October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to education and fundraising around this devastating disease. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second most common cancer overall, with more than two million people diagnosed with new cases globally in 2018. That is a sobering statistic. We can and must do better.

Almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer – or has been diagnosed with it themselves. It certainly has affected my family. But to focus only on the numbers sickened by this cruel illness misses the incredible stories of progress we’re making around the world. Today, broader awareness, early detection and a growing arsenal of new treatments are driving improvements in death rates and hope among families everywhere.

To me, that’s what this month is about: hope, education and empowerment. It’s a reminder of how we as individuals – and as companies – can make a real difference when we work toward a collective cause.

How to Show Support 

When I joined Cognizant earlier this year, I was excited to discover the company was already involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month through Tech Day of Pink. Founded in 2017 by The Estée Lauder Companies, this initiative is dedicated to mobilizing the global tech community to help create a breast cancer-free world. Now in our second year of support of this important initiative, we are again doing our part.

Tech Day of Pink is today, Oct. 8, and like most things during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are being extra creative in how we show our support this year. Even though we may not be able to join in-person events like walks, there are still ways to make a difference:

  • Post photos on social media of you or your teams wearing pink. Include a personal story or share what the pink ribbon means to you. (If you don’t own anything pink, you can also draw a pink ribbon on your hand.) Then tag your post with: #TechInPink2020, #TimeToEndBreastCancer and, for Cognizant associates, #CognizantfortheCure.
  • Donate to organizations that support patients and help to advance treatments for breast cancer.
  • Sign up to volunteer for an organization near you.

Be Proactive, Pandemic Notwithstanding

Additionally, today is a good day to take action to care for your own health. COVID-19 has disrupted the way many of us manage our healthcare. In fact, cancer screening numbers have seen a noticeable decline since the pandemic began. Pick up the phone and talk to your provider about when it might be advisable to get a cancer screening. This goes for our male colleagues as well, who are also at risk for breast cancer, as well as prostate or colorectal cancers. Check your company’s healthcare benefits to see what resources are available to support your holistic health, including critical health screenings. Regardless of gender, early detection saves lives.  

Being proactive and solutions-focused is not only part of any organization’s stated purpose; it also applies to our personal lives. We all can make a difference, no matter where we are around the world. If every employee at every company made it a point to spread the word and activate the mission, it would make an immense impact on breast cancer.

Let’s create conditions for everyone to thrive. Let’s drive awareness and action around breast cancer in our personal and professional lives by truly taking action to care for one another.

Becky Schmitt

Becky Schmitt

Becky Schmitt is Cognizant’s Chief People Officer. She leads all aspects of people management and company culture, including attracting world-class, diverse talent... Read more