It’s that time of year: pumpkins are being picked, gutted and carved in homes across America in anticipation of Halloween. But, with the sugary holiday already being celebrated by hyperactive children and distressed parents, many people forget that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
As pink is seeping its way onto bracelets, t-shirts and even NFL team jerseys, it’s difficult to ignore October’s other standout purpose. Farms throughout the United States have come up with a way to combine the two celebrations: pink pumpkins.
Yes, you read that right. The Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation (TPPPF) is a new organization that asks growers to give a portion of their profits from the pink plant to reputable breast cancer research organizations.
So just how did a pink-hued pumpkin come to exist? (No, it’s not paint.) A farmer in Colorado actually stumbled upon the unique color in a plant of his a few years ago and spent time cultivating it.
Want to buy a pink pumpkin? TPPPF lists retailers and growers on their website, but they are not available in every state. The good news is, there are many other ways to support Breast Cancer related efforts this month–and the rest of the year, too.
This month, get a flu shot. It may seem self-serving–because no one wants to become bedridden for a week–but coming into contact with the virus can be life-threatening for those with cancer.
Another way to do your part is to donate directly to a breast cancer research or support organization. The government compiles lists of reputable health organizations based on topics, found here, so that you can be sure your dollar will go toward precisely what you want it to.
Some people (cough, college students, cough) are shorter on cash and would rather donate time. Supporting someone you know with cancer is a great idea. Making a week’s worth of meals if you’re a foodie, offering yourself as a free babysitter for a few nights if you love kids or writing a heartfelt card of encouragement are all great ideas.
If you’re not in direct contact with someone who could use your help, check out Lotsa Helping Hands, a community that connects caregivers and volunteers with people who could use a hand–not just cancer patients.
And if nothing else, wear pink. Pink is fun, pink is fierce and pink is the uniting symbol for the fight against breast cancer. And the next time you visit a pumpkin patch, pick a pink one.
Shay Quigley is a junior at East Carolina University majoring in public relations and media studies. She has been a member of NSCS since 2010, and is currently a Social Media Ambassador for NSCS, making it her mission to inform everyone that geek is chic. When she is not studying or reading, Shay is most likely eating carrots, pretending she is a ninja, and randomly scribbling down poetry and graphic design ideas. Follow her on Twitter @shayquig.