(Image Credit: Charleston's TheDigitel)

Raising Awareness This October

(Image Credit: Charleston's TheDigitel)

(Image Credit: Charleston’s TheDigitel)

Once October arrives, there are probably three things you notice: everything is now pumpkin flavored, those pop-up Halloween stores are just about everywhere and the NFL and college football teams go pink for a game or two. That’s because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s the most funded cancer, allowing for $602.7 million in spending in 2012.

However, there are so many other causes we could be shedding light on in the month of October. Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m a huge advocate for breast cancer awareness. I would gladly donate to fund a cure if it meant no one would ever have to suffer again, but October shouldn’t just be pink.

So if you are looking for a different colored ribbon to wear and a new cause to donate to, try one of these.

Down Syndrome

Ribbon Color: Blue and Yellow

What is Down Syndrome? According to the National Down Syndrome Society, down syndrome is a mutation of the 21st chromosome, or an there is a full or partial copy of chromosome 21. It also affects every one in 691 babies in the U.S.

How you can help: One of the most well known ways to become involved and advocate for down syndrome is through a Buddy Walk. The National Buddy Walk is a one-mile walk that focuses on promoting understanding and acceptance of people with down syndrome. It’s also the National Down Syndrome Society’s biggest fundraising event each year. You can also donate to the NDSS or other local area foundations. For a full list of ways to donate to the NDSS, click here.

SIDS

Ribbon Color: Pink and Blue

What is SIDS? While it’s not an easy topic to discuss, SIDS is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Specifically, SIDS is “the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including … an autopsy.” Unfortunately, SIDS is a very broad category, and there is much debate about what should or shouldn’t be classified as SIDS. Each year, SIDS takes the lives of 5,000 children.

How you can Help: The American SIDS Institute has a program called Spring-For-SIDS Day, which is national event that helps raise awareness for this tragic syndrome. Helping is simple, and events include an office casual day, a silent auction or raffle, a 5K walk or run, online campaigns and more. You may also make donations to the American SIDS Institute, and for a full list of ways to donate, click here.

Spina Bifida

Ribbon Color: Yellow

What Is Spina Bifida? The Spina Bifida Association defines it as what happens when the spinal column does not close all the way. It literally means, “split spine” and is one of the “most common permanently disabling birth defects in the U.S.” Eight babies are born with Spina Bifida every day, and there are four types: Occult Spinal Dysraphism, Spina Bifida Occult, Meningocele, Myelomenigocele (Spina Bifida Cystica). For more information on the types of Spina Bifida, click here.

How you can help: The Spina Bifida Association has several different programs you can donate to. You can donate directly to the Spina Bifida Foundation, participate in the Walk-N-Roll walk event, volunteer or donate to the 100 Ways To Make A Difference program, donate to Team Spina Bifida or promote and get involved in their $4b4the4th e-mail and social media campaign. For a full list of ways to donate and get involved with the Spina Bifida Association, click here.

Dwarfism

Ribbon Color: Green

What Is Dwarfism? Dwarfism is the most common cause of short stature. If you are 4’10” or shorter, you have a form of dwarfism and it is possible to have a form of proportional dwarfism. The most common type of dwarfism is achondroplasia, which on top of a short stature also is recognized by disproportionately short arms and legs. Achondroplasia accounts for roughly 70 percent of all dwarfism cases, but there are more than 200 diagnosed types of dwarfism. The other two most frequently diagnosed forms of dwarfism include SEDc and Diastrophic Dysplasia. For more information on dwarfism, click here.

How you can help: Currently, Dwarfism is not nationally recognized by the U.S., but the Little People of America foundation declared October National Dwarfism Awareness Month in 2011. Their biggest mission is to raise awareness and to educate people. Other ways to help include holding an event to raise funds such as a bake sale or walk/run, avoiding using the “M” word when referring to a little person and educating others on it’s negative conations or donating directly to the Little People of American foundation. For a list of ways to donate and get involved, click here.

And remember, it’s not always about donating. Making an impact goes deeper than a monetary gift, and sometimes, all it takes is just educating yourself and others on a disease or disorder. So if you’re tired of pink, or would like to give to another charity this October, try one of these mentioned above.

Did we miss one? Let us know who you donate to in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Charleston’s TheDigitel
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