October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which means now is the optimal time to support organizations within our community. Beware of companies advertising so-called “pink products” that promote breast cancer awareness to gain sales but may not contribute any proceeds to actual charities or foundations. Instead, give back to those seeking a cure, invest in clinical trials, and provide resources to cancer patients.
If handing over a portion of your paycheck to larger organizations isn’t how you’d like to make an impact, consider the following local ways to donate. Remember, it takes a village.
1. Donate Money to Organizations Directly
Susan G. Komen is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to charities supporting breast cancer research. There are plenty of national and local orgs to consider when donating money. Here are a few Houston-based options:
- Kelsey Research Foundation: This nonprofit facilitates collaborative research initiatives between Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and institutions of the Texas Medical Center. The clinic provides continual care for approximately half a million Houstonians each year, with over one million clinic visits at 31 locations throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area.
- Angels Surviving Cancer: This organization has a mission to “Enlighten, Empower, Encourage and Educate” the community while helping those fighting the disease. A donation to ASC helps address the financial, emotional, and spiritual toll on those affected.
- Canopy: Memorial Hermann Health System has many specialty programs, and Canopy is a first-of-its-kind cancer survivorship center. Located on the campus of The Woodlands Medical Center, Canopy offers a wide variety of free programs and services addressing the emotional, physical, and social needs of those touched by cancer.
2. Volunteer Your Time
Located near the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dan’s House of Hope is a home away from home for adolescents and young adults receiving care at Houston’s nationally acclaimed Texas Medical Center hospitals. More than just housing, DHOH is a community for young adults in treatment and beyond, providing free stays for cancer patients and their caregivers. Volunteer activities include staffing events, technical and administrative support, and more.
Houston Methodist, home to five nationally recognized cancer programs, is constantly searching for volunteers to help at Baytown, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, and their other hospitals.
3. Host a Virtual Fundraiser
In addition to accepting donations and seeking volunteers, MD Anderson makes it easy to start an online fundraiser. Through the center’s virtual system, you can encourage friends and family to donate while spreading breast cancer awareness via social media.
Baylor College of Medicine has a similar process: you can start your own fundraiser with the touch of a button or give to one already created.
4. Get Active For Research
MD Anderson hosts an annual Boot Walk to End Cancer—this year’s falls on November 5. The goal? To give cancer the boot, of course. (You’re also encouraged to wear any type of boot you want for this walk.) All funds raised on the walk go directly to patient programs, research, prevention, and education.
Want to go even further, literally? The Jack Savage Foundation’s Ski-A-Thon is coming up in February 2023 and will take place in South Lake Tahoe. All proceeds go to pediatric patients at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson.
5. Make Amazon Donate For You
If you’re buying from Amazon and you’re not doing it with a Smile account attached—why? St. Luke’s Foundation makes it remarkably easy to donate a portion of your Amazon purchases to their mission.
6. Give Blood
Hospitals like MD Anderson need blood donations for cancer patients who may be low in red blood cells, platelets, or plasma proteins. The center frequently has community blood drives, or you can make an appointment to donate at one of their three centers.
7. Get Personal
Have a loved one going through cancer treatment? Reach out to see if they have a GoFundMe page, ask if there are helpful items from Amazon that they may need for treatments, or give them a meal delivery gift card (like Uber Eats or Grubhub) for easy meals afterward.