According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women, no matter the race or ethnicity. Today, it sadly remains the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
Worse still, about one in eight U.S women — more than 12 percent — will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and in 2018 an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in American women, along with a further 64,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Some 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will also be diagnosed in men as well this year.
Nearly 41,000 women in the U.S. are expected to die from this disease this year, but real progress is being made. Beginning in the year 2000, after an increase over the past two decades, the rates of breast cancer actually decreased each year — dropping by 7 percent from 2002 to 2003 alone — and women under 50 have experienced the largest decrease thanks to treatment advances, earlier detection through screening and increased awareness.
But more can be done, and this is why Henley Enterprises, Inc., the largest franchisee of Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC), is once again raising funds and working to increase awareness for National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. (NBCF).
Throughout the month of October, 10 percent from the sale of pink wipers will be donated to NBCF, and these wipers are being made available at more than 175 participating VIOC locations across 10 states, including 75 locations in Southern California alone.
“The blades allow individuals who have been affected or know someone affected by breast cancer to show their support,” said Don Smith, founder and CEO of Henley Enterprises, Inc.
The blades come in both traditional black, with a small pink ribbon and are Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) branded, as well as in full pink for those who wish to make a bolder statement and bring awareness on the road. These wiper blades fit 98 percent of all cars, trucks and SUVs manufactured after 2003.
To-date, the campaign has raised more than $86,000 for NBCF and is hoping to reach a $100,000 milestone this year.
“This is our seventh year helping to promote awareness via this campaign,” said Ali Rose, Henley Enterprise representative for the Northeast.
“We’re working with AutoTex, which produces the blades, and we have more than 30,000 wiper blades available across our locations,” Rose said.
“This is an important cause for us to get behind, and we want to do our part to give back to the community,” said Jesse Golden, spokesperson for Henley Enterprises, Inc.
As breast cancer typically targets women, it is fitting that the auto service industry can be there to help build awareness through this program, as women now make up the majority of automotive service center customers.
Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty and founding board member of Women in Automotive LLC, was instrumental in helping launch this initiative. For DeVere, it was very personal.
“I know too many women, including friends, business associates, employees and family members, who have been diagnosed, endured chemo, radiation, mastectomies or, in fact, had their lives cut short due to breast cancer,” DeVere said. “Car owners will all need wiper blade replacements. Why not make them count to help wipe out breast cancer?”
DeVere’s partnership with the AutoTex Pink wiper blades, the BCRF.org, Henley VIOC locations and the many other AskPatty.com Certified Female Friendly clients — who also promote this initiative by selling pink wiper blades — was one simple but very effective way that she could “personally fight back” to help fund research to find a cure.
“Through our research with Jody, we found that, unfortunately, breast cancer has touched a lot of our customers and our employees alike,” Golden said. “We wanted to be the facilitator to bring up awareness and support efforts to support breast cancer research.”
Ten percent of all sales of the AutoTex Pink wiper blades will be donated to the NBCF, which is the highest ranked breast cancer charity according to Charity Navigator. That fact is important to DeVere.
“Why? Because 85 percent of all funds raised go to research for a cure and improved treatment options,” she said. “They also provide free mammograms for women who cannot afford them. Women and men recognize the pink color as support of breast cancer fundraising activities. BCRF research is revolutionizing the understanding of cancer. Research is leading to the core of this insidious disease. Research is transforming lives every day as women and men get the help they need.”
This year the efforts have kicked off early, as the wiper blades started to arrive in shops at the end of September.
“This year to meet our goals we wanted to focus efforts on two days, where we would double our donations,” Rose said. “The kick off on September 29, and then again on October 19, as the third Friday in October each year is National Mammography Day.”
No matter when customers make a purchase, they can still show off their support by entering a photo of their car with the new wipers for a chance to win a year of free oil changes, as part of the Pink My Ride presented by VIOC. The photo with the most votes wins free oil changes for a year. (Up to four conventional oil changes over 12 months. Only people who live in a state with Valvoline stores are eligible to win.)
Perhaps the best part of this campaign is that it doesn’t really end in October.
“One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime,” DeVere said. “Not only in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but also year-round, women and men can recognize the pink color that supports the awareness and fundraising activities.”