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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. (Photo credit: iStock/PonyWang)

Most of us know someone in our lives affected by breast cancer, be it a family member, friend or even ourselves. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with the disease in 2020, making breast cancer the most common cancer worldwide, beating out lung cancer. Here in New York State, that amounts to 16,700 women diagnosed with the disease annually, with 2,500 losing their battle per annum. 

That’s a lot of tough numbers to take in, but there are things you can do to help yourself and your community. October ushers in not just pumpkin spice lattes and gourds galore, but also the month that we all put breast cancer to the forefront of our attention. There are a multitude of ways to get involved, be it throwing on a pair of sneakers and running to raise money, make an appointment to get a mammogram (or make one for an overdue loved one!), or learn about warning and signs and treatment options at informational presentations. Grab your best pink and hit up one of these worthy events:

Shop Veronica Beard to benefit the Breast Cancer Alliance

This Thursday, October 5, join Breast Cancer Alliance president Meg Russell as she hosts a special shop-for-the-cure afternoon at Veronica Beard Southampton (84B Main St.). The day-long event allows you to not only can shop the new fall line of the American fashion designer’s stylish women’s clothes, t also donates 100 percent of the proceeds straight to the Breast Cancer Alliance, an organization that works to improve survival rates and quality of life for breast cancer warriors by providing screenings and treatment, especially for women in lower income brackets struggling to pay for care. Russell will personally be on hand from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., so stop by for a little fashion intel along with some feel-good spending.

Southampton Chamber of Commerce Pink Tree Lighting

It’s kind of hard to miss a big, bright pink tree — which is exactly why it’s a great way to light up the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Join in the solidarity at the Southampton Chamber of Commerce (76 Main St.) on Monday, October 2, at 6:30 p.m. for the lighting of the pink tree right on Southampton’s Main Street. 

The Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center & the Witness Project Inaugural “Witness Walk” for Breast Cancer awareness

On Saturday, October 14, join the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center’s first ever 5K “Witness Walk” to raise breast cancer awareness. The walk begins at 551 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, proceeds south with a westward turn onto Main Street to the Bridgehampton Fire Department, and then returns to the Center.  There will also be a lunch with words from community members and information purporting breast health and early detection. For more information, contact Kim Jones at [email protected], or 631-537-0616. Click here to register or you can do it day-of at 8 a.m. at the Center, which requires a $10 entry free.

Mobile Mammography Screenings at the Hampton Bays Library

Screening is key to survival. The American Cancer Society suggests women should start getting annual mammography at age 45 (earlier if there’s personal or family history), and thanks to Hampton Bays Library and Stony Brook University Hospital, a mobile mammography screening unit will be on hand at 52 Ponquogue Ave., Monday, October 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for women 40 and over who haven’t had their initial screening yet. Even better? It’s free! 

East End Libraries Presents: Breast Cancer Awareness

East Hampton Library in conjunction with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is offering a Zoom-based informational session on Thursday, October 19, at noon at with Dr. Edna Kapenhas on how to detect breast cancer, the risk factors and warning signs of the disease and current treatments available for those who have been diagnosed. Kapenhas is certainly someone who has these answers, as Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s head of breast surgery and the breast surgical oncology program, as well as the medical director of the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center. Register here or at the Adult Reference Desk of the East Hampton Library (159 Main St.), or by calling 631-324-0222.

The 24th Annual Shelter Island “Outrunning Cancer” 5K Run and 5K Walk-Run 

Grab those sneakers and get ready to beat your best time and give breast cancer a run for its money at this annual autumnal island tradition on Saturday, October 21. The race kicks off at 11 a.m., rain or shine — the first 400 racers to sign up get a great commemorative shirt, and everyone gets a little swag bag. Bonus: the famed annual serving of chef Tom Hashhagen’s turkey chili will fuel you after, and there’s a cache of cool raffle prizes, like lunch for four at the American Hotel (bring bills!). Race bibs are mailed out by October 20, but you can also pick yours up at 9 a.m.on race day. All proceeds go to the Coalition for Women’s Cancers, North Fork Breast Health and Lucia’s Angels. Register here