Marina Mayer, executive editor, helps promote Breast Cancer Awareness month by showcasing what dairy and beverage processors are doing to support the cause. This month, DS Waters of America discusses its commitment to donating $1 million of Athena brand sales by 2014 to the cause.

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, 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 and beverage processors are doing so that consumers can help support the cause (and cure) of breast cancer.

This month, Dillon Schickli, chief executive officer of DS Waters of America, Inc., the Atlanta-based owner of the DS Waters brand, turned a personal cause for a breast cancer cure (his mom passed away from breast cancer) into a national corporate campaign.

"My mother's struggle with a disease that affects so many people has influenced my business perspective," says Schickli.

So, DS Waters created Athena brand water, named after the Greek goddess of purity, wisdom and strength.

"Athena offers consumers a way to make a difference with every purchase," Schickli adds.

Created for the cause by breast-cancer survivor Trish May, the Athena brand was created in 2003 and quickly gained a regional presence in the Northwest.

Now, Athena is delivered directly to homes and offices from more than 1,600 beverage routes operating from more than 145 facilities throughout the United States. Single-serve bottles of Athena are available in half-liter quantities, 24 bottles to a case.

Customers in the metropolitan areas of Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and New York City can order five-gallon bottles of Athena water delivered to their homes and offices. Athena is served on Alaska Airlines, and is sold in various retail outlets.

Plus, DS Waters committed that a minimum of $1 million related to the sale of Athena will go to breast cancer awareness, education and research by 2014.

"If we work together, we can raise sufficient funds to beat this disease so that others will not have to lose their mothers, grandmothers, daughters or other loved ones as l lost my mother, Nancy," notes Schickli.