Consider these numbers:
- Susan G. Komen raised $372 million last year through donations, corporate sponsorships, and race entry fees. Charity Navigator reports on another 28 breast cancer charities, which along with Komen raise a total of $1.7 billion annually.
- The American Cancer Society raised $723 million in 2011.
- The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund raised $11 million in 2011 and boasts celebrity supporters Donna Karan, Kelly Ripa, Eva Longoria, Oprah and others.
- The American Heart Association raises $640 million annually, including the Go Red for Women campaign.
- The March of Dimes raised $196 million in 2012, with 7 million participants in March for Babies. One walker raised $185,000 alone.
- St. Jude sends out 150 million letters requesting funds every year, and adds 1 million new donors to its extensive database annually.
- The Back to Sleep / Safe Sleep Campaign is one of the most well-funded and recognized public health campaigns (thanks in part to countless products promoting the campaign). SIDS organization First Candle raised $3.4 million in 2009, and is the main charity for the ABC Kids Expo (one of the largest trade shows) reaching thousands of juvenile product manufacturers, retail stores, media outlets, buyers and consumers.
Americans are extraordinarily generous, ranking no. 1 in the world, with 65% of Americans donating money, 43% volunteering time, and 73% helping a stranger. Cancer, heart disease, saving premature babies and SIDS are all worthy causes, deserving of the walks, runs, golf-a-thons, awareness campaigns, ribbon-displaying, color-wearing and other activities that millions of Americans participate in every year.
But isn’t the breastfeeding cause worthy, too?
Breastfeeding could stave off 14,000 heart attacks in women every year, lowers the risk of SIDS by 35-50%, and could prevent 5,000 cases of breast cancer every year–it reduces the risk of breast cancer by 59% in women with a family history of the disease. Women who have more than 3 children and breastfeed more than 31 months have a 91% lower risk of ovarian cancer tumors. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of certain childhood cancers, diabetes, obesity and leukemia. Higher breastfeeding rates could save the U.S. billions in maternal and infant health care and associated costs, for just a handful of the diseases it protects against.
Yet, the breastfeeding cause raises far, far less–just a tiny fraction of all the disease foundations listed above. Most breastfeeding organizations, including ours, are small and run mostly by volunteers. We are going to guess that all 41 of the member organizations of the United States Breastfeeding Committee raise at most just few million dollars in individual donations, and we know that every dollar is stretched further than can be imagined, on the backs of the thousands of hours that IBCLCs, RNs, MDs, CLCs, scientists, researchers, public health experts, counselors, and advocates donate to helping mothers and babies.
Does this make sense to you? Do you believe that breastfeeding, which lowers the risk of nearly all the diseases that Americans donate billions to every year, deserves to be well-endowed (pun intended) with a true fundraising cause and the national visibility and respect to match? Do you believe that we need to do more, faster, to ensure that the 4.2 million babies born every year have the best chance at receiving breastmilk, either from their mother or a milk bank? Do you believe that mothers deserve to have a positive, empowering, successful breastfeeding experience, and deserve to meet their personal goals without the indescribable anguish, suffering, frustration, heartache and devastation from trying to overcome Booby Trap after Booby Trap? (If you need to be reminded of exactly what that anguish looks like, read some of the 271 Booby Trap stories–your stories–that we gathered for the U.S. Surgeon General.)
If you believe the breastfeeding cause is worthy, then here’s your chance to change the score, to boost the protection under our noses and improve the lives not just of our moms and babies but of all of us! Join Team We’ve Got Your Back Babe! and take the first nationwide personal fitness challenge to urge America to back breastfeeding and get out and sweat for the love of moms and babies! So far, we have 104 participants and 22 local and virtual teams that are creating a legacy of fitness for the breastfeeding cause.
Our dream is to grow this cause using this model, invite other member organizations of the United States Breastfeeding Committee to join with us for events like Team WGYBB, increasing our size and scope every year until the day when millions of men, women, and children are flooding the streets and raising funds to stand up for prevention and Beat the Breastfeeding Booby Traps®. To ensure more hospitals are designated BFHI, more physicians are educated about lactation management, more mothers can find support groups to help them achieve their breastfeeding goals, no racial and income breastfeeding disparities exist, more qualified lactation counselors and consultants are trained to help moms, more premature babies get donor milk, and no mother is harassed in public or at work for breastfeeding or pumping . . . and so much more. We are building a true cause on the level of Komen, Go Red and March of Dimes, and YOU are the key!
Won’t you join Best for Babes and our wonderful partner Breastfeeding USA for our Team Team We’ve Got Your Back, Babe Nationwide Fitness Challenge Event? Register before August 31st and you have until Oct 31 to meet your goal. Or simply make a donation to Team WGYBB, there are so many peer counselors and advocates who would love your support! It’s easy and rewarding, and as we grow, we are spreading the word that our mothers and babies matter, and that breastfeeding, the mother of all prevention, is the Mother of All Causes!
Register here: http://www.bestforbabes.org/teamwgybb before August 31, and we’ll be cheering you on!!