First, some facts about breast cancer, straight from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
+ Breast Cancer affects one in eight women.
+ Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
+ It is the second leading cause of death among women.
+ It is estimated that each year, over 220,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
+ Men can (and do) get breast cancer. It is estimated that 2, 150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die each year.
+ Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1990, in part due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.
What is it?
Not Just October is a non-profit program created in August 2014 to raise awareness for breast cancer all year 'round, not just in October. Breast cancer affects thousands of people on a daily basis, and Lavar, founder of this organization, wanted to spread awareness in fresh, new, fun ways. He's thinking outside the box. His plan is to spread awareness through events and merchandise through pop culture and to help families financially. Additionally, Not Just October will be aiming to help fund research for finding a cure.
Lavar's history with breast cancer is an emotional one. He lost his mother to breast cancer in 2009 and has been walking and attending events for awareness ever since. However, she fought and won initially! She underwent chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation, resulting in remission. Sadly though, the cancer returned just a year later, much more aggressively, and ultimately spread to her brain and caused her passing. His non-profit is just one more step to help other families, as he knows how hard it can be firsthand. He admits to not being as informed and/or aware about the disease and doesn't want other families to go through the same struggle.
"When a person passes away, they are mourned by friends and family for a short amount of time and unfortunately the memories sometimes fade away. My bands give us the opportunity to remember the strength of the person who battled cancer and spread it across the world. Survivors and family members of women who've passed away donate fabric which we sew to the band and mail around the world. Their strength lives on! Each band comes with a small card that has some facts about the person whose fabric was donated." [so cool!]
So join us in raising awareness of this awful disease. Know the signs and symptoms. Get screenings. Be proactive and don't wait until it's too late. Also, you should enter to win one of the awesome chance bands and a few gift cards as part of being aware. And, don't forget, fight like a girl!
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