Monday, June 25, 2018
News Roundup

Breast cancer survivor asks for more details in fundraising

As a breast cancer survivor and activist, Bobbie Shay Lee is sometimes fed up with the amount of pink she sees. Businesses seem to bathe themselves in the color during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, she said, without informing consumers of where the money goes or how much is collected. A former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader, Lee started a petition calling for more accountability and transparency from those using the symbolic pink ribbon on their products. She also asks these businesses to support not just research, but the aftermath of breast cancer treatment, including reconstruction surgery. Times reporter Shelley Rossetter talked with Lee, 41, recently about her crusade for change.

What is pink washing?

Pink washing has a couple of different meanings depending on the group you're speaking to. In my terms, pink washing is the exploitation of the pink ribbon symbol in order to profit for retail sale.

Are people taking advantage of the pink ribbon?

I believe the use of the pink ribbon came from a sincere place, that retailers wanted to engage with women. But I'm not so naive to disregard the fact that the key retail buyer is ages 25 to 49, which is parallel to the ages of those in the breast cancer support community. I believe that is has gone beyond a sincere interest and has been exploited by companies small and large for retail profit.

What are your worries?

There are three. First, we don't require retailers to provide specific information about the dollar amounts they are contributing or where the dollars go, which would give us the transparency we need to be informed on how to invest our money.

Second, the dollars collected for charitable contributions are often not reinvested into the nonprofit community in a decent turnaround time. Instead, companies are holding funds and collection interest before making contributions.

Third, companies will develop "pink" products in the month of October just to get on the bandwagon and not to necessarily raise awareness. It really has become a consumer rights issue.

Tell us more about your petition.

My petition is not to promote any one charity or any one product or denounce any company. My petition is to create new avenues and tools for accountability.

It specifically touches on the pink washing in the NFL. They bathe the fields and players in pink. I want to see how the dollars they are collecting are being redistributed. Is it a way to raise money and awareness for breast cancer or is it all for the marketing value, attracting women sports viewers?

In all fairness, the NFL is just the most obvious example. There are plenty of beauty products, grocery products and retail products everywhere you turn that use pink ribbons in an effort to promote their sales. All I ask is that people investigate and know where their dollars are going.

What made you start to look into this?

I encountered some latent effects of my treatment a few years ago (that included a total removal of my reconstruction.) Because of my inability to obtain health insurance I was in a position to need assistance to get the treatment I needed. The assistance was not available. There are no dollars for women who need reconstruction, especially some therapies that could mean the difference between successful remission or a more a harmful condition.

I had a suspicion that pink washing was exceeding my comfort level while watching football on Sundays. Being a survivor, it might be only my opinion and not that of the general public. I can't deny that there are survivors who feel very empowered by participating in NFL games or breast cancer walks and I would never deny them the opportunity to do that. I just want them to be educated.

What do you want Breast Cancer Awareness month to accomplish?

It serves a very valid and important purpose in education and awareness and reducing the stigma. And I felt the impact in the lack of education and lack of understanding when I was diagnosed, especially being so young. We've evolved beyond that. Now it is time to look at the medical and health care environment and address the gap in services for people who need care beyond the initial breast cancer treatment.

Comments
Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

A Tampa man is dead and his 3-year-old son is in serious condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as they went on a family bike ride Sunday afternoon.A male suspect is in custody and being interviewed by police but his name has not yet be...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

TAMPA — Every year during draft season, players from the Tampa Bay area are selected in the NFL, MLB and even NBA drafts.But NHL?Sure enough, in the third round of Saturday's NHL draft, the Jets selected Nathan Smith, a forward who was born in ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

TAMPA ó Stripped to the girders, the old Bromley office building looked about as substantial as fish bones on a dinner plate.But the 5-story structure proved Sunday it still had a surprising amount of fight left in it.A demolition team had planned to...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays season turning into good one

Rays season turning into good one

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays are not the best team in baseball. They are not going to win the World Series this year. Heck, they probably won't even make the playoffs.But I tell you what. This team is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.And ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays first baseman Jake Bauers sat at his locker after Sunday afternoon's 7-6, 12-inning win over the Yankees and thumbed through his text messages. There was no way he could get through them all. That's what happens when ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough was only supposed to throw on Sunday if it was an emergency. In the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6 and a runner on first, there was an emergency.Jonny Venters tweaked his right hamstring trying to cover firs...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURGSuspect dead, 2 injured in home invasion, shootingThree people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the peop...
Updated: 8 hours ago
A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

The coast of White Rock, British Columbia, in western Canada looks to be an ideal place for a run, with its sweeping views of the Semiahmoo Bay to the west and scores of waterfront homes and seafood restaurants to the east. Thatís what 19-year-old Ce...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY ó A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Published: 06/24/18
President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

STERLING, Ill. - As a longtime editor of small-town newspapers, Jeff Rogers has seen his industry face the collapse of print advertising, the rise of the internet and more. Today, his 18 employees work in a newsroom here that puts out two daily newsp...
Published: 06/24/18