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Awareness and Cure

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In advertising, everything is about initially building awareness so that potential customers are influenced to buy.

In healthcare, everything is influenced by awareness and the ability to identify the illness as early as possible.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Another year to acknowledge survivors, drive fundraising, encourage a mammography and hold dear to the legacy of the people who have succumbed to this devastating disease. As I have explained before, it is my personal loss of my friend Valerie that makes me return to these pages, return to this moment and write a reminder of sorts every fall.

Ever notice there's a month, a week and a day to celebrate, distinguish and promote everything? What happens to the "awareness" days that started it all? What can be said about breast cancer awareness that hasn't already been said and done?

For one thing, there is a difference between awareness and cure. Awareness reminds everyone, to watch for the warning signs, take the medical tests and self-examine. But remember — cancer doesn't take a holiday and breast cancer awareness should never be a four-week discussion soon forgotten after Halloween is done.

Furthermore, as my son so passionately reminded me, this fight needs money — money to fund education, provide treatment to those who cannot afford it, protect our future generation. It's bigger than t-shirts, bumper stickers and ribbons. It's about wearing pink, but it's more about giving the green. So please, find a race, a charity, a breast cancer fund you believe in and send what you can. Now.

Because my Valerie is your Valerie — once strong, creative, humorous and alive. A daughter, sister, wife, aunt and mother-in-law. A woman, who if she had lived to see them grow, would have been warmly called "Aunt Val" by my children without a strand of DNA among us. She was like so many women who were diagnosed with cancer and either made it through or fought the good fight and lost. It's time to fight for all of them, to stop the scourge and promote the healing. Awareness AND the money to cure. Now.

A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches marketing fundamentals as well as advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology and SUNY Old Westbury.