It's that time of year again - Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's 19 years since the late Evelyn Lauder asked me to help her in her newly formed Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign - the BCA Campaign. I'll never forget her saying to me that women all over the world were dying and no one was talking about it. She told me how inspired she was by the Aids activists who were doing such an amazing job and she said it was our turn to push this disease into the spotlight.
And boy, did she succeed.
Since the BCA was formed in 1992, breast cancer has gone from being whispered about in fear and secrecy to being shouted from the roof tops. The pink ribbon - co-created by Evelyn Lauder - is a ubiquitous sign of hope for everyone, everywhere.
We know so much more about this terrible disease now than we did then; drugs and treatment regimes have improved and more women are surviving.
One of the BCA Campaign's key messages has been that early detection saves lives.
We know that if a tumor is found early and is localised, there is a 90% chance of survival. Early is the key word. We have been spreading this message relentlessly - encouraging women to check their own breasts every month and get a yearly mammogram if over 40. More cancer is being detected - but more women are surviving.
Awareness is everywhere, and while we can never let up on creating more, the time is now right to be more active. Our campaign this year is focused on encouraging everyone to form their own Circle of Strength - a core group of your close friends, family and co-workers - and make pledges to increase your action.
Perhaps you'll all make a firm commitment to self examine every month and have that yearly mammogram, or perhaps you'll agree on a fund raising activity; whatever you and your circle pledge to do, it'll make a difference.
Please keep in the forefront of your minds that the only thing standing between today and the day when people stop dying of breast cancer is money.
We need more funding for more research. Please help. Visit www.BCAcampaign.com for inspiration.
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