Friday, October 16, 2015

NFL Player DeAngelo Williams Goes Beyond Pink

Though I support all campaigns to raise awareness and funds for health and wellness, the month of October, the "Pink" month always makes me cringe a little, especially when it come to the partnership with the NFL. We've seen how the 'too big to fail' myth about businesses resulted and the same can be said for some nonprofit campaigns. I'm not saying the pink campaign is bad, but I, like many others, question the end results as well as this specific partnership. At this point its easy to wonder how many really relate and take to heart the message and are just buying anything pink, many of which may not even be related to the campaign. Anyone now can make a pink product and take advantage of the increased sales whether they give money to the campaign or not, or maybe a very small percentage, the NFL's products for example are shown to donate a minimal amount back to breast cancer research (for every $100 in pink merchandise sold, $12.50 goes to the NFL. Of that, $11.25 goes to the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the NFL keeps the rest.)
DeAngelo Williams put pink in his dreds to honor his mother
AP Photo/Brian Blanco

That being said, the fact that any campaign has reached the level the pink one has is admirable and something for others to aspire to. And there are many good, even great things about it, especially when championed by an individual versus a product - such as Pittsburgh Steelers DeAngelo Williams who recently went above and beyond to make a difference. He has donated 53 mammograms, the number of the age his mother died from breast cancer.

Before his decision to fund the mammograms, Williams tried another individual awareness step: he wanted to wear the pink additions to the uniform all season. But due to NFL uniform uniformity rules they would not allow it. Rather than punt, he went for the touch down and made an immediate impact.


This type of direct contribution, with tangible and visible results, is incontrovertible and in the end a much better way for Williams to make a difference. The national median cost of a mammogram is $243, and allowing women who may not be able to afford them access to what can be life-saving exams is truly admirable. I hope he, and others, see the results they can get with a more direct approach like this and continue in the future.

The awareness aspect of the pink campaign, and others, can't be denied, though the exact message may be vague it does make breast cancer, and with it all cancers, something unforgettable. But if you do want to contribute to a cause, donating money directly to it instead of a product that will have questionable final contributions is a much better idea. Go directly to the cause's web site and most have online or at least mail in donations with the money going directly to them.