Lavar Jacobs lost his mother to breast cancer in 2009. The Akron man then channeled his grief into an education and awareness campaign for others.
So he founded Not Just October, which helps spread awareness about breast cancer by encouraging regular checkups, mammograms and other forms of early detection. The theme: breast cancer awareness should be a year-round effort, not just during its designated month. It also offers solidarity for many others who have family members and loved ones with cancer.
About 40,290 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer this year, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989 because of an increase in early detection, according to nonprofit breastcancer.org.
Jacobs says Not Just October offers “greater than” bracelets as a fundraiser, and will partner with a number of local organizations for events and other means of awareness-building in upcoming months. “Everyone who wears the band is showing the world that they stand against breast cancer,” says Jacobs. “People who wear the band are ‘greater than’ breast cancer.” The band includes the hashtag #ISABC (I stand against breast cancer).
The site also offers a place for people to share their stories. “This is very important to me. I’ve been through a lot with breast cancer. I feel like my mother is living through the organization. This is my way of keeping my mother alive.”
To purchase a band or find more info, visit www.notjustoctober.org.