Breast cancerNational organizations like Susan G. Komen for the cure are making great strides in the fight against breast cancer. But, like any great production, supporting roles are just as important as the leads. And all across the country, small businesses and groups are stepping up to support giants like Komen in the fight against breast cancer.

Here's the scoop on a few grassroots campaigns and communities you should know about:

Pope Valley, California/Seattle, Washington

In November, 2005, Budge Brown lost his wife of 48 years, Arlene, to breast cancer. The devastated, then angry, Brown looked for an avenue to channel his feelings, and, hopefully prevent others from experiencing his grief. His answer: a 2007 purchase of the winery and label Cleavage Creek. His first generation of wines debuted on Oct. 15, 2007, with subsequent ones coming out in October 2008, and October 2009. To ensure his wines "make a difference" he donates 10% of the gross dollars generated to cutting edge breast cancer research.

Earlier this year, a $40,000 donation from Cleavage Creek helped establish the Integrative Oncology Research Clinic at Bastyr University in Seattle.

Cleavage Creek also celebrates breast cancer survivors by featuring them on bottle labels. A total of 20, including Patty Daly, mom to talk show host Carson Daly, have graced Chardonnay, Cabernets, Merlots and other wine bottles.

Coral Springs, Florida

Women in the panhandle state are getting mammograms thanks to 2-time breast cancer survivor Lisa Boccard's "labor of love" Recipes for Life Cookbook, a book featuring over 500 community contributed recipes. To date, more than $13,000 has been raised, enough for 130 women to have mammograms. "While this is such a great accomplishment, the need to provide more women the opportunity is critical," Boccard said at an open house to introduce the book to the Coral Springs community.

To purchase a copy of the book, contact the Coral Springs Medical Center, or visit the book's website.

Thousand Oaks, California

On Oct. 24th, from noon to 4 p.m., women affected by breast cancer will be treated to a complimentary day of fitness and beauty featuring Pilates, gyrotonic and yoga classes at Bodysattva Movement Arts Center 1414 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd; Suite 211. The goal of this event is to provide an atmosphere where women dealing with breast cancer can feel beautiful, feminine and strong, inside and out.

In addition to the classes, attendees will also enjoy free, on-site massages. Consultations with aestheticians skilled in post-chemotherapy skin issues will also be available at a fee, with proceeds benefiting breast cancer research.

Newark, New Jersey

With the distinction as having the highest breast cancer mortality rate in the state, it became clear the need existed in Newark for enhanced breast cancer awareness. Experts say women in the area aren't getting early detection and treatment, thus their odds of survival are lower than the state's average.

A $15,000 grant from Novartis, the pharmaceutical company headquartered in East Hanover, N.J., has helped Family Success Centers across Newark conduct a series of breast cancer educational sessions. Running during the month of October, the sessions stress the importance of self-exams and routine screenings.

But this program hopes to up the odds and organizers are buoyed by the community interest in the sessions that have been held.

Know of an event or campaign in your community? We want to hear about that, or your experiences participating in one.

Gina Roberts-Grey is a freelance writer specializing in consumer issues.


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