Take a look at the See Jane Write brand colors and it’s obvious that I love pink. But I hate pinkwashing.

Let me explain.

Pinkwashing is a term used to describe the wave of pink products sold in the name of breast cancer awareness – particularly in October. As a breast cancer survivor, I’m obviously all for spreading awareness of this disease, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.

But what I don’t like are companies who pump out pink products claiming that proceeds will support breast cancer research when in fact very little of the money ever benefits patients or their families.

So, if you want to support breast cancer survivors – for real – here are a few ways to do it.

Make a donation to a local organization that offers hands-on support to patients. If you’re in Birmingham, you can show your support to the Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center by purchasing a ticket (virtual or in-person) to its upcoming fashion show Haute Pink. Yours truly will be walking the runway!

If you know a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 45, gift her a subscription to Wildfire magazine, the magazine for women who are often told they’re “too young” for breast cancer. I had the honor of being the guest editor for the August/September 2021 Community issue, which features essays by a few See Jane Write Collective members.

If you want your dollars to truly advance research, donate to the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Foundation, where Dr. Hadiyah Green is developing a way to kill cancer cells without chemotherapy!

Early detection saved my life. So I’m a big fan of the Joy to Life Foundation. Since its founding in 2001, JTLF has provided thousands of mammograms and hundreds of screenings and physician visits to the underserved in Alabama.

And if you want to take your breast cancer advocacy to the next level, consider applying for Tigerlily Foundation’s ANGEL Advocacy program. Tigerlily Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides education, awareness, advocacy, and hands-on support to young women affected by breast cancer — with a focus on young women of color. And the ANGEL program offers training on how to be a more effective breast cancer advocate. Learn more here.

Now I’m not saying I’m against breast cancer-related merch, but if I buy any in October or any other month it’s going to be from groups like For the Breast of Us, an organization devoted to empowering women of color affected by breast cancer.

What will you do in October to support loved ones affected by breast cancer?