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Is Awareness Ribbon Hurting the Cause?

Is Awareness Ribbon Hurting the Cause?



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioAdvocacy groups are making millions of dollars by using special awareness ribbons to remind people of their cause. But is one awareness ribbon actually hurting the cause it promotes?

Do you remember the episode of "Seinfeld" in which an AIDS walker asked Kramer, "Hey, where's your ribbon?"

Kramer answered, "Oh I don't wear the ribbon."

People joining Kramer in a walk against AIDS hassled him for not wearing the trademark red ribbon.

"Who do you think you are?"

"Put the ribbon on."

"Hey Cedric, Bob. This guy won't wear the ribbon!"

"Who? Who doesn't want to wear the ribbon?"

Now you see ribbons all over the place for everything from showing support for the troops, to Native American reparations, to saving Darfur and even STD awareness. One of the more effective ribbons is pink, and you know what that stands for.

Susan Scaletta is the Salt Lake City affiliate president for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She said, "Not just breast cancer awareness, but also research. In the last 25 years Komen has raised $1 billion for research and education."

"An organization pledges that they will give us X thousands or millions of dollars, literally millions in most cases," she said.

However, even Scaletta says it's important not to give blindly to a company just because it's flashing the pink ribbon.

"We get proposals to put our name or our pink ribbon on anything and everything," Scaletta said.

Other breast cancer awareness groups say that's part of the problem.

Breast Cancer Action communications associate Katrina Kahl said, "What we're really concerned with is the fact that nobody really knows how much money is being raised and where it's being spent."

Kahl says some companies put a cap on their donations.

"You might think you're purchasing the product, and some money is being donated, but if the cap has already been met, none of your purchase goes to breast cancer."

BCA is running what it calls the "Think Before You Pink" campaign. It's not saying you should avoid products with the pink ribbon, just that you should ask what is being funded by your donations.

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