Buying stamps can save lives

Thomas Johnson

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

The U.S. Postal Service offers stamps that both celebrate the women who have suffered breast cancer and support continued research toward 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 an unfathomable number of women.

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. Because of that, the chance that those women will survive is severely diminished. This fact alone is indicative of how poorly understood and under-researched the disease is.

Breast cancer is not only among the top killers of all women, but according to a friend of mine, college-aged women who are diagnosed with the disease have only a 10 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. Most college-aged women are probably not aware they have a disease until a chance doctor’s visit or an accidental discovery of a lump.

The eight extra pennies from this stamp seek to alleviate not only the medical technology that will someday lead to a cure, but the ignorance that leads to these “chance” discoveries of breast cancer.

Odds are that you are among the scores of people who have been affected by breast cancer – you had a mother, sister, or daughter who has suffered. Perhaps you have or will possibly suffer at the hands of breast cancer.

We each give 37 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. They will know that you care.

Thomas Johnson is an English graduate student from Frankfort.

This commentary does not reflect the views of the Herald, Western or its administration.