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Friday, September 26, 2008

Launch of Shop for the Cure

Breast cancer visits 1 in 9 women in their lifetime. Staggering statistics, especially if you stop and count how many women you know in your personal circle. Why do we develop breast cancer? There is no mystery about this. It is because we have breasts. It doesn't matter what lifestyle you live, or how well you take care of your body. The reality is that our bodies sometimes change and they learn to make cancer cells. If there is breast cancer in your family, you stand a higher risk of developing the disease. Men can develop breast cancer as well. As I said...it is because we have breasts and this is just one area of our bodies that can be targeted.

That is not a cavalier attitude...that is a reality. There is nothing whatsoever cavalier about breast cancer or about maintaining your health. Early detection of breast cancer is the key to beating it, to staying on top of it and to the best odds of survival.

My name is Sherry Smyth and I am a three year (and counting) breast cancer survivor. Part of my journey is in giving back -- for the care and treatment that I received. I would love to think that there is a cure for breast cancer or that we will discover it in my lifetime. My main focus is research, treatment options and care. With that in mind, Shop for the Cure will be offering items for anyone, not just a breast cancer survivor, until the end of October. All proceeds from the purchase of items as Shop for the Cure will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Please shop and be part of the future; a future without breast cancer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness ~ Shop for the Cure

As a breast cancer survivor/thriver, the month of October is particularly significant for me. Not because I believe that the world needs to turn "pink" and that we need to spend vast amounts of money on anything that carries a breast cancer symbol ~ I am passionate about October because of awareness. It is the reminder to women everywhere of every age -- do those monthly breast self exams...even if you have reached menopause! And have a regularly scheduled annual mammogram. BSE is not always accurate and mammograms can be misleading. Both together are the tools for early detection.

A monthly breast exam for a woman who is still menstruating should be done on the first day that her period stops. For a woman who has reached menopause, making it a regular habit to do a BSE on the 1st of each month is the best and easiest way to remember to do this.

Feeling your breasts allows you to know what they feel like so that you are familiar and aware of any changes or suspicious lumps. Keep in mind that 90% of lumps are benign cysts but you cannot just assume that that is the case if you feel one.

By the time you can feel a lump in a bse it is already close to 5 cms. in size. That is the size of a walnut. Mammograms catch these things that our fingers cannot feel. And with new technology, ultrasound is becoming the wave of the future for detection.

1 in 9 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. We all know someone who has been touched by this disease.

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I don't believe in selling product after product in order to promote breast cancer awareness -- certainly not from a corporate point of view. The dollar amount from sales that is actually contributed to breast cancer funding is quite often paltry and even when it is impressive, not all of those dollars go where you think they are going. You might feel quite proud of yourself for buying a bag of M&Ms and that you have done your part. Admirable yes. Misleading? Absolutely. A very small amount is donated to breast cancer funding and then there are the administrative costs that are eaten up by the donation so the actual amount of money that goes towards research is small.

I've done the walks and runs to raise money for research and there is still a middle man involved. The exercise is wonderful but giving me money for walking or running doesn't sit right with me. Therefore, this year I decided to launch Shop for the Cure as my way of giving something tangible back.

The idea behind this endeavour is to have specific items in my etsy shop earmarked for Shop for the Cure, items that speak about hope, faith, inspiration, spirit and items that can be used by anyone, not just those affected by breast cancer. All proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation -- no middle man.

Other etsy shops will be participating, friends who would like to support this cause and help with this endeavour. The official launch will be September 26th.

If you are interested in having the badge on your blog or participating with your etsy shop, please let me know through a comment here, on my Esprit * d'Art blog or in an email.

It is my hope to make this an annual event. It not only raises money, it will increase awareness and bring women together in a common goal -- to stand up to cancer and say "no".