Breast Cancer Awareness

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Thomas Johnson


hometown: Frankfort, KY

English grad student

To all who value human life:

In the face of all the “bad things” going on in the world around us, it is often easy to believe that there is little one person can do to make a positive difference. There are, however, because of the fact that there are so many identifiable wrongs around us right now, innumerable “good things” available for each of us to do. Among them: buy stamps.

The U.S. postal service offers stamps that both celebrate the women who have suffered breast cancer and support continued research towards a cure for this remarkably devastating disease. These stamps cost an extra eight cents a piece (the “extra” money is donated to breast cancer research efforts) and can ultimately make a huge difference for unfathomable numbers of women.

Consider the fact that fifty percent of the women diagnosed with breast cancer exhibit none of the recognized symptoms of the disease before their diagnosis. That’s right, half of the women who suffer this disease have no warning whatsoever of their condition (and, because of that, the chance that those women will survive is severely diminished). This fact alone is indicative of how poorly understood and how under-researched the disease is. Consider also the fact that breast cancer is not only among the top killers of all women, but that college-aged women diagnosed with the disease have only a ten percent survival rate. Couple the two statistics, and you end up with nearly all college-aged women who are diagnosed with breast cancer dying, and half of those women receiving no warning whatsoever that they even have the disease (probably not aware of the fact until a chance doctor’s visit or an accidental discovery of a lump). Along with the medical technology that will someday lead to a cure, it is some of the ignorance that leads to these “chance” discoveries that the eight “extra” pennies seeks to alleviate.

Odds are you are among the scores of people who have been affected by breast cancer — someone whose mother, sister, or daughter has suffered, or who has, yourself, or very possibly will suffer at the hands of breast cancer. We each give thirty-seven cents to the post office each time we send a letter to support the prompt and secure delivery of our mail . . . would it hurt so much to give an extra eight pennies to help secure the futures of millions of women?; women who still live in a kind of archaic fear of a disease that is so rampant and so devastating that there is no plausible excuse for why we do not already have it more under control? Think about your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, and yourselves and splurge the extra eight pennies the next time you mail a letter or a bill. It’s likely that the letter will end up in the hands of someone who can personally appreciate the stamp that lets them know you care.

Thank You,

Thomas “Pog” Johnson