You can keep up the fight against breast cancer every day of the year. Even if you're not doing research for the cure, or working in oncology, there are many ways you can work to make life better for those in the fight. Here are some ways to get started!
Hands-On Help for Breast Cancer WarriorsThe American Cancer Society has several programs that put volunteers to work. Contact your local chapter to see what services might need your help.
Reach to Recovery
For 35 years, Reach to Recovery has enlisted the help of breast cancer survivors to offer support, information, and resources to newly-diagnosed patients. Volunteers will be trained to give emotional support to patients and their families, and to give current information about treatments, coping, and recovery. Support may be given over the phone, and during a home or hospital visit. Survivors are very effective in this effort, because they can give a living example of recovery.
Road to Recovery
If you can drive, then you can work with Road to Recovery to help a breast cancer patient. Many patients are in need of transportation to and from their treatments, and having a trained driver takes a load of anxiety and stress away from someone who really needs a ride. Patients who are weak or nauseous should not be driving -- so a caring driver with a flexible schedule can provide a great service. Elderly patients really appreciate the service, as do their family members who are working during clinic hours.
Look Good - Feel Better
Perhaps you work in a hair or nail salon and you want to help breast cancer patients. This program needs volunteer cosmetologists who can teach women how to deal with hair loss, as well as take care of skin and nails during treatment. Patients at all stages of treatment who attend these programs learn how to improve their appearance and boost their self-esteem. Donated cosmetic products are provided for the session and samples are given to each participant. Training and certification is provided for volunteers.
Join The Race For FundsHere are just a few of the fund-raising events you can join. Volunteers and survivors alike unite to raise funds for support and research.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
You don't have to be a triathlete or even a routine jogger to participate in this race. Making Strides is a non-competitive walk that raises funds for breast cancer research, support, education, awareness and legislation. Participate as an individual or as a team, raise money through grass-roots efforts or with matching grants.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
More than just pink lipstick and blusher, Avon holds their two-day weekend walk events all around America from April through October. Every participant must reach the individual fundraising minimum of at least $1,800, but people are encouraged to form teams, to make the effort easier. Volunteers will receive training for the walk as well as support for fundraising.
Komen Foundation Breast Cancer 3-Day Events
Are you up for a Three-Day Event? Can you walk 60 miles over the course of three days and camp out overnight? Then you're ready to help raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. Each 2008 volunteer must raise a minimum of $2,200 in order to participate. If you want to help, but don't walk to walk 60 miles, you can serve as a crew member or a one-day volunteer.
Advocate and EducateSurvivors can make their experience with breast cancer translate into a benefit for others. Train to offer support and encouragement to women who are newly diagnosed.
Been There, Done That - Peer Counseling
Breast cancer survivors and caregivers can volunteer to offer support to patients and family members who are having a similar diagnosis or treatment experience. You can give support in person, over the phone, or online, after you have completed a training program, received certification, and made a commitment to the service program. Y-Me Breast Cancer Support (formerly Breast Cancer Network of Strength) is a good example of this kind of peer-matched support.
Facilitate a Breast Cancer Support Group
If you attended a support group during and after treatment, then you know the value of such a network. Turn your experience into a way to return the favor - volunteer to facilitate a support group for newly-diagnosed patients - and let your life encourage others in the fight.
Speak Up! Become a Breast Health Educator
Do you enjoy speaking to groups? Are you good at explaining things? Then you might like to consider becoming a breast health educator. Breast cancer survivors can be trained as guest speakers and workshop facilitators - spreading the word and teaching more people about the disease and treatments. Volunteers will be trained to work in their communities.
Donate - Skills, Goods, FundsSurvivors and supporters can help provide services and assistance for men and women who are currently in treatment or recovery.
Office Skills Benefit Local Support Organizations
If you can type, keep financial records, stuff envelopes, or make phone calls, your local breast cancer support groups can use your help. Many breast cancer resource centers rely on volunteer staff, and it's a good way to give back to an organization that may have helped you or a friend through a rough time.
Recycle Your Gently Used Wigs
Donate your gently used wigs to the American Cancer Society - they will give these out to women who can't afford to buy wigs. Give your wigs and accessories (wig stand, shampoo, brushes) to your local breast cancer support group - these can be given to women who are in immediate need. Or, sell your wigs online, and donate the money to a breast cancer support organization.
5 Top-Rated Pink Ribbon Charities
Monetary donations are always appreciated, but where will your money do the most work? Not every non-profit breast cancer charity spends most of your donation on patients or research - sometimes the bulk of their funds goes to administrative or fund-raising expenses. Here are five top-rated breast cancer charities that always spend more than half of every dollar on support, research or patient education.