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Everyone has a story. Whether it be our mother, sister, aunt or grandmother, many of us know someone whose life has been impacted by breast cancer. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, there will be about 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer among American women and a staggering 40,290 breast cancer deaths just this year alone. It's a disheartening statistic. But, the Komen Foundation website also states that there is a 99 percent "5-year relative survival rate of early-stage breast cancer." Therefore, early detection is critical in the effective diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Regardless of these numbers, there are still many people all over the country, and perhaps the world, who don't know the signs or know that they could be at risk. So what can you do? Read on for some wonderful ways to support breast cancer awareness.

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• Wear pink. This is a trend that has gained much popularity over the years and doesn't seem to be slowing down. Everyone from professional sports teams to area stores and markets has jumped in on the pink trend for the month of October. This is probably the cheapest and easiest way to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month because pink products are readily available this time of year. Think pink socks, jackets, shirts, hair accessories and whatever else you can find. And, if for some reason you are not fond of overloading on pink, kick up your everyday attire by adding a pink-hued accessory such as a tie or lip color.

• Create a fundraiser. This method will take a little time and planning but will be a wonderful experience in which the entire family can participate. Host a bake sale, car wash, or silent auction using donations from the family, friends and other members of the community. Or you might try contacting area restaurants such as Chick-Fil-A, in Owings Mills, and Reter's Crab House, in Reisterstown. They regularly hold "dining out" nights where a portion of the night's proceeds will be donated to an organization of your choice. Donate the proceeds of your event to a breast cancer research or support organization. Sometimes the organization you donate to will be willing to provide you with educational materials that you can distribute at your event so don't forget to ask. After all, the idea of your event is to raise awareness — and of course support research and community outreach through your monetary donation.

• Purchase "pink-friendly" products. They're everywhere! It seems as if nearly all retail stores have their version or versions of breast cancer awareness products, from coffee mugs and T-shirts to socks and hot pink donuts. There are tons of ways to support awareness by purchasing products that you either already use or need to purchase anyhow. Online sites like www.avon.com and www.shopkomen.com have a great variety. Locally, check out places like Icedgems Baking, in Reisterstown, which is donating a portion of the sale of its Pink Ribbon cupcakes to area breast cancer support organizations. Get a delicious treat and support a great cause!

• Participate in an event. I like to refer to October as "the month of the walks." There are a tremendous number of walks and races aimed at supporting breast cancer awareness and research. National walks and races such as Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure are quite popular in the area and generally draw a large crowd. However, there are also a number of events going on in the community that are supporting cancer awareness in a big way. Spread cancer awareness and help put a smile on someone's face at the same time.

• Talk about it. The primary purpose of promoting awareness is for everyone, and especially those at risk, to have a better understanding of the disease and to learn about detection and prevention methods. So, with that said, be sure to talk about it! Share information with friends, family and co-workers. Encourage each other to perform regular self-exams and obtain mammograms whenever necessary.

We have made great strides in breast cancer awareness and research over the past 10 years. However, according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. These odds are shocking, but there is hope! Educating men and women about breast cancer prevention and early detection is critical. Spreading awareness of the disease can be critical in helping to save a life. And even one life makes a huge difference.

Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at

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