People gather at a bi visibility awareness month march, one protestor holds a sign with the bisexual flag colors that reads

Celebrating Bisexual Visibility Month

September isn’t just the beginning of fall here in Worcester, MA, it’s also known globally as Bisexual Visibility Month. This month-long celebration is all about honoring and uplifting the individuals who find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of bisexuality. Whether you're bisexual yourself or an ally, bisexuality has a long history and deserves to be recognized. Recognition is a form of celebration and encourages others to learn about the history of bisexuality and important bisexual men and women current day and historically.

Bi Visibility Month: A History

Bisexual Visibility Month, also known as Bisexual Awareness Month, has its roots in LGBTQ+ activism. September became officially recognized as Bi Visibility Month in 1999, thanks to the tireless efforts of Wendy Curry, Gigi Raven Wilbur, and other change-making LGBTQ+ activists. Officially, Bisexual Visibility Day is celebrated every year on September 23rd

The purpose of celebrating bisexuality for the month was simple yet profound: to shine a spotlight on bisexuality and to combat the stigma and stereotypes surrounding it. By devoting a whole month to celebrating and raising awareness about bisexuality, activists hope to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and respected. Read more in-depth about the history of bisexuality and the individuals who worked hard to be seen and heard.

So… What is Bi Visibility Month, Exactly?

Bi Visibility Month is a time to celebrate, educate, and advocate for the bisexual community. Historically, bisexuality has been widely misunderstood or written off entirely, leading to harmful stereotypes and erasure of bisexual identity and individuals. Dedicating the month of September to bisexual awareness provides a platform to debunk myths and foster understanding. Simply put, it’s all about letting people know that bisexuality is valid and that love knows no gender boundaries.

Someone holds up a sign at a pride parade that says "Bisexuals visible and fighting" in Spanish "Bisexuales visibles y en lucha" to show support for bi awareness and bi visibility.The Importance of Bisexual Visibility

LGBTQ+ activists envisioned a world in which everyone would be able to love who they love and suffer no discrimination, violence, or hate. Celebrating bisexual visibility every September is about creating a world where every bisexual individual feels safe to express themselves and their love, and is ultimately accepted and cherished for who they are.

Visibility matters because it helps combat biphobia and fosters inclusivity. When bisexual individuals see themselves not only acknowledged but represented and celebrated, it leads to increased self-acceptance and a sense of belonging. On the surface, this may seem simple, but cultivating these positive feelings actually leads to diminished experiences of depression and self-harm in the LGBTQ+ community. Bi Visibility Month is a step toward reducing mental health disparities in the bisexual community and improving overall well-being, physically and emotionally. 

Many people gather holding banners and signs in support of LGBTQ+ individuals, bi awareness and visibility, and the rest of the queer community at a pride parade or a bi visibility month march.Everyone Benefits

Bisexual Visibility Month isn't just for the bisexual community; it's for everyone. Below are a few reasons that Bisexual Visibility Month is crucial in our communities:

Education and Awareness: By learning about bisexuality, schools, workplaces, and families, are able to break down stereotypes and prejudices. This knowledge can lead to more inclusive and accepting communities. Learn more about bisexuality.

Support and Allyship: Celebrating Bisexual Visibility Month shows support for the bisexual community, making bisexual individuals feel valued, seen, and understood. Gain a deeper understanding of cultivating allyship.

Intersectionality: Bisexuality intersects with other aspects of identity, such as race, gender, and disability. Recognizing and celebrating this diversity promotes a more inclusive society and ensures the support of each and every individual. Read more about intersectionality.

Mental Health: As we mentioned earlier, increased visibility improves the mental health and well-being of bisexual individuals. A happier, healthier community benefits us all.

How To Get Involved

Celebrating Bisexual Visibility Month is all about participating to make a difference in our communities. Here are some ways to get involved…

Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about bisexuality, its history, and the challenges bisexual individuals face.

Show Your Support: Attend local events, engage with social media campaigns, and wear purple, the official color of Bisexual Visibility Month.

Amplify Bisexual Voices: Share articles, books, and art created by bisexual individuals. Give them a platform to share their experiences, and don’t forget to listen!

Donate: Consider donating to organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community.

An individual in a hot pink suit stands in front of a crowd at a pride parade, fist raised, or perhaps it's a bi visibility month celebration. Attend Inclusive Events

Celebrating Bi Visibility Month involves heightened awareness and learning, but it should also involve fun! 

We are excited to share that we have a fantastic event lined up for the beginning of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month! At Pawsitively 4 Pink, we have created an incredibly supportive and inclusive community centered around supporting local Worcester women battling breast cancer. Our events bring locals together to raise money for local underserved women so that we can make a direct financial impact on their lives. Join us on October 7th for our "Rhythm 4 Ribbons" event. We'll be hosting some incredible live music and local food trucks. This is a fantastic opportunity to connect in a safe, supportive environment and aid a worthy cause!

If you can’t make it to Rhythm 4 Ribbons, don’t worry - there are more events on the way! If you’re interested in getting involved in Pawsitively 4 Pink by hosting a percentage night or volunteering, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Or, support Worcester women fighting breast cancer with a direct donation. Every dollar makes a difference!


Woman holds breast cancer pink ribbon, pointing at it to encourage others to understand mammogram screening guidelines.

A Guide to Mammograms: What Age Do Mammograms Start, What Are Mammograms Like, and More

Firstly, we want to congratulate you on doing the necessary research to be ready for your mammogram! Yes, getting a mammogram for the first time is intimidating, but if you’ve successfully scheduled and overcome a pap smear, you are capable of anything.

Mammograms are used to detect early signs of breast cancer. Breast cancer is most treatable in its early stages, which is why preventative checks are so crucial for women. Mammograms are similar to getting an X-ray of your breast tissue. They allow doctors to physically see inside breasts to check out what, exactly, is happening in there. They’re especially useful because they really give the doctor everything they need to know - these days, mammograms capture even the most minute details, so they’re highly effective. Trust us, scheduling a mammogram is worth every woman’s time.

So, what’s the difference between a mammogram and an ultrasound?

An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the tissues within our bodies, which a computer then converts to an image.

A mammogram, on the other hand, is a low-dose version of an X-ray, which is why metal plates are needed during the procedure. The electrodes released during the mammogram have to bounce off the surrounding metal to capture the image of the mammogram, showing healthcare providers any breast cancer or other breast diseases present. Sometimes, both mammograms and ultrasounds are used in tandem to help the doctor understand what is going on within the breast.

Ultrasounds are not a replacement for mammograms of breast cancer, but aid doctors in checking any abnormal areas found in patients with mammograms of dense breast tissue. They are used in addition to a mammogram, but never replace one entirely!

Nowadays, doctors will decide to administer one of three types of mammograms: film-screen mammography, digital mammography in 2D, and digital mammography in 3D.

What is digital mammography in 2D?

This practice takes two images of each breast and uses them to create a 2D image of each. It was standard practice until 2011.

What is digital mammography in 3D?

Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, digital tomosynthesis, or just tomosynthesis, 3D digital mammography uses several images of each breast to create a detailed 3D image of the breast. This has become standard care for breast cancer after gaining approval from the FDA in 2011. Studies show that 3D digital mammography finds more cancers than the traditional 2D method and gives fewer false positives.

What is film-screen mammography?

This type of mammogram produces black-and-white images on film, takes a little more time to create, and was more commonly administered in the past.

Doctor listens to woman's heart with a stethoscope before her first mammogram.

What’s the age of the first mammogram in the U.S.?

The United States Preventative Services Taskforce recommends that women begin to regularly schedule screening mammograms at the age of 40. After, mammograms should be scheduled every one to two years for a breast check-up if there are no symptoms found.

When should I begin self-examining my breasts?

This is another crucial preventative step! And it’s a quick and simple process. Young women should begin self-examining their breasts as soon as they mature and their breasts stop growing, or around the age of 20. Read through this helpful guide on how to self-examine your breasts.

When women examine their breasts regularly beginning at a young age, they are more likely to discover any irregularities or changes before they develop into something more serious. Self-examination is another fantastic preventative practice all young women should include in their weekly schedules.

Waiting until the week after your period to conduct self-examinations is recommended to avoid any pain or abnormalities caused by hormone fluctuations and swelling.

When self-examining breasts, always look out for…

  • Lumps that are new, growing, or changing shape.
  • Swelling or thickening of a certain area or part of the breast or armpit.
  • Nipple abnormalities like reddening, flaking, pulling in, or discharge.
  • Pain that is sudden, irregular, or creates constant discomfort.
  • Changes in size that are sudden or seem out-of-the-blue, unrelated to hormonal fluctuations or periods.

If you discover any of these symptoms of breast cancer, reach out to your doctor or schedule a diagnostic mammogram with a doctor near you to check your breasts as soon as possible.

Take a closer look at mammogram screening guidelines.

So, whether it’s your first time getting a mammogram at age 40 or taking preventative steps and scheduling a diagnostic mammogram early,…

Doctor aids woman to get into correct position for her mammogram.Here’s Our Step-by-Step Guide to Your First Mammogram

Schedule a Mammogram Appointment:

  • Ask your doctor or do some research to find a reputable mammography facility or clinic in your area.
  • Call or register online to schedule an appointment.
  • Make sure they specialize in mammograms and have qualified radiologists!

Timing:

  • Avoid scheduling the appointment during the week before your period when your breasts may be more sensitive. Although mammograms are not invasive, pressure is applied to the breast which can create discomfort.

Clothing and Comfort:

  • We recommend wearing a two-piece outfit, as you'll need to undress from the waist up.
  • Avoid wearing deodorant, lotions, or powders on your upper body, as they can interfere with the imaging.

Communicate and Share:

  • Sharing your medical history, prior surgeries, or family history of breast cancer can help doctors provide the best care.
  • Always inform the technician if you have breast implants or have had any breast-related procedures or concerns.

How long do mammograms take?

  • Roughly 20 minutes!
  • You’ll be asked to undress from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear during the procedure.

The Procedure:

  • First, the technician will position your breast between two metal plates on the mammography machine.
  • Then, the plates will compress your breast for a few seconds to get the clearest images. While it may feel uncomfortable or slightly painful, it shouldn't be overly painful. Communicate any discomfort you feel to the technician.
  • Because mammograms usually involve two images of each breast taken from different angles, the technician may reposition your breast between images.

After the Procedure:

  • Once the images are taken, you'll be asked to wait while the technician ensures the images they captured are high-quality.
  • Once the quality of the images is confirmed, you can get dressed.

             Some women may experience mild bruising or temporary discomfort. This should subside quickly.

How long does it take to get mammogram test results?

  • You’ll receive your results within a few weeks after your radiologist interprets your mammogram and sends the results to your healthcare provider.

           Don't panic if you're called back for additional tests, as most callbacks do not indicate breast cancer.

What to Do Before and After a Mammogram:

  • Stay relaxed and take deep breaths before the procedure - always communicate discomfort and pain to your doctor!
  • Follow all instructions given to you by the mammography facility.
  • Afterward, continue to schedule regular mammogram screenings as recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Know your mammogram schedule and never skip routine screenings.

What Not to Do Before and After a Mammogram:

  • Don't wear metallic accessories or clothing items, as they interfere with the mammogram images.
  • Try not to schedule your mammogram at a time when your breasts are likely to be sore or swollen to avoid discomfort.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions and voice any concerns to your technician or radiologist.

We hope this guide on how to prepare for your first mammogram helps; that’s what we’re here for! At Pawsitively 4 Pink, our passion is providing direct financial support for local, underserved women fighting breast cancer. Please contact us to find out more about ways to help, or donate directly.


Health Care For Gays: Finding Inclusive Care for LGBTQ+

Here at Pawsitively 4 Pink, Pride month is a big deal! We wanted to help celebrate by spreading important info about finding supportive and comprehensive healthcare and health care professionals who are supportive of LGBTQ+ individuals. 

Anyone who has searched for a doctor knows how hard finding a high-quality professional can be - and that only gets exponentially more difficult when searching for an even smaller pool of healthcare professionals who have experience working with the LGBTQ+ community. Finding a doctor who is not only knowledgeable about specific needs but also supportive and open-minded is crucial to the patient’s overall well-being. 

A good, comprehensive, and open doctor is crucial as they provide the necessary care and create a safe space for patients to discuss their concerns without fear of judgment or discrimination. At Pawsitively 4 Pink we believe deeply that each and every person deserves adequate and complete health care no matter their sexuality or financial status, especially the women we serve who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Below are steps LBTQ+ individuals can take to find the doctor and care they deserve.

1. Look for Clues Online LGBTQ+ Friendly Health Care Providers: 

Start by researching healthcare providers in your area who explicitly state their commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusivity. This may be harder in some states than others, of course. Look for clinics, hospitals, or individual doctors who have affirming policies stated on their websites or have been recommended by LGBTQ+ organizations or community members. Check your surrounding area for women health care centers. Online directories like the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) or LGBTQ+ health advocacy groups are valuable resources to find gay and lesbian-friendly doctors.

If it’s unclear whether or not a provider or center is LBGTQ+ friendly, it’s a great idea to make an anonymous call and ask whether or not the center sees LGBTQ+ patients on a regular basis or has gender-affirming spaces. The way staff answers these inquiries will provide even more clues as to whether or not this space is right for you.

Doctor who provides LGBTQ+ affirming care and specialized knowledge for their LGBTQ+ patients holds up a cut-out chat bubble, encouraging patients to start the conversation.2. Seek Out Recommendations: 

Rely on the community to help guide your search. Reach out to friends, family, or members of LGBTQ+ communities and ask them about their experiences with healthcare providers. Personal recommendations provide invaluable insights into which doctors who are knowledgeable, supportive, and open to providing inclusive health care for gays and other LGBTQ+ individuals. 

Crucially, your community will also steer clear of noninclusive or downright non-affirming providers. Consider joining local LGBTQ+ support groups or online forums on sites like Facebook groups or Reddit to connect with individuals and learn from others’ experiences.

3. Schedule a Consultation: 

Once you have identified potential doctors, schedule consultations or introductory appointments with your top choices. Use this opportunity to advocate for yourself by discussing your concerns, personal medical history, and asking questions. 

Based on the provider’s response, you will be able to quickly gauge their understanding of LGBTQ+ healthcare. Pay attention to their responses or hesitations, body language, and overall attitude toward your inquiries to ensure they are knowledgeable and respectful. A good doctor will be open to learning and willing to adapt their practices to meet your unique needs and concerns.

For urgent questions, resources like Roo, a chatbot released by Planned Parenthood, are a great starting point for those who can’t get to a doctor immediately. 

Image of a stethoscope resting over a rainbow heart and a paper cut-out family with two moms represents the importance of gay friendly health care and LGBTQ+ affirming doctors in gay family planning and gay healthcare support.4. Consider Specializations: 

While general practitioners provide primary care, it’s worthwhile to consider seeking specialists who have expertise in LGBTQ+ healthcare or specifically women's health. They are sure to have an even deeper understanding of the specific health challenges faced by LBTQ+ women. This would be especially beneficial for someone struggling with long-term health issues, chronic illnesses, or even breast cancer.

5. Trust Yourself: 

No matter what you read or hear, always trust your gut when choosing a doctor. Finding comfort and trust in your health care provider is essential for establishing a strong doctor-patient relationship. If you have hesitations towards your doctor, you may not tell them the full story 100% of the time, which in turn has the potential to cause inadequate care. 

If you feel uneasy or judged during your initial consultation, it is a sign that this doctor is not the right fit for you. Do not give up! There are plenty of doctors out there, so schedule multiple consultations to give yourself a few different options to consider. Each doctor will be able to provide something unique, and it’s only a matter of time before you find the right one for you.

Remember: Health care for gays and LBTQ+ individuals is your right! You deserve a healthcare professional who listens to you, respects your choices, and addresses your concerns with empathy and understanding.

That’s what we’re all about: Providing financial support to local underserved women battling breast cancer. If you’re passionate about helping women, get in touch to explore volunteer opportunities. Or, if you're struggling with a breast cancer diagnosis, please join our support group.


The Importance of Self-love in the Breast Cancer Journey

While one incredible aspect of your fight against cancer is realizing the mass quantity of people in your life that deeply love and care about you, radical self-love will be what buoys you through your cancer journey.

In many ways, the externally sourced love that our friends, family, and spouses provide is one of the most beautiful things we can experience. External love is highly sought after but comes in second place after true self-love. We can practice true self-love by taking the time to understand, nourish, and care for ourselves deeply, hence providing the courage, resilience, and positivity that help remedy breast cancer.

The breast cancer journey - from diagnosis to treatment and remission - is a winding path that only one person in your life will witness every second of. That’s you. Bearing witness to your illness, struggle, and eventually overcoming cancer altogether is you; body, mind, and soul. That’s why it's critical to give yourself the love you need, to treat every part of you with the same respect, diligence, and duty that you provide to those around you. Nourishing your body with the right food and drink, your mind with enriching books or entertaining TV shows, and your spirit with mindfulness or gratitude practice is exactly what will guide your recovery during all the highs and especially the lows.

A woman walks through a field of blooming sunflowers on a bluebird sky day, she seems to exude the essence of the importance of self-love.Self-compassion is bound to bloom

It’s easier said than done. Self-love can prove difficult for many, especially those who fall into the traditional female role; or those who have been the givers in our society rather than the receivers of selflessness and affection. It takes radical self-awareness and strength to turn that practice of giving around and, instead, aim it at ourselves. While it may be uncomfortable at first, getting used to practicing self-love provides us with the energy we need to make it through each day. There are a myriad of ways to explore and practice spiritually; from self-love affirmations, to self-love books, to even authoring a breast cancer blog that reflects on your journey and celebrates your achievements. A personal journal is another great way to let it all out - and there’s no need to be strictly positive here! Sometimes, the best way to feel heard is to let your deepest concerns and negative feelings out onto the page. Self-expression is essential to self-love; it’s important even on tougher days. Make space to listen to yourself.

Inspirational quotes about beating breast cancer and breast cancer affirmations may not be something you’ve appreciated in the past, but studies show that this intentional positivity brings self-awareness to the parts of ourselves that need it most. Many medical professionals believe that positivity affects everything from physical recovery after invasive surgeries to even lowering levels of pain and more. Many who receive their diagnosis have certain ideas regarding breast cancer. For example, some may think that the only person who is able to change the situation is the doctor, when it’s actually true that each sick individual has a certain power to shape their experience. So even if you’ve never tried it before, take a minute to say some of these self-love affirmations out loud to yourself. It’s even more helpful to repeat them while looking at yourself lovingly into a mirror. One of our favorites is “I bloom where I am planted. My roots have never been stronger.”

The silhouette of a woman practicing self-love and exercising with her arm outstretched while the sun rises behind her.Self-love sews the seeds of resilience

We strengthen our roots with self-love. Really paying attention to our needs, wants, and desires, and making sure those parts of ourselves feel heard is crucial because it’s what aids you in continuing to value yourself during such a tumultuous time. Valuing yourself in these moments when you may not feel as lovable as you once did is what builds resilience and tolerance for your lowest lows. Sometimes, knowing that you’re not alone in your experience is exactly the recognition, validation, and inspiration we need to keep going. 

Our founder Michelle shares her story here, about the realizations she had while witnessing her mother and close friends battle against cancer and the thoughtful advice she has for patients and survivors. One suggestion she has is to keep both your body and mind nourished with healthy foods. Maintaining a well-fuelled body while you fight a detrimental physical illness is one of the keys to staying positive; there is no line where the body ends and the other mind begins. Staying healthy physically is also the key to staying balanced mentally. You can find eight of her favorite recipes for fighters and survivors here.

Noteboard with the typed words SELF CARE ISN'T SELFISH, a guiding affirmation meant for those struggling with cancer.Becoming your own best friend

For some who struggle with self-love, it helps to imagine what you would say to or do for your best friend, or imagine that you are your own child. For many, it is easiest to show those closest to us unconditional love, and tapping into that feeling you have for your best friend, spouse, children, or parents is the most effective way to start to redirect that love back to yourself. Imagine seeing a loved one struggling the way you are and imagine what you would do for them. Maybe you would go to their house to watch their favorite movie and eat popcorn side by side, or make or buy them a small gift, or even bring them a bouquet of flowers. Now, try doing one of those things for yourself. 

Another similar tool for starting your self-love journey is keeping a list of the activities and things you really enjoy - chocolate molten lava cake, listening to Fleetwood Mac, lighting a candle and drawing a bath, taking your dog for a long walk - and intentionally choose to do one of those things for yourself every day. Loving yourself throughout your cancer journey will make you endlessly compassionate towards yourself on the hard days, and motivate you to stay positive on your good days. We at Pawsitively 4 Pink know firsthand that there is no better way to spend your time than loving yourself well; you are your best asset.


How can I afford breast cancer treatment?

This is a question that you shouldn’t have to worry about. 

Cancer is a life-altering and emotionally draining disease, and on top of all that, the cost of treatment can be very overwhelming. Many individuals and families struggle to afford breast cancer treatment and all the necessary medications, procedures, therapies, and aftercare that come with the illness. We understand how challenging this process can be, which is why we're here to provide guidance on finding financial support to meet your needs.

Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions on breast cancer treatment as well as some options you may want to consider. 

Is Breast Cancer Treatment Expensive? 

The short answer is yes, unfortunately, it can be very expensive. Cancer patients have one priority: to get better. But, the reality is that the average cost of breast cancer treatment without insurance can range from $10,000 to $200,000, which is often more than the individual’s annual income. Even with health insurance, the out-of-pocket costs can still be expensive. Co-pays, co-insurance, and pre-deductible expenses can vary depending on your plan and the treatments required for your situation and type of breast cancer. With all these different factors, it’s impossible to estimate an exact cost until after consulting with a doctor about the potential options available.

Person calculating how to afford breast cancer treatmentIs There Any Financial Help for Breast Cancer Patients?

The good news is there are lots of organizations out there that want to help. Depending on your individual situation, you may qualify for grants or other forms of assistance from government programs like Medicare or Medicaid. You can also research local community resources such as churches, community centers, and charitable organizations. Many of them have programs specifically designed to provide affordable medical services and treatments otherwise unavailable due to economic status or location. Non-profits like Pawsitively 4 Pink offer support through grant programs that supply financial assistance for both treatments and living expenses to those who are affected by a breast cancer diagnosis. Be sure to research every option available to you – you don’t want to miss out on any potential sources of help. And please don't forget that you don't have to go through this alone. Seek compassionate and experienced professionals who will listen and guide you through the maze of options without judgment. 

If you don’t qualify for a grant or other form of aid, there are still other ways you can get help paying for breast cancer treatment. One option is to ask your doctor or medical provider if they will allow payment plans or discounts. In some cases, they may be willing to work with you on alternative arrangements if needed. Furthermore, most pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs that offer free or discounted medicines and treatments.

Women searching for help paying for breast cancer treatment onlineAffordable Cancer Treatment Options

If you’re still seeking more options, there are other alternative treatments for breast cancer patients. Even when funds are scarce, it doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality care. While traditional healthcare may be too expensive for some people budget-wise, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives. Some people supplement their treatment with holistic healing methods like naturopathy or dietary supplements, self-care habits such as regular exercise, and stress reduction techniques. 

Clinical trials are another avenue you might explore if you’re worried about the cost of breast cancer treatment without insurance. Many trials offer financial benefits such as free tests and medications in exchange for participation in the program itself. Of course, it’s important to discuss alternative treatments with your doctor before pursuing them.

Close up of hands people holding hands while talking about affordable cancer treatmentHaving breast cancer can be a very overwhelming and frightening experience, but it’s important to remember that you don't have to face it alone. It’s okay to ask for help and support from your family, friends, and even community – they are there to help you during this difficult time! If you are worried about not being able to afford breast cancer treatment, remember that there are organizations that provide valuable resources like financial assistance, support groups, and even counseling services. No matter what lies ahead in your battle with cancer, try to keep positive thoughts in your mind and reach out for any help that you may need. If you have any more questions or would like to connect with members of our support group, please join us on Facebook, and don't hesitate to reach out. If you have any more questions or would like to connect with members of our support group, please don't hesitate to reach out. We wish you all the best on your journey to recovery!


How to Choose a Non-Profit to Donate to

Have you been looking for a way to give back to your community and make a positive impact? Supporting a non-profit organization is one of the best ways to do just that. Choosing where to donate to can be somewhat difficult and overwhelming, with so many great causes out there. There are more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the US alone! It’s important to understand the challenges of the non-profit world and how to navigate the process of choosing which one to donate to.

Between selecting a cause that aligns with your values, researching potential organizations, and determining how exactly you want your money to be spent, it might seem like you have your work cut out for you. But don’t let that deter you from making the right choice! We’re here to make this process as simple as possible. Join us as we walk through the important steps in finding the right fit for your financial contributions. Remember, no donation is too small!

Let’s clear up some misinformation…

The statistics used in relation to non-profit donations are often widely misconstrued. It’s not uncommon to hear numbers as high as 90% when it comes to what percentage of philanthropic dollars come from individual donors. For example, this 2019 report on sources of contributions for non-profits shows that 69% comes from individuals, 17% from foundations, 10% from bequests, and 5% from corporations. Remember that larger organizations skew this data significantly, and the numbers can look very different for smaller non-profits. More recent data on the non-profit economy shows that although 70% of charitable contributions are from individuals, their donations only make up 13% of total non-profit revenue. 

This deceptive claim that the majority of non-profit donations come from individuals does a massive disservice to small organizations. It’s easy to feel disheartened as a non-profit worker living under the impression that five-dollar donations will make up the large majority of your annual proceeds. It’s also important to note that this misinformation doesn’t include organizations that are led by marginalized communities that rely on foundations and government funding.

Deciding between small and large organizations

As far as donations go, it’s no secret that the majority of them go to large, well-known non-profits. In fact, they often seem to be the only organizations receiving funding. Smaller, local non-profits often get overlooked in favor of these larger entities due to size and awareness. As a result, the institutions with the most to give are less likely to donate money or resources to smaller organizations when selecting their beneficiaries. So in the case of medical non-profits, hospitals tend to donate exclusively to big-name organizations. Funders have the power to set the benchmark in a way, meaning other donors will often follow in their steps. 

Unfortunately, this means that many worthy causes don't receive the help they need from more prominent institutions. This is particularly true when it comes to breast cancer non-profit organizations like our own. The very nature of the mission limits our outreach capabilities compared to other organizations and thus it can be difficult to generate enough support and donations from those who have the power to provide financial assistance. 

The lack of attention given to smaller, local non-profits not only deprives these important programs of much-needed resources but also denies people access to potentially life-saving information or treatments. 

It’s important for individuals themselves as well as healthcare institutions alike to step up and show support for these organizations in order for them to continue their life-saving work. Donations don’t necessarily have to be monetary either. Time spent volunteering or spreading awareness can make just as much difference in helping these small charities achieve their goals and making a difference in someone’s life along the way.

Steps to finding your perfect match

Keeping that all in mind, when it comes to picking the best non-profit organization to donate to, it's important for individuals to take the time to research and evaluate their choices. Follow these steps to find an organization that aligns with your values and spends your funds wisely.

1. Select a cause

As a first step, it's crucial to select a cause that aligns with your values. Think about what matters most to you—whether it's environmental conservation, animal welfare, poverty alleviation, breast cancer support, or something else entirely—and look for an organization that is dedicated to educating the public and making progress on this issue.

2. Research potential organizations

Once you've identified an area of focus, you can now research potential organizations that specialize in this field. Use websites such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar to read reviews and get a comprehensive overview of the non-profits that could be a fit. It's also helpful to dive into the mission statement of each organization and get a better idea of how they're approaching their given mission. After doing some background research on these potential candidates, narrow down your list based on which ones you feel best align with your goals and values.

3. Determine how your dollar will be spent

Considering practical tips can also help individuals when choosing a non-profit organization. One thing we suggest is to spend some time looking into the financials of each organization. Although it’s not always the deciding factor for where donors should give their money, it’s important to have an idea of where funds are going within each individual charity. 

It’s also a good idea to make sure donations are exempt from taxes by ensuring that each non-profit is registered with the IRS as 501(c)(3) status. If you prefer giving locally, check out community foundations or United Way chapters for ideas in your area. 

4. Find out if your company will match your donation

Lastly, consider any possible donation-matching programs at work or in your community. Corporate matching gifts are a popular form of philanthropy in which companies financially match donations that their employees make to nonprofits. This type of charitable contribution by businesses allows them to show their support for charities, both large and small. When an employee chooses to donate, they can request that their employer match the donation, usually at a 1:1 ratio. However, some employers may choose to increase the match ratio to 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1, depending on the cause and their financial capacities. 

Donating through corporate matching programs is an excellent opportunity for your dollar to go further and do more good in the world. The process is simple – after donating and submitting receipts from your donation transactions, you can contact your employer’s HR department and ask if they offer a corporate gift match policy. If so, you can request that they match your full or partial donation amount as applicable!

In all cases, picking a non-profit organization should take into account both personal values as well as practical considerations so that donors can make sure their contributions are having maximum impact on the cause they care most about. If you are able to make a donation of any size, pay it forward. You can make a true difference in this world!


Types of Breast Cancer

What are the Different Types of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer affects millions of women around the world. While it is often thought of as a single type, there are actually many different types of breast cancer, each with its own unique set of symptoms and treatment options. With early detection and proper treatment, many women are able to fight it and go on to lead long and healthy lives.

It's important to get an accurate diagnosis from a qualified medical professional- sometimes even multiple, as second opinions in these cases are helpful. Once you know the type of breast cancer you have, your doctor will begin to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

Additionally, doctors may also consider the genetic makeup of cancer when making a diagnosis. This classification is important because it helps doctors predict how cancer will respond to specific treatments. By understanding the different types of breast cancer, doctors can develop personalized treatment plans that are more likely to be effective.

Types of Breast CancerInvasive Breast Cancer vs. Noninvasive Breast Cancer

When most people think of breast cancer, they think of a tumor that is contained within the breast. However, cancer can also spread beyond the breast and into the surrounding tissue. This is known as invasive breast cancer. Invasive breast cancer occurs when the original tumor breaks through the wall of the duct or lobule and begins to grow into the surrounding tissue. Early detection is key to successful treatment and it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of invasive breast cancer so that you can seek medical help if necessary.

While non-invasive breast cancer is not as serious as invasive breast cancer, it is still important to seek treatment because it can progress to a more serious form of the disease. There are several types of non-invasive breast cancer, including Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) and Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS). Treatment for non-invasive breast cancer typically involves surgery to remove the abnormal cells. In some cases, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may also be recommended.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) is a condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of the breast milk duct. The atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. DCIS is a highly treatable and very early cancer, but if it’s left untreated or undetected, it may spread into the surrounding breast tissue. DCIS is usually found on a mammogram and appears as small calcium deposits in the ducts.

Although DCIS doesn't typically cause any signs or symptoms, it can sometimes lead to the development of a breast lump or bloody nipple discharge. DCIS is usually discovered during a routine mammogram when it appears as small clusters of calcifications that have irregular shapes and sizes. If you notice any changes in your breasts, it's important to see a doctor for further evaluation. While DCIS itself is not life-threatening, it can increase your risk of developing invasive breast cancer if left untreated. If you have DCIS, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options. Treatment for DCIS may include surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy. In some cases, no treatment is necessary if the DCIS is found early and isn’t causing any symptoms.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 

If you have been diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), it means that cancer started in the milk ducts of your breast. The good news is that IDC is the most common type of breast cancer, so you are not alone. In fact, about 80% of all breast cancers are IDC. Treatment for IDC typically involves surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. With early detection and proper treatment, the prognosis for IDC is generally very good. So if you have been diagnosed with IDC, be sure to talk to your doctor about your treatment options and make a plan that is right for you. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma typically affects people over the age of 55. However, transwomen are more likely to develop breast cancer than cisgender men, while transmen are less likely to develop breast cancer than cisgender women. 

Your healthcare professional will usually check for lumps in the breast tissue. Lumps can be benign or malignant, so it's important to have them assessed by a qualified medical practitioner. Your healthcare professional might also check for swollen lymph nodes beneath your arms, as these can sometimes be an indication of breast cancer. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action. It's important to have regular screenings for breast cancer, especially if you're at high risk. Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is often detected during routine mammograms, and if your doctor suspects you may have IDC, they may also conduct additional tests, like an MRI or ultrasound. A biopsy may also be necessary to remove a small sample of breast tissue for further analysis. Screenings are crucial because they can help catch IDC early when it's most treatable. Treatment for IDC typically includes surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. With early detection and treatment, this can be successfully managed.

Types of Breast CancerInvasive Lobular Carcinoma

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) is a type of breast cancer that starts in the lobules, which are the glands in the breast that produce milk. ILC is the second most common type of breast cancer, accounting for about 10% of all invasive breast cancers. ILC is often mistaken for other types of breast cancer because it can appear similarly on mammograms. However, ILC tends to grow more diffusely, and it is often not palpable on physical examination. In addition, ILC is more likely to be associated with certain genetic mutations, such as those in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Treatment for ILC generally follows the same principles as a treatment for IDC and includes surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of ILC, so it is important for women to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of this disease.

Unlike other types of breast cancer, which often cause a distinct lump to form, invasive lobular carcinoma typically grows larger and causes more diffused changes in the breast. In some cases, an area of thickening or fullness may be noticeable in the breast. The skin over the breast may also change texture or appearance, it will be dimpled or thickened and the nipple may become inverted. As with other types of breast cancer, it is important to consult a doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts. 

Lobular Carcinoma in Situ and Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia

Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS) is non-invasive breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing lobules of the breast. Although its name suggests otherwise, LCIS is not true breast cancer and does not spread beyond the lobules where it starts. In fact, LCIS is not even considered a precancerous condition, as it does not increase a woman's risk of developing invasive breast cancer. However, LCIS may be found in conjunction with other breast abnormalities, such as atypical hyperplasia, which can increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. For this reason, women with LCIS should be sure to undergo regular Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) screenings. The BCSC recommends that women with LCIS have a clinical breast exam every six months and a mammogram every year. If you have been diagnosed with LCIS, or think you may be at risk, talk to your doctor about the best course of action for you.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a type of breast cancer that often causes the breast to become red, swollen, and inflamed. This is a rare but aggressive form of the disease. Its symptoms are different from those of other types of breast cancer, and it tends to spread quickly. Cancer cells block lymphatic vessels in your breast, causing the skin to thicken or discolor breast skin with tiny dimples, puckers, or ridges that make it look like an orange peel. In addition to these physical changes, you may also experience fatigue, itching, pain, and a burning sensation in your breast.

Early detection is key, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this type of cancer. If you notice any changes in your breasts, see a doctor right away. Prompt treatments are available that can improve the prognosis. Chemotherapy is often used to reduce the size of the tumor before surgery, and radiation therapy is often used after surgery to remove any remaining cancerous cells. While IBC is an aggressive form of cancer, with proper treatment many patients can recover and live long and healthy lives.

Types of Breast CanceerBreast Sarcoma

Breast Sarcoma is challenging to detect in its early stages because it does not usually cause a lump or change in the appearance of the breast and is generally found during a routine mammogram or self-breast exam. However, if the tumor begins to grow, it can cause pain and swelling. 

Breast Sarcomas are a type of cancer that can either be primary or secondary tumors. A primary tumor originates in the breast, while a secondary tumor has spread from another part of the body. Some inherited genetic disorders are known to increase one's risk of developing a primary breast sarcoma, but the cause is often unknown. Secondary tumors can develop after radiation therapy, chronic lymphedema, certain chemicals, some forms of chemotherapy, and immune system diseases. While breast sarcoma is rare, it is important to be aware of the symptoms, the most common sign is a lump or mass that can be felt under the skin. These lumps are usually painless, but they may cause discomfort if they press on nearby nerves or blood vessels. Sarcoma may also cause bone pain, either as a result of the tumor pressing on the bone or from cancer cells causing the bone to break down. Other signs and symptoms of sarcoma include abdominal pain and weight loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor.

Metaplastic Carcinoma

Metaplastic Carcinoma is a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer that is characterized by the presence of two or more types of cancer cells. Compared to other types of breast cancer, metaplastic breast cancer is faster growing and more likely to metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body. This unique cancer is often difficult to diagnose and treat, as it can contain elements of both carcinoma and sarcoma. However, recent advances in genetic analysis have allowed doctors to better understand the biology of metaplastic carcinoma and develop targeted treatments. 

While metaplastic breast cancer is serious, patients should remember that they are not alone. There are many support groups and resources available to help patients through every step of their journey.

Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer and Progesterone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer

There are several types of breast cancer, and each type is characterized by the presence of specific receptors on the surface of the cancer cells. Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that can fuel cancer growth. Cells from your breast cancer can be tested for receptors on these hormones. Breast cancer can contain receptors for one of these hormones, both, or neither. 

Estrogen receptor-positive means that the hormone can attach to the receptor and potentially stimulate the cancer cells to grow. However, not all breast cancers are fueled by hormones. If your breast cancer is hormone receptor-positive, you may be treated with hormone therapy, which is a type of treatment that works by lowering the number of hormones in the body or blocking the action of hormones on breast cancer cells. 

Another type of breast cancer, known as progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer, is sensitive to the hormone progesterone. This means that the cancer cells have receptors that allow them to use progesterone to grow. Endocrine therapy is a treatment that blocks the growth of cancer cells by preventing them from using hormones like progesterone. In the case of progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer, endocrine therapy can be an effective treatment option.

Types of Breast CancerHER2-Positive Breast Cancer

HER2-Positive Breast Cancer tends to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, but it is also more responsive to treatment that targets the HER2 protein. There are no unusual symptoms or risk factors associated with this type of cancer, although some studies suggest that it is more common among younger women under 40 years. Ultimately, HER2-positive breast cancer is a serious condition that requires prompt treatment. However, with the right treatment plan, it is possible to achieve remission and enjoy a good quality of life.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Triple-Negative Breast Cancers are classified as such because they lack receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2. It is more aggressive and harder to treat than other types of breast cancer because they don’t respond to drugs that target estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors. Women with triple-negative breast cancer are mainly treated with chemotherapy or take part in clinical trials. Studies show that genetic mutations are more common in women with triple-negative breast cancer, even if they don’t have any family history of breast cancer. If you have triple-negative breast cancer, talk to your doctor about genetic counseling and testing for hereditary forms of breast cancer, such as those linked to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and other genetic mutations. Knowing if you have a genetic mutation helps your doctors determine the best course of treatment for you.

Breast Papilloma

Breast papillomas, also known as intraductal papillomas, are small, wartlike growths that can occur in the milk ducts of the breast. Although ductal papillomas are not cancerous, they can increase the risk of developing breast cancer if left untreated. It can cause a clear or bloody discharge from the nipple, or you may feel a small lump behind or next to the nipple. In some cases, multiple papillomas may be present, which has been linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. However, having a single papilloma does not appear to raise the risk of breast cancer. Treatment for breast papillomas typically involves removing the growths surgically. In some cases, radiation therapy may also be recommended.

Types of Breast Cancer

The chance of developing breast cancer increases with age and with certain lifestyle choices, such as drinking alcohol, being overweight or obese, not exercising, and taking hormone replacement therapy. Treatment for breast cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy. The type of treatment depends on the stage of cancer and the person's wishes. After you know your type of breast cancer, it’s important to ask your doctor what that means for your outlook and what treatments are available each with its prognosis and treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get a second opinion if you need one. With the right information and support, you can fight breast cancer head-on. 

Women often feel isolated and confused when they are newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Connecting with other women who have been through this same experience can help you feel supported and less lonely in such difficult times.


I Found a Lump in My Breast...Now What?

You’re in front of your dresser and your hand runs through your chest. You feel something and just to be certain, you touch your breast again and this time, you’re sure that you felt a lump. Most women self-examine their breasts and once they find a lump, they freeze. Now the question is, what do you do when this happens?

First and foremost, don’t panic. Research shows that 85%  of breast lumps are benign, which means they are noncancerous, especially in women who haven’t yet hit 40. Women over 40 are normally encouraged to have regular mammograms and if those mammograms always turn negative, the odds are even higher that the lump you felt isn’t cancerous.

According to most obstetricians, before a palpable lump appears on a woman’s breast, something will already have been detected during a mammogram screening. Despite most women knowing this, the worrying and stress it has not stopped anyone from worrying once they feel a lump. The only way to be sure is to differentiate between a benign lump and a breast cancer lump.

Understanding your breasts

Your breasts consist of fat, blood vessels, nerves, glandular tissue, fibrous connective tissue, ducts, and milk-producing lobules. All these make your breasts quite lumpy. The major difference between a benign lump and a cancerous lump is that a benign one is fluid-filled and rolls between your fingers. A cancerous lump is normally hard and feels stuck in one place.

The other difference has to do with pain. Breast cancer, in most cases, doesn’t cause pain. Inflammatory breast cancer is an exception to this, as it comes with symptoms of aching or burning in the breast. Benign conditions might also be accompanied by painful symptoms, but at times, this isn’t the case.

The only sure way to know the nature of a breast lump is via medical tests such as a mammogram, fine needle aspiration, or ultrasound. These tests should be done at a medical facility that has all the equipment and with experts who can read the results.

Understanding the tests

What is a mammogram?

An X-ray examination of the breast is referred to as a mammogram. It is a process used to detect breast diseases or any breast problems, such as nipple discharge, lumps, or pain. This procedure enables the detection of benign tumors, cysts, and breast cancers before they can be detected via touch. All women are encouraged to frequently do a mammogram, whether or not they have breast health-related issues.

There are factors or conditions that may affect your mammogram results, such as

  • Having had a previous breast surgery
  • Hormonal breast changes
  • Deodorant, lotions, creams, or talcum powder applied on breasts or under the arms
  • Breast implants; these prevent the complete visualization of the breast area, hence hiding tissue

You should inform your medical examiner if any of these apply to you so that they can make the required preparations.

How to prepare yourself for a mammogram

The first thing is scheduling a date for the mammogram. It is advisable to do this two weeks before your period starts because breasts do become tender a week before and during menstruation. Once again, if you have breast implants, please notify the facility when scheduling the exam.

Expectant mothers or those who think they might be pregnant should consult a medical doctor before scheduling a mammogram. Discuss all options with your doctor. If you are breastfeeding, you should mention this to the mammography technician.

Avoid using lotion, perfume, deodorant, or powder on the day of the examination. Note that you'll have to remove clothes from the waist up, so wear something that you can easily get out of. It is also advisable to leave all jewelry and valuables at home. The health care provider or technologist will request other specific preparation based on your medical condition.

What is a fine-needle aspiration or FNA?

There are situations where a mammogram can’t prove that a certain body area is cancerous even though there are high chances that it is. In such situations, the tissue will be extracted via a needle for biopsy. The tissue will then be scrutinized under a microscope to determine if it is cancer or not.

FNA is just one of the several breast biopsy procedures as the type of biopsy done depends on the size and location of the breast lump.

How to prepare yourself for a biopsy

The entire procedure should be explained to you by the technologist and you should ask all the questions you might have. A consent form will be provided, but you should go through it carefully before signing anything. Once again, seek clarification on points that you don’t understand.

If your breast is numbed using local anesthesia and you are awake, then you don’t have much preparation. If general anesthesia will be used to put you into a deep sleep, then you will have to fast before the surgery. Your surgeon will explain everything before the procedure.

Once again, apply nothing to your breast or underarms. Inform your healthcare provider if you suspect you could be pregnant or you are pregnant. You should also inform them of any allergies. Perhaps you could be allergic to latex or anesthesia. You should also let them know if you are on any medication or taking supplements. This is also the time to say if you have a history of bleeding disorders.

Since you will be drowsy and groggy after, ensure that someone is on standby to drive you home.

What is an ultrasound?

When sound waves are used to examine your breasts, we refer to the method as a breast ultrasound. It will help the medical examiner spot any issues and also see how well blood flows to your breast areas. Ultrasounds are normally used when there is a change that fails to show up in a mammogram.

A breast ultrasound is not normally used to detect breast cancer, the reason being that it may fail to detect some early signs. For example, one early cancer sign it might not detect is micro-calcifications, which are small calcium deposits. So in what cases are an ultrasound method used?

  • When the breast tissue is really dense and the mammogram cannot see through it
  • When pregnant. Ultrasound doesn’t make use of radiation like mammography.
  • You are below 25 years of age
  • When there is a need to look at the surrounding lymph nodes. This is essential when removing cyst fluid or guiding a needle during a biopsy.
  • The health provider may recommend other reasons

How to prepare yourself for an ultrasound

Your healthcare service provider should explain the entire procedure to you. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions that you may have. There are situations where you might be given a consent form to sign before the test. It is important that you go through the form carefully and ask for clarification when something is not clear.

There is no need to stop eating or drinking before the test. Just relax and please, don’t take any medicine for it. Breathe easy. Once again, avoid putting lotion, deodorant, or any other substances on your breasts that day. You should also wear clothes you can easily take off and that allow the technologist to easily examine your chest area. Some gel will be applied to your skin during the test. Follow any other instructions as required during the test.

Information is power, so when you feel a lump on your breast, seek medical advice as ll breast lumps should be evaluated by a medical professional. Once the cause of the lump is established, treatment can begin. So, finding a lump on your breast is not always a cause for alarm, it is a cause for taking the right action.

If you’d like to help make a difference in the lives of women experiencing breast cancer, you volunteer with us a Pawsitively 4 Pink or make a small donation.


Tips on Staying positive during hard times

Staying PAWsitive During a Difficult Time

Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Tips on Staying positive during hard times

It’s often said that hard times don't last, but the question is, how can you overcome those hard times? How can you get to the place of celebrating your resilience? When the present moment isn’t ideal, staying positive during a difficult time isn’t easy. 

First and foremost, you need to understand that difficult times do occur in life. Once you accept that fact, then you can deal with any situation head-on. If you are having difficulties financially, socially, or in terms of health, here are a few ways to help you stay positive during this difficult time until you reach the finish line.

1. Guard your mind

You are what you think. Therefore, you should filter any negative thoughts before they take up residence in your mind. It's true that when something negative occurs in our lives, we are wired to get bombarded with negative thoughts, and unfortunately, this is very normal. But the issue isn’t those negative thoughts. The issue is how long you will let them drag you down. Choose to see the positive side of things. See yourself making it. Do not focus on the event, focus on the process of getting out of there. Having a positive mindset can make a world of a difference. 

2. Meditate

Different kinds of meditation can help you maintain a positive mindset. One method of meditation is to focus on what improves your attitude, feelings, and healing. You can even create your own personal mantra. Say something positive every morning when you wake up. Think of one thing that you can focus on and think through it with no stress or tension. You can think about your favorite memories and hold on to them. The same energy you use to focus on negative things is the same amount of energy you can use to focus on the positive. Being intentional about the energy you create around yourself is essential to staying positive. Focusing on the positive is energy conservation and can drastically improve your mental health.

3. Keep a gratitude journal

Gratitude is the antidote to a poor attitude. The best way to continually express your gratitude is by keeping a journal. Be mindful about being grateful and find something to be thankful for each day.  This way, you will give less power to negative emotions. Your mind will be programmed to think on the positive side of things. Your self-esteem will improve and instead of resenting your difficult situation, you will be thankful for something. Spending some time writing down your thoughts before you go to bed will also help you sleep better as your mind will be clear of any clutter.

4. Listen to some good music

Difficult times should not stop you from enjoying the best or your favorite things in life. Music is one of these things and all you need to do is tune in to your favorite radio station or open up that Spotify playlist. Music helps you express your feelings unashamedly. According to research, music can evoke a more positive mood. You can roar like a tiger with Katy Perry or become a survivor with Diana Ross. And if a sad song comes on air? Go through the motions, cry all the tears you want, and clear your system. After that, hold your head up high, stay positive, and keep going, because you got this.

5. Spend time with loved ones

You are the average sum of the people who you spend the most time with. So, invest your time appropriately. Think of those friends and family members who make you smile when you are feeling down. These people could be anywhere in the world, but they want to be around you. This is the support system you need since you can be your genuine self around them. Share with them, talk with them, rant, or even be silent with them. These are friends who inspire you to be courageous and spending time with such people improves your attitude and positive outlook on life. Your mind will absorb all this positivity and use it as an immune booster. Plus, such close friends are also good at ensuring you take care of yourself, even during the hardest times when you don’t feel like it.

6. Enjoy more of the sun

It’s a well-known fact that spending too much time in the sun is dangerous. However, there is also evidence that spending moderate time under the sun is good for your mood and body clock. Apply that SPF and enjoy some time soaking in the rays and getting some Vitamin D. This will not only help you sleep better and improve your circadian rhythm, but it will also cheer you up. It’s been proven that getting sun increases your serotonin which helps with anxiety and depression. Next time you have a few minutes, go for a walk, plan a picnic, or sit in the garden to help improve your mood and positive thinking. 

7. Take a walk with your PAWsitive friend

Why not get fit and have fun while doing it? Daily walks with your dog (or cat, if they want) are a great way to take your mind off things. Going on regular walks with your dog is a form of exercise that will not only benefit your physical health like your joints and muscles but will help you get your mind off things. Be present and take in the sights and sounds. Simply establish a routine to make it part of your daily life. At times you may not feel like going for a walk, but whether it’s with the help of your dog with those puppy eyes or a glance at your daily agenda, remind yourself that a little exercise and some pet therapy can do you some good.  

8. Do something nice for others

Do something for someone when they least expect it. Say a kind word or offer them some tea or baked treats. Putting a smile on someone’s face makes us feel alive and of course, makes us happier too. You get to feel that you are of value. Being kind to others creates a feeling of purpose and eliminates isolation. By doing this you will have a different perspective on life. Instead of focusing on your difficulty, you will focus on how to make the world a better place.

Always remember that you will always win with a positive attitude. This is what will change your will and let you blossom. Positive energy and thinking will help you overcome whatever difficulties come your way. Smile, laugh, cry but through it, all, remain strong because there is always sunshine after the rain.


The Power Behind Pawsitively 4 Pink

An Interview with Michelle Power, the leader of Pawsitively 4 Pink

 

Pawsitively 4 Pink is a non-profit organization that helps low-income and under-served women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Pawsitively 4 Pink aims to alleviate the financial obstacles that women face through their battle with cancer. In 2021, the organization helped ten women with grants ranging from $500 to $1,800 each month depending on the woman’s needs.

 

What makes this organization so special is that P4P continues to help women up to 6 months after their treatment. The organization was founded in 2018 by an impressive and passionate leader that pours her heart into everything she does while steering this organization and changing the world one day at a time. So, who is she? We sat down to chat with the Power behind Pawsitiviely 4 Pink, the incredible Michelle Power.

What inspired you to start P4P?

My mother and all of the enormously strong women around me who led a battle against terminal illnesses. The battle against illnesses like breast cancer is extremely tiring on every level. Having witnessed their struggle, including both their physical pain and their fear of not being able to fulfill financial responsibilities and obligations, inspired me to create a means of making life easier. This is when Pawsitively 4 Pink came to life. I started Pawsitively 4 Pink to give back to a community that I, myself, grew up in and to impact the lives of these amazing women who are already physically, mentally, and emotionally processing their diagnosis of breast cancer and should not have to worry about their basic needs.

What motivates you to keep on going? How do you push through hard times?

The answer is simple. This organization thrives on the idea of helping women with breast cancer, and they have become our biggest motivator. Personally speaking, these strong women never fail to motivate me. Being able to meet them at least once during their time of diagnosis and staying in touch with them throughout their treatment has enabled me to see our impact.  Hearing that the support we give them is life-altering warms my heart and provides me with the energy needed to do the job. 

Hard times are inevitable, and coming from a lower socio-economic class, I have personally learned how to push through hard times. The shame and embarrassment of not being able to afford even the basics push me so that no other woman has to experience those feelings. Especially, when they did nothing to cause their diagnosis. 

What are the mistakes you’ve learned during this journey?

I have learned so many lessons since starting down this journey known as Pawsitively 4 Pink. Two lessons stand out the most. One is that you have to believe in yourself and the other is to not take things personally. I have heard “no” countless times. Rejection can be hard to accept. Honestly, it took me four years to reach a point where the response wasn’t as important as the request. Everything is worth the ask! The reasons a business or individual says “no” are endless, and 99% of the time have nothing to do with the person who asks. So, now I just ask.

What are your habits for success?

For me, success has come from purpose, passion, and persistence. I am one of the most persistent women that you will meet. If I don't know something, I will research, research, research. When people say that I can't, it pushes me even harder to learn more and find a way to make Pawsitively 4 Pink the business that I want it to be. One habit that always proves to be most helpful but not always the easiest for me, is having faith that everything turns out the way it’s supposed to. 

What is the best piece of advice you can give?

Allow yourself to be vulnerable. That vulnerability is going to enhance any relationship and those relationships are going to help you flourish. They are going to bring you to places that you otherwise wouldn't go. 

What is a personality trait you believe that every leader should have?

This is definitely a question that I can’t answer generally, but personally speaking, authenticity and integrity are what makes me a good leader. I think it's really important to establish genuine and good relationships with people. Relationships are the meaning of life and are essential in business. Integrity is equally important. A person’s word is everything. There are times you might promise something and then not be able to deliver on that promise, that’s normal, the important thing is, to be honest about it. It's okay to say “listen I just can't do it” and let the other person know that you’ve tried your absolute best to achieve what you promised. This will only foster your relationships. 

What’s your proudest moment in P4P?

My proudest moment is abstract. The success that we have had in just a few short years is very satisfying but knowing that my mother is looking down on me with a smile on her face and saying "that's my girl" is the best thing that I could ever ask for.

Finally, we would like to thank Michelle for sharing her heart with us during this interview and for all the wonderful efforts that she keeps on putting in. The success of this organization lies in a wonderful leader and generous people like yourself. Thank you for reading this and for being interested in this incredible journey.

 

Pawsitivetly 4 Pink is making the lives of underserved women with breast cancer easier every day. The impact that this organization is having is incredible and it’s only possible through your donations. There are several ways for you to get involved with Pawsitively 4 Pink. Your support, in any possible way, is always much needed and appreciated. Be part of our amazing journey.