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Little green going to breast cancer from NFL’s pink push

Despite all the attention given breast cancer during October by the NFL, a new report says only 8 percent of the money raised by sales of all the pink merchandise actually goes to cancer research.

If you’ve watched the Seahawks or any other NFL game this month, you’ve seen the wave of pink, as everything from shoes to towels sports the official color in support of breast cancer.

But a new report says only 8 percent the money raised from sales of all the pink merchandise actually goes toward cancer research, according to Business Insider.

The report says for every $100 in pink merchandise sold, just $11.25 goes to the American Cancer Society. The NFL keeps 1.25 percent from the sale of pink merchandise, while 25 percent of the revenue goes to the company that makes the product and 50 percent to the seller – usually the NFL.

The lack of money that goes directly to research from fundraising by many larger organizations is why Maple Valley mom and breast cancer survivor Kristi Blair started her own breast cancer advocacy organization.

Blair founded Wings of Karen after losing her mother Karen Denmark to the disease in 2007, then battling breast cancer herself several years later.

“With all of this, I decided I needed to do something more,” Blair says. While Kristi praises the Seahawks and other organizations for all they do, she felt getting money directly into the hands of researchers was most important.

“It comes down to dollars. And the quicker we can get money directly to researchers, the quicker we can solve this puzzle.”

Wings of Karen has staged a number of fundraisers over the past two years, including its signature 5k Bra Dash.

In March of 2013, the organization awarded its first grant of $30,000 to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to fund a pilot program to find new methods of detection in younger women. Kristi hopes the amount can dramatically increase in the coming years.

“We’ve grown leaps and bounds everyday. It’s so exciting. I firmly believe we can make a better future,” she says.

Kristi says her organization wasn’t created to compete with or criticize others. But she felt it was important to follow her own heart, and honor her mother in a way that was more personal to her.

“She was a gracious, phenomenal, courageous woman that fought with all her heart and also lived a life of giving. She’d be so proud that everybody comes together to do something really great.”

Despite the report, Kristi praised the Seahawks for supporting her organization and breast cancer awareness in general. The team partnered with local non-profits last weekend to distribute 30,000 pink ribbons to fans as they entered CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks Women’s Association hosted a Football 101/201 Clinic with proceeds benefitting the local chapter of Gilda’s Club.

And the team’s Pro Shop locations at CenturyLink Field and 4th Avenue and Pike Street will sell a variety of pink merchandise throughout the month with a pledge to donate 10% of the sales to the local chapter of Gilda’s Club.

The stations of Bonneville Seattle, the Seattle Seahawks, Les Schwab Tire Centers and Carter Subaru are proud to honor Wings of Karen as October’s Charity of the Month.

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