By Danielle Belopotosky
In 2004, more than 216,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, according to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. For women between the ages of 20 and 59, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. And despite increased cancer research, funding for screenings and treatments, and public awareness campaigns over the past 25 years, the rate of new incidents continues to rise.
It’s time to think pink.
I am not exactly sure when I received my first pink ribbon to wear in solidarity for breast cancer awareness, but I know that Aunt Nancy, an Avon lady, gave it to me. As a female, I was part of a tribe. I started to receive pink pens, pink ribbons and generally, pink thoughts.
While my earliest recollection of corporate awareness campaigns was Avon’s Breast Cancer Crusade, corporate giving to raise funds for screenings, treatments, research and education has proliferated in the past decade or so. Since 1997, BMW of North America has raised awareness – and $7 million – through its annual Ultimate Drive™ for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In time for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is October, BMW aims to collect another $1 million.
Each year, about 230 BMW dealers team with a Komen Foundation affiliate around the U.S. to not only raise awareness and dollars, but to honor the heroines and heroes who are on the front line in the battle against breast cancer. Be it a survivor, relative, doctor or nurse, “these are women who never imagined that BMW would ever be behind them,” Angeli Gianchandani, National Event Marketing Manager for BMW of North America, said.
Under the Ultimate Drive program, two fleets of cars travel across the country raising $1 per mile driven per test drive, and collect signatures from heroes that are honored at each dealership. By its finale, the cars are covered in photos and signatures. This year, the test drive will finish in Chicago at the Bill Jacob BMW dealership on October 13th. BMW has raised more than $750,000 this year. BMW underwrites the cost of this program, ensuring that 100 percent of the money raised is donated to the Komen Foundation.
[center]BMW Ultimate Drive Seatbelt Cosmetic Bag, $24.00 plus shipping
Available exclusively at www.bmwonline.com and all BMW dealers across the U.S.[/center]
As part of the program, BMW’s Pink Ribbon Collection sells a variety of products that raise additional money that directly benefit to Komen Foundation. BMW is selling a pink yoga mat and pink cosmetic bag, with 80 percent of each sale donated to the Komen Foundation. Last year, the BMW pink tote bag raised $600,000, Gianchandani said, “our goal was to provide merchandise that was fun, innovative and that was priced well.”
[center]BMW Yoga Mat, $18.00
Available exclusively online at www.bmwonline.com and at all BMW dealers across the U.S.[/center]
The Komen Foundation was founded in 1982 in honor on Susan Goodman Komen. The Foundation has supported screening, education, and treatments, pushed for research and awarded more than $112 million for research grants. For more than 20 years the Komen Foundation has been a leader in the fight against breast cancer and supporting survivors. BMW continues to by its side. “Next year, we go into year nine, and we look forward to celebrating year 10 in 2006,” Gianchandani said. “The program is rewarding and really builds a sense of community.” More information about BMW’s Ultimate Drive, and how to donate, can be found at: www.bmwusa.com or by calling 1-877-4A-DRIVE (1-877-423-7483)
More information about the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation can be found at www.komen.org.