Breast Cancer Awareness On Full Display: Cop Cars, NFL, Md. Governor Promote Awareness

Breast cancer awareness campaigns have become common place in October, with the annual breast cancer awareness campaign turning yogurt lids pink along with a variety of other products. The growing number of Americans who automatically associate pink with breast cancer awareness and the Susan G. Komen organization – which raises funding for breast cancer research and started the annual tradition of marketing products in pink – can now count some unusual organizations.

First, look for a pink police cruiser possibly following you on city streets to not only write you a ticket for speeding, but to raise breast cancer awareness at the same time. According to the Danbury News Times, police cars across Connecticut are sporting pink to raise awareness of breast cancer. The newspaper reports that law enforcement agencies getting involved in the awareness campaign is a relatively new development.

“Though plastering pink on everything from jewelry to T-shirts to water bottles has become a time-honored tradition, the police cruiser trend is relatively new, said Stephanie Balesano, communications manager for the New England division of the American Cancer Society.

“‘I’ve noticed that this is something that’s coming along more rapidly,’ she said.”

In addition to local police in Connecticut getting in on the action, the NFL has continued its long support of breast cancer awareness by incorporating pink through the league’s organizations. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ incorporation of pink was recently noted by News 4 in the northeast Florida city. In spite of the efforts by the NFL and now local police departments, at least one breast cancer survivor in the Phoenix are – Beverly J. Price – believes the efforts by the NFL are a waste of money.

“As someone who has survived breast cancer three times, I think that if the National Football League really cared about helping eradicate breast cancer, it could find much better ways to spend that money,” she wrote in a letter to the editor of The Arizona Republic. “How about more serious research into investigating the causes of breast cancer? And how about finding treatments that are not so barbaric? Money much better spent.”

The NFL is one of many organizations to paint itself pink for breast cancer awareness each October. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)

The sentiments expressed by Price raise the question of how much money is spent by organizations in breast cancer awareness efforts. In a report by Marie Claire in 2011, the magazine reported that breast cancer awareness was a $6 billion industry, though it was unknown exactly how much of the proceeds from “pink” products actually supported organizations that directly funded either research or breast cancer screening.

The magazine went so far as to urge its readers to avoid spending money on so-called “pink” products.

“For anyone worried about where their donations are going, here’s a useful tip: Skip the pink-ribbon merchandise,” Marie Claire said. “Because no one really owns the rights to what has become the universal symbol of breast cancer (though Susan G. Komen for the Cure trademarked its own version), peddling the logo has become a massive racket, overrun by slick profiteers exploiting the public’s naive assumption that all pink purchases help the cause. Often they don’t.”

Even though organizations like the NFL have been promoting breast cancer awareness by painting its products pink, magazine Marie Claire advised its readers in 2011 to avoid organizations it alleged could be profiting from breast cancer awareness. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)

That has not stopped organizations from continuing to go pink during the month of October. Most recently, the Associated Press reported Gov. Larry Hogan – himself suffering from stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – had proclaimed October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in his home state of Maryland and with the designation, the governor’s mansion in Annapolis is now bathed in pink. The effort on the part of Gov. Hogan is similar to what President Barack Obama has done at various times at the White House to raise awareness of an issue, either breast cancer awareness or earlier this year celebrating the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling by bathing the White House in rainbow colors.

What do you think? Is it right and proper for organizations to jump on the pink band wagon? Or is pink being abused and has the focus on breast cancer awareness been lost? Join the discussion by commenting below.

[Feature image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]