Volunteers gather around a table, united by their mission and figuring out how to start a nonprofit.

Working with Nonprofits: It’s About More than Donations!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for a way to help your community or a cause you’re passionate about even if you can’t help out financially. Luckily, nonprofits run off of a lot more than just donations. Financial contributions support a lot of what we and other nonprofits are able to achieve, and although they’re important, we would be nothing without our community of hard-working individuals who lend us their time and expertise when we need it. So, don’t worry about having deep pockets, because there are so many more ways that you can make a meaningful difference working with nonprofits

Volunteer your time 

We’re all familiar with volunteering - whether it be manual labor to help prepare for and set up an event, phone banking, leafleting, and even lobbying government officials, it can count as volunteer work and help nonprofits. Many people like to say that time is money, but when it comes to nonprofits, time is often even more important than money. Volunteers at nonprofit organizations can expect to spend their time helping out with fundraising events, assisting with administrative tasks, and participating in programs and services the nonprofit offers. Plus, when you volunteer for nonprofit organizations you gain a deeper understanding of the nonprofit's mission and create relationships with those running the nonprofit. These individuals are likely to have similar values to you, so making friends is easy and an added bonus. Those who volunteer at nonprofit organizations like Pawsitively4Pink instantly become fast family members. Take a look at some tips for future volunteers here.

Single arm raises megaphone up against a partly cloudy sky, perhaps to help organize volunteers at a nonprofit organization's event or spread the word about the nonprofit's mission.Spread the word!

Another way to work with nonprofits without donating is by using your voice! By spreading the word about a nonprofit’s work and sharing information about the organization on social media or telling friends and family about the nonprofit's mission, anyone is able to help raise awareness and generate support. Knowledge is power, and the more people who are aware of the nonprofit, the better. Think of all of the companies that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a seconds-long ad, just to get their name and message out to the world! Visibility is what starts movements and keeps them going - individuals are truly capable of making a real difference via word of mouth and social media presence.

Provide goods and services

For many nonprofit organizations, their missions are based on providing goods and services to those in need. For example, food banks need a constant supply of different non-perishable food items, while animal shelters need pet supplies like food, collars, brushes, and animal-safe soaps. By organizing the collection and donation of different goods and services, you can help a nonprofit save money and stretch its resources further. Collecting goods might look like hosting a food drive at your company, a sporting event, or a local school. This type of support is especially helpful for smaller nonprofits that may not have a large budget for purchasing supplies. When many individuals donate a few items or a little bit of time, collectively they make a huge difference for the nonprofit and mission. 

A lightbulb is lit with with warm light against the background of some sketches of graphs and tables in pen, perhaps a volunteer using their expert skillset to plan how to help a nonprofit or work with a nonprofit.Lend your skills and expertise 

These days, nonprofit organizations have a lot of work to do to stand out, keep their supporters up to date, and keep making a difference in their communities and the world. They benefit from a variety of different skills and expertise of volunteers with specialized knowledge and experience. For example, if you have experience in marketing, you could offer to help a nonprofit with its social media campaigns. Or, if you have a legal background, you could provide pro bono legal advice to the nonprofit of your choice, as legal advice is often expensive. This way, nonprofits can spend more time organizing and focusing on achieving their goals effectively and efficiently. Check out more ways to provide your skills to increase a nonprofit’s visibility here.

Make time to attend events

Working with nonprofits doesn’t always look like “work!” Not only are they a great way to generate support and raise awareness, but events are also a fantastic way to have fun and meet people. Showing your support by attending events and spreading the word about the nonprofit's mission encourages others to do the same. In addition to fundraising events, nonprofits also host educational or advocacy events that are open to the general public. At these types of events, you have the opportunity to learn more about the organization's work and how to get involved in its mission, specifically.

A nonprofit’s success is never just all about cash flow! There are so many ways to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those served by nonprofits. As someone who runs a nonprofit, I can attest to the fact that every bit of support counts. We are endlessly grateful to our fantastic volunteers and donors, who at this point, are like family. 

Before you search for how to start a nonprofit organization, check out nonprofits that already exist! If you are interested in supporting underserved, low-income women in the Michigan area, find out how to get involved here. Learn more about how we at Pawsitively4Pink make a difference here.

Spring cleaning? Get rid of products causing cancer

Spring is here and we all know what that means: We’re opening up our windows, letting the sun and fresh air in, cleaning off appliances, window frames, and everything else that has collected dust during these winter months, and welcoming this new season into our homes. There are countless spring cleaning rituals, and cleaning habits in general, that serve the soul as well as the body. Unfortunately, however, there are also a wide variety of products we’re accustomed to using that contain harmful chemicals linked to free radicals and cancer. 

The array of cleaning products that most of us rely on promises to make our spaces spotless and sanitized, and although they work well making our whitest whites even whiter, they also make use of toxic chemicals in high concentrations to get the job done. Recent studies have shed light on the potential dangers lurking in many of these products. Many everyday cleaning and lifestyle products have been linked to the creation of free radicals within our bodies and have been associated with an increased risk of cancer. So, when it’s time for spring cleaning in your home, take a look at your cleaning products as well as other products you’re using on a daily basis and evaluate the impact they may be having on your health and cancer risk. 

A black and orange symbol signifying that toxic chemicals are near is posted behind a syringe full of green liquid. The syringe is injecting into a red bell pepper at next to a yellow and green bell pepper, perhaps representing a call to prevention of cancer causing chemicals in food.Household cleaners and cancer: Spotless homes, high-risk for humans

Many conventional household cleaners, such as all-purpose cleaners, window cleaners, and bathroom cleaners, contain toxic chemicals like ammonia, chlorine, and formaldehyde. As we use these chemicals they release free radicals when they come into contact with air or water, leading to oxidative stress in the body when we breathe them in or they make contact with our bare skin. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body's ability to neutralize them with antioxidants. Prolonged exposure to free radicals can damage cells and their DNA, potentially leading to cancer.

Instead of using traditional name-brand cleaners, we recommend making your own surface cleaner with naturally-occurring products like lemon juice and vinegar that get the job done well and leave homes smelling fresh! Dish soap also works like a charm on many different surfaces; not just dishes. Limit your exposure to free radicals and figure out how to create your own safe cleaning solution here. 

An array of different kinds of scented candles that are likely releasing perfumes causing free radicals and eventually cancer.All that smells well does not end well

Air fresheners are commonly used in public and private spaces to mask unpleasant odors and get rid of unwanted smells completely. Everything from scented candles to car fresheners and perfumes has been linked to causing cancer, specifically breast cancer. Commercial air fresheners contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates, formaldehyde, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that increase cancer risk. Similar to cancers caused by smoking, these chemicals are released into the air and inhaled, they generate free radicals in the body. And that means they aren’t worth it - no matter how good they smell! So, in the name of spring cleaning, let the fresh air in and toss the scented cancer-causing products out!

While long-term exposure to these products has been found to increase the risk of cancer, they also cause respiratory issues, worsened allergies, migraines, and other complications. To find out more about how scented products affect our breast cancer risk, read more here.

Cosmetics products lay flat on a table, colorful and alluring yet potentially toxic cancer causing products.Be careful with “self-care”

It's not just household cleaning products that can be harmful; personal care products can also contain ingredients linked to free radical generation and cancer risk. For example, certain shampoos, body washes, and hand soaps contain sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, which disrupt the body's hormonal balance and trigger oxidative stress. Which, unfortunately, creates more free radicals within our bodies! Some cosmetics and skincare products that are long-lasting or water-resistant contain PFAS, or “forever chemicals”, which have been linked to birth defects, thyroid issues, and yes, cancer. Read more about how to avoid forever chemicals and decrease your risk of cancer with our previous blog post on holistic breast health.

Luckily, there are resources like EWG Skin Deep, a company that compiled a database full of commonly used cosmetics and personal care goods that could be products causing cancer. Take a look to see if your products contain harmful chemicals here.

And please take a peek at the many nontoxic products out there, there are so many to choose from!

Pick your produce carefully

Pesticides control pests in and around our homes, but they pose serious health risks, containing chemicals that (once again) generate free radicals when exposed to air or water, which down the line can cause cancer. Pesticides are linked to various types of cancers, most notably breast, prostate, and lung cancer, and they can be on anything from in-season strawberries to flown-in from out-of-state eggplants. Yes, we can help prevent breast cancer by washing our food! Our recommendation: buy organic, but we understand how expensive that can be, so the next best option is to wash produce with warm water and vinegar, as explained here. Prevent breast cancer food

A cast iron pan for cooking lies flat on a dark background, representing one of the options for nontoxic kitchen products.Forever-chemicals and your kitchen

Yes, non-stick cookware is widely known for its convenience, but unfortunately, that convenience compromises our health. Non-stick pots and pans are hidden sources of free radicals because they are made with coatings consisting of per fluorinated compounds (PFCs), which can break down when heated and release toxic fumes. When these surfaces are scratched with other cookware items like metal spatulas, forks, or knives, this interruption of the surface’s protective seal allows per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS, or forever chemicals) to be released into the surrounding air and food. Ingesting these chemicals is, of course, not advised and leads us to consume cancer-causing free radicals at an alarming rate.

Some of our favorite alternative cookware is made of cast iron. Not only is cast iron easy to care for and heavy-duty, cooking with it also increases our iron intake, a mineral crucial for human health. 

Unfortunately, some of our favorite household products may be causing us more harm than good. Products causing cancer must go! Although there is no way to ensure we won’t develop cancer at some point in our lives, living a life in which we minimize contact with these products significantly lowers our risk and might just stop breast cancer and other kinds of cancer from developing altogether. Check the labels on your cleaning and cosmetics products to see if they contain any of the chemicals we mentioned in this article. If they do, toss them and start anew! That’s what spring cleaning is all about anyway, right?

Pawsitively4Pink is a breast cancer nonprofit organization dedicated to providing direct financial aid to underserved women in our local area in Massachusetts. If you’re passionate about our cause, please check out our website for how to get involved. And if you or someone you know battling cancer needs direct financial assistance or a community to lean on, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer with Holistic Breast Health

So many environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to our overall physical and mental health, everything from the bread we toast for breakfast to the sportswear brands we wear plays a role in our overall well-being. Nowadays, there are so many options and decisions that we make throughout our day that accumulate to create a high or low risk for cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of seventy-five. Even though we don’t have complete control over our exposure to cancer-causing chemicals or situations that may increase our risk of developing cancer, knowledge is power! Below, we provide the in-depth information necessary to make educated decisions regarding women’s holistic health in general, and more specifically, your holistic breast health.

You’re more powerful than you think…

Your purchasing decisions have an awfully big impact on your holistic health! Staying informed on whether or not the products you buy contain Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS), also known as ‘forever chemicals’, can have an incredible impact on your risk for developing breast cancer. PFAS can be found in everything from the waterproofing on our rainboots and rainjackets to long-stay lipsticks; even the liquid-resistant material of some period underwear contains PFAS. In one study that followed PFDoA exposure, one kind of PFAS, found that “elevated levels of these chemicals increased breast cancer risk by 13 times with 95% certainty that breast cancer risk was 3-94 times higher compared to those with lower PFDoA levels.” 

It’s crucial that we check products for any mention of PFAS, or Teflon, by avoiding products made of an ingredient that contains “fluoro” in the name. Click here to take advantage of EWG’s helpful search engine to check your favorite cosmetics and products for these dangerous chemicals. Risk reduction is accomplished by simply staying informed and reading product labels.

Hand massages arm pit as the other arm is lifted into the air to massage lymph nodes around breast tissue to drain toxins and practice holistic healthExercise, movement, and massage!

Yes, you read that right - massage! Breasts are made up of complex lymphatic systems and fatty tissues that retain excess hormones and chemicals if we don’t move enough. Performing lymphatic massages on yourself, or having a friend or partner do it for you, can encourage proper drainage and flush out anything that’s remained there for too long and has become stagnant. Take a look at the proper technique for lymphatic massages here.

As everyone knows, another great way to improve lymphatic drainage and breast health is exercise - get your heart rate up and your body moving by jogging, skipping rope, or even bouncing on a small trampoline to improve blood and lymphatic flow. If you’re someone who prefers slower movement, yoga is a fabulous option, too! Stretching, folding, and extending your arms and legs is another effective way to drain your lymphatic systems and incorporate beneficial movement into your daily life. 

Speaking of moving, holistic health, and breast cancer… Consider signing up for a breast cancer walk here.

‘Support bras’ aren’t always supportive…

Many women wear underwire bras, or even compression sports bras, every day. We totally get it - they’re comfortable! Maybe it’s a hassle taking it on and off when you’re on your way out the door, or you’re simply uncomfortable with the unpredictability of unharnessed movement. But at some point, it’s crucial to either wear a bra with less support or take it off altogether for a while during your day - otherwise, those same toxins and hormones we mentioned above are more likely to build up and stick around longer than is healthy. Free the nipple!

Bowl filled with raw flax seeds used for holistic health, aside small shovel with some flax seeds littered above a wooden tableEat breast health superfoods

There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate healthy add-ons into your diet. More and more, scientists and dieticians are finding that the foods we choose to consume and the time of the month they are consumed, in correlation to our hormonal changes throughout menstruation cycles, has a notable impact on our physical and emotional health. 

One food that has some serious breast health potential is flaxseed, as it’s a source of omega-3 fatty acids which in some studies has been found to be correlated with a lower risk of breast cancer. So flaxseed may help block cancer cell growth! Both flaxseed and flax oil are natural anti-inflammatories, making it easier for tissues to filter out the natural or consumed toxins that we are exposed to. For this reason, using olive oil instead of vegetable oil is also highly encouraged, as it’s another natural and highly effective anti-inflammatory. 

Another way to eat a healthier diet is by minimizing our consumption of meats and animal products, as animals are higher up on the food chain and therefore contain higher concentrations of toxins such as heavy metals like mercury in fish or even PFAS, which are found in all animal products, even eggs. To decrease the likelihood of encountering these chemicals, turn instead to less processed grains, and organic or well-washed fruits and vegetables. Especially beneficial are leafy greens like kale and spinach because of their rich levels of antioxidants that destroy the free radicals that cause cancer! Here is a resource to explore more risk-reduction foods.

In addition to risk-reducing foods, there’s one drink that majorly increases your risk of developing breast cancer: alcohol. As alcohol raises estrogen levels in the body, it may also increase our chances of developing breast cancer, so it’s crucial to take a step back and consider the impact that alcohol consumption may be having on our health. 

Holistic health practitioner administers acupuncture by placing fine needles beneath the skin of their patientHolistic breast cancer treatments 

We’re all aware of traditional breast cancer treatments: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are some of the most effective ways of ridding our bodies of cancer. These methods leave lasting marks and represent a very difficult and time-consuming journey. Although they are incredibly effective at treating cancer, they often leave patients dealing with exhaustion, pain and discomfort, and depression. In some cases, however, scientists are finding that chemotherapy isn’t necessary for specific types of breast cancer. When exploring holistic breast cancer treatments, we search for treatments that take care of not only the body, but the mental and spiritual aspects of overcoming the disease as well.

A few holistic options for pain management and risk reduction are acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicines, as well as antioxidants and detoxification diets. Most popular after its recent legalization in many states, medicinal marijuana has made a big impact on cancer patients’ lives, as it helps reduce the physical and mental stress patients often experience by alleviating pain and relaxing the mind. It’s also recommended for patients who have trouble sleeping! If you’re ready to start searching for “holistic women's health near me” or “holistic women’s health doctor near me”, make sure you avoid making these common mistakes on your holistic health journey. 

It’s crucial to be aware that recent research has shown that patients who seek more contemporary care or alternative breast cancer treatments often delay or reject types of conventional treatment and in turn worsen their cancer outcomes. Please promptly speak with a medical professional or holistic health practitioner when considering cancer treatments. Read more here.

Illustrated photo shows one half of the page covered in black swirling chaotic lines, with one single line breaching the other side of the page. Atop the line, as if it was a rope, balances the figure of a person, making their way from the chaotic side to the other side on the rope, perhaps a metaphor for the individual's holistic health journeyRemember: taking action reduces fear!

Becoming informed and making changes in our own lives is empowering in itself. Within each of us is the will and strength to make the small yet impactful decisions that have the potential to guide our lives down a different path; hopefully one without breast cancer. When we take these small steps, we empower ourselves with the knowledge and the healthy bodies that each one of us deserves. 

Find more information on holistic breast health on the holistic health blog. And remember, you are never alone in your fight against breast cancer! There are so many breast cancer organizations that provide peer support and guidance.

We stand by your side. Pawsitively 4 Pink provides direct financial assistance to our neighbors, mothers, and daughters fighting breast cancer. Our grant recipients are always free to make their own choices about what medical and holistic care options feel best to them. If you or someone you know would benefit from our services, please contact us here. If our mission moves you and you want to know more, check out ways you can make a difference.