Komen Philadelphia teams up with the Philadelphia School District for the 6th Annual Dollar Defense to raise funds for local breast cancer services and research as well as share life-saving messages.
For the sixth consecutive year, Susan G. Komen Philadelphia has partnered with the Philadelphia School District for Dollar Defense, a unique month-long breast cancer awareness, education, and fundraising project that embraces students, faculty and parents of the District. This year’s program raised $16,765.63 (as of 11/18/16) to fuel the Komen Philadelphia mission, which includes providing mammograms and treatment services for women in need, supporting survivors as well as women and families battling breast cancer, educating at-risk communities, and funding research.
“Earlier this fall, Komen announced our bold goal to reduce the number of current breast cancer deaths in the U.S> by 50% by 2026,” said Elaine I. Grobman, Chief Executive Officer, Komen Philadelphia. “These students are making their own bold statement, ‘We are taking action now to stop this disease by the time we reach adulthood.’ It truly is amazing to talk to these children who are no more than 10 years old. They are intelligent about key breast cancer issues and what it takes to fight it. They are confident in their ability to save lives as ambassadors of our mission. And they are determined to personally make sure no woman dies from this disease.”
Grobman went on to say that the fact that the Dollar Defense is now in its sixth year attests to the importance of giving younger generations a role to play in fighting breast cancer, as well as focusing them on the hope that exists. “Year after year, the energy exhibited by students, staff and parents for this program continues to grow. Not only is this incredibly inspiring, but it is proof positive, that what we are doing truly matters to the families in our community. Through Dollar Defense we are helping families face and fight breast cancer together.
Through Dollar Defense – which is held every October in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Komen Philadelphia and the District help children, as well as parents, focus on the progress and positive change happening in the breast cancer movement, such as over 3 million survivors in this country, advances in treatment and growth in survival rates. Also key to the outreach is helping students and parents feel hopeful instead of helpless. Messages shared with the students demonstrate how they are helping save the lives of their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and teachers by empowering the work of Komen Philadelphia, as well as by taking early- detection materials home to their families.
This educational component was the foundation of the program’s development. As part of Dollar Defense, Komen Philadelphia and the School District send letters to students, parents and faculty/staff, which explain the activities of the project, as well as information on breast cancer basics, breast health practices, and services available to help women in need. Students are educated via a letter with a few simple steps to take action – such as discussing concerns with their parents and reminding loved ones to get their mammograms. Adults receive letters with more detailed information about breast cancer risks, signs and prevention, as well as how to access resources for screening and treatment in Komen Philadelphia’s fifteen-county service area.
In terms of fundraising, Dollar Defense also has a special message for students: every dollar makes an impact. The fundraising mechanism utilizes Komen Philadelphia’s Pretty In Pig program, sponsored by Dietz & Watson. Pretty In Pig has a special appeal to school-aged children as it utilizes over-sized and desk-top piggy banks to raise funds for the cause and demonstrates the huge achievement that comes from everyone working together. This year, students had the opportunity to contribute $1 or more to the Pretty In Pig program from October 1-31, which benefits Komen Philadelphia, and participate in a special activity at their school in celebration of National Mammography Day on October 21.
While not a required part of the program, every year teachers experience students wanting to discuss breast cancer on their own level in the class room – which Komen Philadelphia sees as another important dynamic driving progress in the fight to end breast cancer.
“Experiencing the student’s excitement for this program is extremely inspirational to us as adults and as leaders in our community,” said Grobman. “More often than not, we find it is the children pushing the adults to make sure their classroom raises the most money to save lives, as well as to talk about breast cancer awareness. We have a responsibility to give these beautiful children what they have asked for – the opportunity to make a positive impact in their own lives, as well as in the lives of their loved ones.”
A resounding success in terms of fundraising and increased awareness, Dollar Defense was launched in 2011 and is now an annual program, which both groups feel will continue for many years to come. Each fall, Komen Philadelphia and the District embrace a family of energetic, creative and team-oriented teachers, students and parents who are primed to make the program even more successful than the year before. The 2016 Dollar Defense brings the program’s four-year fundraising total to approximately $146,310.
Top Fundraising Schools
Classroom and school fundraising from October 1-31 was totaled to determine the 2016 Dollar Defense winners. The top ten fundraising schools won a Dietz & Watson Grillebration on November 29. The top 2016 fundraising schools were (listed highest to lowest fundraising total):
- C.A. Baldi Middle School – also was the top fundraising school of all participating schools
- Hamilton Disston Elementary School
- Stephen Decatur Elementary School
- Louis H. Farrell Elementary School
- Swenson Arts and Technology High School
- Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School
- Horace Howard Furness High School
- John F. McCloskey Elementary School
- W. Catharine Elementary School
- Murrell Dobbins CTE High School