Volunteer to Help a Local Breast Cancer Cause
Volunteering to help a local breast cancer cause or group does more than get you together with other women and men living with breast cancer, it also helps you in your own healing process. Scientists and researchers in the mind-body connection arena recognize that looking outside oneself to help others also contributes to self-healing. Some research indicates that cancer patients do better overall with their care when they are actively involved in volunteer work for a cause. The act of volunteering makes a person feel good and gives her energy, which contributes to improved perceptions of health. The camaraderie of being with other breast cancer survivors, family and friends, and those who have lost their loved ones to breast cancer, bonds a group of people. Doing something positive in the midst of breast cancer treatment or recovery brings an inner feeling of peace and strengthens one's spirit of hope. Whether you take part in a breast cancer walk, a fund-raising event that you can participate in — like a wine-tasting or jewelry party where the proceeds benefit breast cancer — or some other event, you will not only be giving to an important cause, but also lightening your spirit. It will be one of those priceless moments in your recovery.
Start Your Own Fundraising Event
If you are so moved, you could even start your own fundraising event to help support the breast center where you received your treatment. In the process of receiving your own breast cancer treatment, you may have identified an area of need; for example, a lack of resource books in the chemotherapy room or a support group for children of breast cancer patients. This is more of a grass-roots effort, and some important things to consider if you are thinking of starting your own fundraising project include:
Contact your local breast cancer center or hospital with your idea.
Get people on board who have fundraising and marketing experience.
Recruit family, friends, breast cancer survivors, and other volunteers who will want to join your cause.
Form a grass-roots steering committee.
Write a proposal for what you want to accomplish and how, including a time frame and budget for your project. Remember, this does not have to be a professional proposal but it will act as your strategy and help you to plan with specific objectives in mind. Also, it will help in soliciting local sponsors when they see that it is well-thought-out and you mean business.)
Solicit local sponsors for start-up money (remember that support can also be in the form of in-kind support such as agreeing to print and supply brochures for a walk, golf tournament, or other fundraiser you are planning).
You may want to join forces with a distributor of a product line, such as food products or jewelry, and give your percentage of the profits as well as the company's to your breast cancer initiative.
Fundraising for an Established Charity
There are many fun ways to give back to others and organizations who have supported you during your breast cancer treatment. Some ideas to consider are:
Throw a pasta party and charge admission. You can just ask for a donation without a set price and you will be surprised at your friends' and family's generosity.
Inquire if your local theater group will donate a percentage of admission to your breast cancer cause and get all your friends and family involved to attend and help spread the word to others.
Get your club to do a fundraising event: If you are a biker, do a motorcycle ride for the cure and solicit sponsors, or if you belong to a knitting club or jewelry-making group sell your wares at a local store willing to display your product.
There are so many ways in which you can help make the road a little easier for other women with breast cancer and their families. Recognize that everyone is different and you should only volunteer when you feel emotionally ready and/or you are at a point in your breast cancer journey that you want to reach out to others and take that risk.
If there is no local effort that you would like to volunteer for, you can join one of the many national organizations that exist in support of breast cancer causes. For a complete list you can go to:
National organizations tend to be bigger and reach out across geographical areas. For example the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which started locally, now has many locations that do fundraisers for breast cancer research. Their major fundraiser is a road race called “Race for the Cure.”
Another big fundraiser is the two-day Avon Walk. It is more time-intensive and requires that a walker raise money to be eligible to participate. The Avon Foundation provides grants to local, regional, and national breast cancer organizations to support five key areas: awareness and education, screening and diagnosis; access to support services, and scientific research. The American Cancer Society also has a breast cancer walk in many areas called “Making Strides against Breast Cancer.”
It is important to research the organization that you would like to join to make sure that you agree with its mission and what the money is targeted for. There are special interest organizations that may interest you, such as the Young Survival Coalition, which involves a group of survivors that focus on the issues that young women with breast cancer encounter. Some organizations focus on environmental issues and support research and education of the effect of environmental factors on breast cancer.
A good place to start is to find out what is being done in your area, take into account your personal interests and passion, and get involved.