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Shop Pink to Benefit Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means a variety of pink products hit shelves. But do your pink purchases always go toward the cause?

A wave of pink is flooding stores as retailers participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For shoppers, it's an opportunity to donate to a good cause while snagging unique, pink-hued items.

But before you plunk down your green for some pink, the not-for-profit groups behind the dedicated month suggest checking labels or tags that tell where the money goes.

"If you walk into Bed Bath & Beyond and see something with a pink ribbon and no information about where the money is going, chances are it doesn't benefit the cause," said Jenna Glazer, development director for New York City-based Young Survival Coalition, an organization dedicated to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Local business owners and websites often are specifying where their "pink proceeds" are headed. 

Pleasanton's Debbie Mitchell, designer and founder of Twisted Silver Jewelry, for one, chose Living Beyond Breast Cancer as the donation recipient from sales of her "Living Beyond Bracelet." 

While worthy charities abound on the breast-cancer front, Mitchell explained she was drawn to Living Beyond as it addresses "the what happens next" phase for survivors.

Glazer, whose YSC page lists Oakley, Nutra Nail and Urban Outfitters as some of its partners, added that the amount of money donated to the charities is also key.

Trampoline park Rockin' Jump in Dublin, for instance, clearly publicizes that it is donating 5 percent of October revenues to Livermore-based Tri-Valley SOCKs' Bras For The Cause walk.

For smaller groups like Tri-Valley SOCKS and YSC, on the lower end of the awareness spectrum from, say, Susan G. Komen For the Cure, funds raised are just part of the benefit, Glazer said. 

"It raises the profile of the non-profit and gets the word out to the people who need us," she said.

Local businesses and retailers thinking "pink" this month include: 

  • Club Sport Pleasanton and Golden Skate: Jointly hosting "Boogie for Breast Cancer," a 75-minute, high-energy dance class, Oct. 21 and Oct. 28, 10:45 a.m. at the rink, 2701 Hooper Drive, San Ramon. Donations of $15 (or $25 includes a T-shirt) go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Open to public, but participants must register with Club Sport's activities desk at (925) 463-2822, ext. 570. 
  • Safeway supermarkets' efforts through October include: puchase of $3 shopping bag; check-out cash donations; or $5 of every $30 spent on pink-tagged products donated to Stand Up To Cancer, an entertainment industry-backed foundation.  
  • Livermore hosts Oct. 18 fundraiser, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. benefiting Tri-Valley SOCKs, with support from Campo di Bocce, Castlewood Country Club, Steven Kent and Wente wineries, and Aventine Med Spa. 
  • Inkestry Custom Tattoo Studio in Livermore is offering $40 tattoos, $25 pink-ribbon tattoos and $25 piercings from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 20, with a portion of proceeds earmarked for Komen for the Cure. Details on Inkestry's Facebook page.  
  • Fantastic Sams of Pleasanton (and Vacaville) donating 40 percent of proceeds from pink hair feathers sold through October to Bay Area Komen for the Cure.  
  • New York & Company stores in Pleasanton, Milpitas, Hayward and Newark sell breast cancer-inspired clothing with $2 per item donated to BCRF. 

Here are some pink products available online that breast cancer not-for-profits are putting their names behind: 

If you think a pink product is suspicious or wonder about the company and its supposed cause, Glazer says to call the charity as representatives are usually happy to verify whether a company is really giving.

"I've actually gotten Google alerts and seen people say they are partnering with us and they aren't," Glazer said, adding that she follows up on those alerts and asks for a check from the retailer that made the claim.

Sometimes, she said, retailers were unaware that they needed a contract with YSC and will send along the check happily.

But in some cases, she said, "I never hear back from them."

If you have a favorite pink product that benefits Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or we missed your business' pink-themed efforts, please share in the comments section.

Writer Shannon K. Winning contributed to this article.

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