those messages on screens and speakers giving encouragement to the walkers. The chips were used during Susan G. Komen’s three-day Walk for the Cure, helping participants finish the walk with a smile.
Dick’s Sporting Goods has already proven itself as one of the top 20 Sports Equipment Companies That Do Good, but it’s pulling out the stops for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During October, it will donate $250,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and is selling a variety of pink-themed items including traditionally “macho” accessories such as cleats, sweat bands, and more.
This cosmetics company may be better known for it’s lipstick and blushes, but the Avon Foundation for Women — the company’s charitable wing — has a long history of raising money and awareness to fight breast cancer. This year, the foundation is asking its community to show support for the cause by adding a little pink to their Facebook profiles. Logging in on the Foundation’s site, Pink Yourself, will let users add a stylized ribbon, pink tint, or other detail to show their solidarity. It’s a small gesture but one that reflects on the foundation’s history of good work.
Sports Authority, a fellow sports equipment social do-gooder, is joining the cause as well with special pink products and a dedicated store-front for all things breast cancer awareness. Where Dick’s focuses on the money, however, Sports Authority’s breast cancer homepage has loads of information including research, studies, and practical tips for staying healthy and preventing breast cancer.
6. A “Digital Brain” That Detects Breast Cancer
Sound like science fiction? Well good, because this one is f-ing nuts. The “digital brain” is actually a complex, cloud-based platform that can predict if a mass will be malignant or benign. Minimally invasive breast tissue biopsies (conducted with a small needle) are common, but can also be inconclusive. What if a computer program could take hundreds, thousands, or millions of those tests and scan the results for similarities? That’s exactly what the program does, allowing those minimally invasive tests to have an accuracy above 98 percent. The project won top prize at the Google Science Fair. Oh yeah, and it was designed by a 17-year-old.
7. Nike, Wilson, and Apparel Companies
Dick’s and Sports Authority wouldn’t have much to sell if apparel companies didn’t also believe in ending breast cancer. Nike, Wilson, and a variety of other apparel companies (Columbia, Under Armor, North Face etc.) have created special products with pink details. A percentage of the sales from pink items will go to support breast cancer research or be donated to non-profit organizations fighting the good fight. These companies have been accused of “pink-washing” in the past, but they’re undeniably reaching an audience that might not otherwise get involved in the cause.
Professional sports are typically the domain of men, but even the macho-est of macho men have gone pink to help support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The NFL has launched a bunch of campaigns including “A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Lives” which reminds women over 40 to get screened, and special pink gear used in-game including footballs with a pink ribbon, pink coins at the toss, pink gear for the ref and players, and even pink padding on the goal posts. It’s not just for a show, as last year the campaign reached more than 150 million viewers and more than $3 million raised overall.
What campaigns for Breast Cancer Awareness Month have impressed you? Let us know in the comments below or tweet Zack at @zsniderman.
Ribbon Pin Photo by recompose