A simple postage stamp, in the course of 14 years, has raised an astonishing amount of money, $75.5 million, for a very good cause — the fight against breast cancer.
Some of that money was raised, thanks in part to the generous, kind and caring people who live in St. Joseph and who patronize the St. Joseph Post Office.
Although the stamps are available for purchase all year-’round, post offices promote breast-cancer stamps during October, which is National Breast-Cancer Awareness Month.
A breast-cancer stamp costs 55 cents, a dime more than a regular first-class postage stamp. That extra dime is divided up between two agencies: the National Institute of Health and the Medical Research Program at the National Department of Defense.
A sheet of breast-cancer stamps costs $11, which is $2 more than a sheet of regular first-class stamps. That extra $2 goes to those two agencies for breast-cancer research. It’s amazing how pennies, nickels and dimes — when spent by enough people — can raise such huge sums for one of the worthiest of all causes.
Breast cancer is a scourge that keeps attacking women — and even some men. Last year, there were 230,000 cases of breast cancer reported nationally and about 40,000 of those resulted, sadly, in death.
But here’s the good news: 3 million Americans have successfully recovered from breast cancer. Early detection played a big part in that success rate, but just as important is all of the research made possible largely because of the sale of those breast-cancer stamps. The stamps made their debut in 1998, and let us hope more people keep buying them.
Anyone who has had a loved one battle breast cancer knows all too well the anxiety, pain and heartbreak that the dreaded disease can visit upon entire families. We can all be grateful for all of the success stories in which breast cancer is beaten back. However, one case of breast cancer is one case too many. Some day, hopefully, thanks to all of those dimes from all of those stamps, a cure will be discovered and breast cancer will have been stamped out.