Volunteer in the Fight Against Breast Cancer All Year Long

Provide Critical Support & Promote the Search for a Cure

Diverse people registering for charity breast cancer awareness race
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October might be Breast Cancer Awareness Month and prime time for fighting against a disease that kills approximately 40,000 women annually, but there are plenty of ways to show your support all year long. You don't have to be an oncologist to make a difference. Provide support for breast cancer-related causes every day of the year to make life better for victims of breast cancer. Here are some ways to get started.

Hands-On Help for Breast Cancer Warriors

Hands-on volunteer work is incredibly impactful and often more rewarding than other opportunities, but it requires time. If your schedule is open enough to participate in some hands-on volunteering, the following programs are great options.

American Cancer Society Reach To Recovery
For 35 years Reach To Recovery has enlisted the help of breast cancer survivors to offer support, information and resources to newly-diagnosed patients struggling to navigate the world of cancer treatment. Reach To Recovery volunteers are trained to provide emotional support to patients and their families, and give information about treatments, coping and recovery. Support can be given over the phone or during a home or hospital visit. Breast cancer survivors, in particular, are very effective in this effort because they are living examples of recovery.

American Cancer Society Road To Recovery
Cancer patients need to go to treatment, but many have no way of getting there.

If you can drive, then you can work with Road To Recovery to help cancer patients. An experienced driver who transports a patient to and from treatment eases up a lot of anxiety and stress. Cancer treatments also make patients sick, and someone who is weak or nauseous shouldn't be driving. A caring, friendly driver with a flexible schedule can provide a very necessary service.

Look Good Feel Better
Perhaps you work in a salon and want to help breast cancer patients. Look Good Feel Better relies on volunteer cosmetologists who can teach women how to deal with hair loss and care for their skin and nails during treatment. Volunteers undergo training and certification. Patients at all stages of treatment who attend these programs learn how to improve their appearance and boost self-esteem. Cosmetics donations are provided for sessions and samples are given to each participant.

Join the Race for Funds

So much of breast cancer support is rooted in fundraising; especially fundraising via marathon walks. Volunteers and survivors alike unite to raise funds for support and research. These are a few fundraising efforts anyone can partake.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
You don't have to be a triathlete or even a routine jogger to participate in this race. Making Strides is a noncompetitive walk that raises funds for breast cancer research, support, education, awareness and legislation.

Participate as an individual or as a team and raise money through grassroots efforts or with matching grants.

Avon 39
Avon is more than pink lipstick and blush. The cosmetics company hosts the two-day Walk to End Breast Cancer all around the United States from April through October. Each participant must reach the individual fundraising minimum, but all are encouraged to form teams to make the effort easier. Volunteers receive training for the walk and support for fundraising.

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day
Are you up for a three-day event? Can you walk 60 miles over the course of three days and camp out overnight? Then you're ready to help raise funds for Susan G. Komen. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day hosts walks around the United States from August through November. Walk volunteers must raise a minimum amount of fundraising dollars to participate. If you want to help, but can't walk 60 miles, you can serve as a walk volunteer instead.

Advocate & Educate

If you've been affected by breast cancer, whether as a patient, a family member, or a friend, offer valuable support to patients and their loved ones by becoming a breast cancer advocate. Pay it forward by helping breast cancer patients and those who are newly diagnosed.

Become a Breast Cancer Mentor
Offer support to patients and their loved ones with a diagnosis or treatment experience similar to your own. After Breast Cancer Diagnosis has a wonderful mentor program that lets you provide support in person, over the phone or online after having gone through the organization's certification program.

Organize a Breast Cancer Support Group
If you're a survivor who attended a support group during and after treatment, then you understand the value such a network provides. Use your own experience to return the favor by volunteering to facilitate a support group for breast cancer patients. Let your life encourage others in the fight.

Become a Breast Health Educator
Do you enjoy speaking to groups? Are you good at explaining things? Then you might want to consider becoming a breast health educator through an organization like After Breast Cancer Diagnosis. Breast cancer survivors are trained as guest speakers and workshop facilitators, spreading the word and teaching more people about the disease and treatments.

Donate Skills, Goods & Funds

Many of us complain about maintaining hectic schedules, but just because volunteering requires your time doesn't mean it's necessarily time-consuming. There are lots of easy ways to provide services and assistance to those currently in treatment or recovery.

Put Your Skills to Good Use
Breast cancer organizations and support groups use volunteers in more ways than you might think. Assess your skill set. If you have basic office skills, like typing, making phone calls and stuffing envelopes, can keep financial records, or have worked in event planning or marketing, your local breast cancer group can certainly use your help. Many of these organizations rely solely on volunteer staff, and it's a good way to give back to an organization that may have helped you or someone you love through a difficult time.

Recycle Your Gently Used Wigs
If you're done with your wig after going through treatment, donate it. Many local chapters of the American Cancer Society accept gently used wigs to give to those who can't afford one. Donate your wigs and accessories, like a wig stand, shampoo and brushes, to your local breast cancer support group so they can be given to women who are in immediate need.

Give to Top-Rated Pink Ribbon Charities
Monetary donations are always appreciated and are the perfect way to help if you're strapped for time. But where will your money be most well-spent? It's sad, but true: not every breast cancer non-profit spends the bulk of their donations on patients and research. Sometimes the majority of donations goes to administrative and fundraising expenses. Ensure your donation goes where you want it to go by giving to breast cancer organizations that spend more than half of every dollar donated on support, research and education: the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

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