This October, we have more to celebrate than unseasonably warm weather, joyful sunshine-filled days and the beauty of fall foliage. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in full swing. You've probably noticed this by the pink merchandise in the stores, pink light bulbs shining outside of homes in your community and fundraising events. Even athletes at the professional, collegiate and school-age levels are getting in on this important cause by sporting pink athletic gear.
In honor of my mother, mother-in-law and grandmother who have all battled the disease, I'm paying it forward by shedding light on how you can get your employees involved in raising awareness for this all too common disease. If you're not convinced this is worth your time to pursue, consider this: Have you, your employees or their families been impacted by breast cancer? If the answer is yes, this is a cause that is definitely worthy of your attention this month.
According to the American Cancer Society, aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. The chances of a woman developing breast cancer in her lifetime are one in eight, and there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Although women are approximately 100 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, it is also possible for men to become afflicted by it.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla
In honor of those who have lost their battles with breast cancer, and for those who are still bravely staring the disease in the face as they continue to battle it, do your part to help make a difference. You have the power to influence this cause and your employees in a positive way by getting involved in breast cancer awareness. It can be surprisingly simple to do. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Form a company sponsored team to participate in Relay for Life, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, or other breast cancer awareness events. It's a fun way to get your employees working together on something that can also improve their morale. You can begin a celebratory countdown to your event by holding meetings to recruit participants, devise fundraising strategies and train together.
2. Bring a breast cancer awareness wreath into the office and display it proudly in a visible area for customers, vendors and employees to see. Invite everyone to tie one pink ribbon onto it in honor of someone they know who has been touched by the disease.
3. Coordinate a jeans or t-shirt day for your employees. In exchange for a monetary donation to a cancer organization of your choice, let them enjoy a day of casual dress at the office.
4. Coordinate your own breast cancer awareness day at the office. Ask everyone to wear pink, buy some products for your employees to enjoy that donate money to the cause and set out a donation jar. If you walk through just about every major retail or grocery store, you'll see countless pink-labeled items for sale.
5. Have a baked goods sale at the office and encourage everyone to participate by bringing homemade or store bought pink goodies like decorated cookies, cupcakes or brownies. Donate all proceeds to a cancer research organization or treatment center in your area.
6. Encourage some friendly and fun interdepartmental competition at your organization by inviting departments to decorate their space in pink-themed decor. Of course, you can encourage their involvement by offering some fun prizes for grand-prize and runner-up winning teams. Recognize them with a picture in the company newsletter or show your customers about your commitment to helping a great cause by including it in your website photo gallery or social media communication.
Every action you take to raise awareness about this disease will make you an instrument of positive change. Take a few moments to find a way to spread a positive message of hope to your employees, customers, vendors and community members who have been or will be impacted by breast cancer. Your simple action will help to carry on the fight for a cure.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla is a Regional Director and Senior Consultant with JL Nick and Associates, Inc. She is a business communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, employment branding, professional development and executive coaching for nearly 15 years. Her leadership experience comes from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit JL Nick and Associates' website at www.jlnick.com.