Marina Mayer, executive editor, helps promote Breast Cancer Awareness month by showcasing what dairy processors are doing to support the cause. This month, Nestlé Pure Life bottled water launched the "Pink Pack" retail program.

To me, Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) has always been a time of reflection and remembrance for those who lost their battle to breast cancer. Whether it be a grandmother, aunt, mother, friend or sister, it’s likely that everyone knows someone affected by this disease in some way, shape or form.

This year however, Breast Cancer Awareness month means something different to me. This year, it symbolizes starting anew, wiping the slate clean, becoming cancer free.

That’s because I’m watching a very close family member of mine fight this nasty disease, and starting this month (and the New Year for us Jews), she’s off to live a cancer-free life.

In honor of men and women everywhere impacted by breast cancer, I will spend the month of October showcasing what dairy processors are doing so that consumers can help support the cause (and cure) of breast cancer.
This month, Nestlé Waters North America Inc., the Greenwich, Conn., makers of Nestlé Pure Life bottled water (NPL), continue to support breast cancer awareness and research with their "Pink Pack" retail program.

In partnership with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), New York, NPL directs 90 cents of every donated dollar toward research and awareness programs.

The way this program works is that 10 cents will be donated to BCRF for every "Pink Pack" produced, with a minimum donation of $350,000. Available at retailers nationwide, as well as in Canada, the special packs are marked with a symbolic pink ribbon and the BCRF logo.

As in previous years, NPL’s donation will go toward funding BCRF research grants. The current NPL-funded BCRF grant is supporting two researchers who are trying to develop a drug that will prevent breast cancer in those with mutations in the BRCA gene (the breast cancer susceptibility gene) before it occurs as a detectable lump. To date, no other known scientists are working to develop new drugs to prevent breast cancer in those with the BRCA mutation. The drug the researchers hope to develop would save women from having to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, the only other known preventative step for those with the inherited genetic mutation.

"Unfortunately, it's not unusual to know someone personally who is or has been affected by breast cancer. It's a concern for our consumers, our employees and our retailers," says Hillary Fleming, retail marketing manager at Nestlé Waters North America. "As an organization, we are very passionate about fostering health and wellness, and the success of this program would not be possible without the strong support of our retail partners. That support has enabled us to double our donation to BCRF in two years. As we prepare for Pink Pack 2011, we anticipate exceeding our goal yet again."

BCRF will announce the 2011-12 grantees, including those fully supported by NPL and the “Pink Pack” program, at the annual Breast Cancer Research Foundation Symposium and Awards Luncheon, Oct. 26 in New York City.

As of that date, the NPL "Pink Pack" program will have contributed $750,000 to BCRF, funding three years of research projects.

"Through the Pink Pack Program, Nestlé Pure Life brand bottled water has become a valuable BCRF partner in our fight against breast cancer," says Robbie Finke Franklin, director of marketing for BCRF. "We are thrilled that a leading company such as Nestlé Waters shares our mission of finding a cure in our lifetime, and we look forward to the day when this disease is eliminated."

I know I speak on behalf of millions when I say - so do I.