Zeta Tau Alpha at the Chicago Bears game last Sunday, where we passed out pink ribbons on safety pins that said “Think Pink”
By Guest Bag Lady Emily Mitchell
Women of all ages and stages are coming together this month to celebrate breast cancer survival and to raise awareness about preventative treatments and charities.
Last October, as I people-watched from my nose-bleed seat at a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game, I spotted a row of men not far from mine wearing “Save The Ta-Tas” tee shirts. My first reaction: “Seriously, guys? Nice.” But as I looked around the stadium, I noticed my section wasn’t the only one filled with sports fans in light pink shirts, hats, and ribbons. I just happened to have landed in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness night.
Founded by Julia Fikse – a fashion designer-turned philanthropist, who watched two family members battle the disease, which included undergoing double mastectomies – the “Save the Ta-Tas” clothing line became the non-profit organization Save the Ta-Ta’s Foundation in 2008, and has since donated $339,000 and counting. The slogan “Put some fun in the fight” summarizes the brand’s positive outlook.
Major League Baseball isn’t the only sport cheering for the Ta-Tas. The National Football League is also a supporter of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and has partnered with the American Cancer Society to bring awareness and attention to the cause. All teams, coaches, and end zones will be sporting the pink ribbon.
Other nationwide organizations are also doing their part, including the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. Don’t let the name confuse you: this fraternity is actually comprised of women who have dedicated their philanthropy work toward breast cancer awareness since 1992 with the “Think Pink” campaign. The campaign holds partnerships with many foundations, including Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Yoplait Yogurt’s Save Lids to Save Lives, The National Football League, and SELF Magazine. This year, ZTA members will be passing out pink ribbons at 22 NFL stadiums, and will continue to sponsor 5K Race for the Cure events.
But back to those “Save the Ta-Tas” shirts. Humor has become a zephyr to shift awareness out to different age groups and demographics, and among various social dynamics. The phrase “laughter heals” rings true for this disease that affects so many beyond the individual woman battling breast cancer. Communal strength, endurance and a positive outlook can go a long way to help women feel empowered to fight as hard as they can on the long road to overcome the disease. Humor has helped to lessen the stigma of breast cancer, and has also led women to become more outspoken, less shy, and more vigilant about managing their personal health. So much so, that the painful and scary breast exam has now become a social group event.
If this doesn’t throw awkward out the window, I don’t know what does: Checkyourboobies.org is another non-profit organization “dedicated to the prevention and early detection of breast cancer,” and it has made breast exams its top priority. Its goal is to help women take control of their breast health in a “frank, fun, and fear-free manner.” The site offers guidance on how to do a self-exam, and how to host a free party for friends, where a trained Check Your Boobies breast health educator will come to discuss how to perform self exams and where to seek out screening methods like mammograms and yearly clinical exams. A breast cancer survivor is also available to speak about her experience, leaving no question unanswered, and reaffirming the importance of early detection.
According to the National Cancer Institute, 1 out of 7 women in America will encounter breast cancer in her lifetime. This month, support those battling the disease and prevent the spread of fear by wearing a funny t-shirt, a pink ribbon, hosting an awareness party, or planning an initiative that holds personal meaning.
If you need a nudge, check out these chartiable resources:
5% of sales from all “Save the Ta-Tas” merchandise is donated to Save the Tatas Foundation: www.Savethetatas.com, 1-877-my-tatas.
Host a breast health and screening party for free: www.checkyourboobies.org
Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity and the “Think Pink“ campaign: http://www.zetataualpha.org/cms400min/
For more information on the NFL and Breast Cancer Awareness: http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80b4eda7&template=without-video&confirm=true
Save those Yoplait Yogurt lids: http://www.yoplait.com/slsl/
For quick stats on breast cancer and information, visit the National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Detection/probability-breast-cancer
Support the Avon Foundation for Women in partnership with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation in the movement toward expanded scientific research: http://www.armyofwomen.org/