Stamp Out Breast Cancer
Date Added: June 16, 2001
The Breast Cancer Awareness Stamp is real and does make a difference. But, predictably, the chain letter circulating about it is full of misinformation.
We need those of you who are great at forwarding on information with your e-mail network. Please read and pass this on. It would be wonderful if 2003 were the year a cure for breast cancer was found!!!! This is one email you should be glad to pass on. The notion that we could raise $35 million by buying a book of stamps is powerful!
As you may be aware, the US Postal Service recently released its new "Fund the Cure" stamp to help fund breast cancer research. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. It is important that we take a stand against this disease that affects so many of our Mothers, Sisters and Friends. Instead of the normal 37 cents for a stamp, this one costs 40 cents. The additional 3 cents will go to breast cancer research. A "normal" book costs $7.40. This one is only $8.00. It takes a few minutes in line at the Post Office and means so much. If all stamps are sold, it will raise an additional $35,000,000 for this vital research. Just as important as the money is our support. What a statement it would make if the stamp outsold the lottery this week.
What a statement it would make that we care.
I urge you to do two things TODAY:
1. Go out and purchase some of these stamps. Tell the women in line with you about it also.
2. E-mail your friends to do the same.
Many of us know women and their families whose lives are turned upside-down by breast cancer. It takes so little to do so much in this drive. We can all afford the $0.60.
Please help & pass it on.
This venerable call to action has been inspiring well-meaning people to buy and pass the word on since the Breast Cancer Research stamp was introduced in July, 1998. Initially, the special-issue stamp was intended for a single production of 200 million, but its popularity has inspired the United States Postal Service to continue producing it indefinitely.
The stamp is what the Post Office calls a "semi-postal" issue. When it was introduced, it cost 40¢ and was good for first-class postage (32¢ in 1998), with the extra 8¢ being split between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Medical Research Program of the Department of Defense (DoD). In 2003, the USPS raised its rates and the breast cancer stamp's cost was raised to 45¢, with 8¢ still going to research. In 2007, the USPS once again raised its rates and the cancer stamp now costs 55¢ and is available in a book of 20 for $11.00. Unfortunately, most versions of the chain letter have not been updated to reflect the rate increases. (not 40¢ and $8.00, as most versions of the chain letter still assert.
It is true that the stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, who is, herself, a cancer survivor. Her design was given form by illustrator Whitney Sherman of Baltimore, and the USPS give credit for the design to Sherman.
It's unclear where the author's estimate of "$35,000,000" for research came from, though, as of April, 2005, the United States Postal Service's online store claimed more than $37 million had been raised. Some versions of the chain still claim $16 million as the amount raised, which would have been correct, assuming the initial run of 200 million stamps was completely sold. The stamp has far exceeded its original and temporary charitable goals and will continue to do so, based on the popularity of this chain.
Other version of the letter incorrectly warn that the stamp is due to be discontinued and some contain an unrelated image depicting African women that many have misconstrued as being the stamp.
While it is true that the breast cancer awareness stamp was intended for a limited run, its popularity has made it a regular staple at the customer service counter and the USPS has absolutely no plans to eliminate it. However, instead of using the out-of-date and misinformed chain letter above, why not tell your friends about the breast cancer stamp campaign in your own words? Break this chain!
References: USPS Online Store