October, aside from hosting the most awesome Halloween, is also Breast Cancer Awareness month, and as the daughter of a 5-year survivor, I think it’s important to support the cause any way I can. If that means wearing a pink ribbon, or telling someone who otherwise wouldn’t know, or sharing information about a program that needs funding- then that’s what I’ll do. My mother is a volunteer with the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program, and they’ve been so helpful to her. Not only that, but through them they provide survivors & women battling cancer with numerous programs, support groups, and resources. They also have the only bilingual hotline in New York State, making them extremely important. They help women get free mammograms as well, through local connections with medical groups & plastic surgeons. They’ve been around 31 years, and thankfully after a tenuous last few years where they thought for sure they’d lose their funding from NYS & our previous Gov. Paterson, our new Gov. Cuomo stepped up and really helped, not only reinstating their funding but sending a personal representative to speak with them & offer any help that is needed. If you’re going to donate to one breast cancer organization this month, please make it Adelphi. Yes, Komen is great, so is the BCRF. But they’re very popular, and they get lots of money from lots of sources, so why not help out the little guy who really needs it & makes every penny count, getting down & dirty making a difference one-on-one with women in the community who need them. Yes, it’s obvious I believe in them very strongly & I’ll do anything to support them & get them money to continue doing it.
And of course, having a blog helps. Thanks to this blog, my amazing readers & my friend Yoyo, we’ve managed to get them over $400.00 in donations in just two months alone last year! And that’s in donations that I’m aware of; people who bought from Yoyo’s shop just for this cause. I’m sure there were quite a few who’ve donated directly to them & for that I’m super grateful. They do amazing work, and they deserve all the help they can get.
Which is why I make them cupcakes!
Yes, all these hardworking women need fuel, and I am here to provide it in the form of sugar. Two years ago, I made them chocolate cupcakes with pink striped frosting & pink ribbon toppers. Last year, I made them cupcakes with vanilla frosting dipped in a pink glaze & rolled in pink ribbon sprinkles. This year I wasn’t totally sure what I’d do, but I did know I was going to box them up in my large bakery box from Bake-A-Box. Remember last month when I wrote about them? This box was the perfect way to house & deliver my pink ribbon Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program cupcakes. This year I went really simple: vanilla cakes, vanilla buttercream & I alternated Candy Melt-piped pink ribbons with pink sanding sugar. The ribbons were easy, I just filled a disposable bag with pink melts, popped ‘em in the microwave until they were melted, then snipped off the tip of the bag & piped lots of pink ribbons onto some parchment paper. I let them set overnight, then when the cupcakes were frosted I picked a few of the best ones to use & ate the rest. Hah. The tip I used to frost them was this one.
And what better eggs to use but Eggland’s Best eggs with pink ribbons?
And on a lighter (& much sweeter) note than breast cancer, one of the social workers whose been with my mom from the start of her breast cancer journey, Angela, is having twins in April! So of course I had to make her a duo of cupcakes; a cupcake for each little one she’s expecting, doused in pastel sprinkles. Since we don’t know the genders, I went with all colors instead of just pink & blue. The toppers are just little plastic baby shower favors. Cuteness times 1,000.
All boxed up!
So sweet, right? Also, last Tuesday, October 18th just so happened to be the Adelphi Breast Cancer Program’s Celebration of Survivorship. The guest speakers each year are incredibly inspiring, my mother was one back in 2008. This year NBC’s Pat Battle was among the speakers, last year Lisa Lisa was one, and previous years’ speakers have included Betty Rollin, Dara Richardson-Heron, and Meredith Norton, to name just a few. I had a fun evening celebrating all the amazing survivors, including my mom!
Oh and before I forget… this year Lowe’s was (is?) selling huge pots of pink mums in a pink ribbon pot, and a portion of the price went to Susan G. Komen. So of course I bought one for my mom. If they’re still available in a Lowe’s near you, buy one. Do you really need an excuse for buying beautiful fall flowers, even if it is for breast cancer research?
So get out there & spread the word! My website is always “in the pink” anyway but this month I want everyone to be pink; even just metaphorically. There are those (if you can believe it) who are against pink ribbons; they say it “sexualizes” breast cancer, or trivializes it, or it’s “selling out.” I disagree. First of all, I was over that whole “selling out” thing back when I was 16 & it was cool to say a punk band sold out if they made some money & didn’t live in a car. My take? Anything that raises money so that women who can’t afford it can get mammograms is a good thing. Anything that raises money for cancer research is a good thing. Anything that reminds a woman (or a man) when they see it to check for any unusual things going on is a good thing, and if that’s a pink ribbon then that’s what it is. I’m a baker & I cook a lot; let’s face it, I’m going to buy eggs anyway, why not buy the ones that donate $50,000 to a good cause that I happen to hold near & dear? Breast cancer ain’t the only cancer out there, and it does get a lot of attention, but 1 in 7 women are diagnosed with it so why the hell wouldn’t it!? Pink ribbons, purple ribbons, green ribbons, brown ribbons- I don’t care. Wear ‘em & wear ‘em proudly. Gain attention to whatever cause is close to your heart, get the word out. We’re all only here for a short time, why waste it fighting over a colored ribbon when we can use our big mouths to help? Not only that, but quibbling over a looped pink ribbon or the fact that there are organizations that brand items with a pink ribbon to raise money seems really childish to me, no matter how lofty or erudite you make it seem. There are women still dying of this disease, and you’re angry because you don’t like the color pink? Get over yourself. My mother had a mastectomy, 6 months of hardcore chemotherapy & 6 weeks of radiation, and all that helped save her life & improve her chances of living cancer-free. About 15-20 years ago I lost both my great aunt & a 35-year old second cousin to breast cancer. In the few short years between now & then the advancements are far beyond what you can imagine, trust me. If things had pink ribbons on them in 1990 or if people took it as seriously, maybe my great aunt would still be alive, and if Susan G. Komen was raising the money then that they are now perhaps my cousin would be alive too, & would have seen her three children grow up. I don’t think they’d have been against seeing a pink ribbon on a box of cookies if it would’ve maybe helped them live a little longer, do you?
Well too bad, anyway. I like pink, always have, and this is just another reason for me to use the color. Take care of yourselves, you’re valuable. Ladies, feel your boobs. Get checked (men too!) & don’t let suspicious lumps or bumps go unnoticed or freak you out: there is help! You aren’t alone & you shouldn’t be afraid: your worst fears are often never as bad as you expect them to be.
Resources or places on the web to donate or get educated:
Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program
Look Good, Feel Better
Army of Women
American Cancer Society
Young Survival Coalition