The Many Reasons to Celebrate During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Louanne Roark
Executive Director, Look Good Feel Better Foundation
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a meaningful time for Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) because we know that breast cancer statistics translate into real women with real challenges. Women who are working through a cancer journey with determination and courage.
In 2023, approximately 297,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and approximately 43,000 will die from the disease.* Not surprisingly, breast cancer is the most diagnosed form of cancer among women – 31% of all female cancer diagnoses – and second only to lung cancer in number of deaths. Breast cancer rates have been steadily declining since 1989, yet despite this 43% decline, breast cancer deaths in Black women remain about 40% higher than in White women, despite lower incidence.
Breast cancer patients represent the majority of the people LGFB serves, with 62% of our participants reporting they are being treated for breast cancer. We are privileged to support anyone undergoing cancer treatment, enabling them to rediscover their normal appearance, confidence and self-esteem and to find a supportive community of others going through the same thing. Our goal is to help even more people with cancer and to be there for everyone who needs us.
That’s why we invested in digital strategies in 2019 to deliver LGFB workshops. We built a digital delivery platform and expanded our reach beyond in-person workshops at cancer centers, hospitals and clinics to serve the broader cancer community via online, livestreaming technology. The goal was to replicate the magic and community of our in-person programs by virtually bringing LGFB to patients wherever they are – at home, at work and in the community, including underserved and under-resourced communities – and creating new opportunities for sharing experiences and human connection.
Little did we know that our timing was perfect. Without skipping a beat, we were able to continue offering online, livestreaming group programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort has only grown since. Today, we serve thousands of women every year through free in-person and virtual, livestreaming workshops; short-form Feel Better Moments streaming on social media platforms; and online resources and video tutorials on our website. Most resources are also available in Spanish.
Of course, we don’t do this work alone. We rely on the generosity of nationwide partners, volunteers and other supporters who create a positive impact beyond financial and product donations. They strengthen communities, address mental health, improve wellness, and support diversity and inclusion. From employee skill-based volunteers and fundraising to cause marketing and product and service donations, our partners elevate our ability to impact the lives of cancer patients and their families everywhere.
And we continue working hard to reach women in underserved communities. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Look Good Feel Better’s Confidence Crusade is inspiring communities to recognize that we all have a role to play in helping friends, family or acquaintances facing cancer.
We want EveryONE to help ONE person to feel empowered on their cancer journey by sharing information about LGFB’s free resources and by challenging and engaging those who are unsure how to help to do the same.
Funding from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation will help promote the Confidence Crusade, and their generous support will enable LGFB’s free virtual workshops to provide ‘makeup confidence kits’ to even more patients (while supplies last), including those in under-resourced and underserved communities.
October is also when many of our generous partners step up to support LGFB through special company and brand initiatives and when they come together to celebrate our collective impact. On October 11 this year, the BeautyCares DreamBall Gala in New York raised more than $1.2 million to support the program, providing thousands of women with free LGFB support.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of survivorship, resiliency and hope. It is a time to acknowledge the extraordinary support from our partners, volunteers and allies. It is a moment to rekindle our commitment to ensuring hope glows for everyone for a better tomorrow.
For more information about Look Good Feel Better, visit www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org.
*American Cancer Society, 2023 Cancer Facts and Figures