Behind the pink label: Businesses and breast cancer awareness

Jenna DeNight, Life Editor

Over the past few decades, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing black and orange everywhere they turn come October 1. In just the last few years, pink was added to the mix, not in celebration of Halloween, but breast cancer awareness.

It seems that everything has added a pink label on it in support of the cause. Considering these are everyday items, consumers typically purchase the goods with the pink label, benefitting the cause and steering in a huge profit for the benefactor.

“For cheerleading, we bought pink bows to wear during the month of October,” sophomore Adriana Garcia said. “We wear our uniform a lot so it’s a nice way to raise awareness and support a good cause.”

Unfortunately, not all of the people heading charitable organizations mean well. It is easy for scammers to claim that a product will benefit a cause. But how can the consumer really know where the money ends up? It’s hard to trace and, in reality, most or all of the proceeds end up in the business’s pockets, not benefiting any cancer patients.

“I feel safe with the organizations I participate in due to their reputation,” senior Josh Paikowsky said. “The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is an event known nationwide, where the South Florida community comes together to raise awareness and fight for a cure. I will continue to participate in these wonderful events for days to come.”

Even seemingly large organizations can be false. In 2001, the Coalition Against Breast Cancer had asked for contributions to help subsidize the medical expenses of local breast cancer survivors. Upon investigation, it was revealed that breast cancer patients did not see a dime of CABC’s one million dollar earnings.

Despite public opinion, scammers are quite common in the nonprofit industries. Deception has played a huge role as these profiteers have exploited the naïve assumption that all ‘pink purchases’ help the cause. Nonprofits aren’t typically identified as ‘goldmines’ yet in 2009 the founder of the Breast Cancer Society based in Mesa, Arizona took in $223,276 for himself.

In addition to the scammers, plenty of charities are run by good-natured, but nonetheless inexperienced, individuals that have been affected by breast cancer. These organizations often spend too much of their funds trying to promote events, leaving little to no profits to benefit the cause.

For those seriously interested in helping to support the cause, skip the pink merchandise. Instead, donate to well-regarded breast cancer organizations such as Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The John Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.