Every October, football fans across the country will notice players, coaches, and referees in the National Football League wearing their team gear—gloves, hats, and shoes—but in the color pink. In partnership with the American Cancer Society, the NFL does this each year to bring awareness to a very important issue, breast cancer. In Ohio, we have also worked to generate awareness for the disease and funds towards finding a cure.
From the National Breast Cancer Foundation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, there are a multitude of organizations in the United States dedicated to fighting this disease and saving lives. Since its establishment in 2004, the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio has been striving to support women in Ohio affected by breast cancer, whether it is themselves or their family. In order to accrue funds that provide emergency financial assistance and services to breast cancer patients, the General Assembly passed legislation in 2005 to create the “Breast Cancer Awareness” license plate. With every purchase of the license plate adorned with the symbolic pink ribbon, $25.00 goes to the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio so it can further its mission.
A decade later, the General Assembly passed legislation that allows the owner of a motorcycle to also purchase the Breast Cancer Awareness license plate. Before the expansion of this law, the license plate was only available for automobiles. Breast cancer is a disease that can affect all women, regardless of age, race, or ethnicity. With the passage of House Bill 93, my colleagues and I at the Statehouse saw an opportunity to allow more Ohioans, including those in the motorcycle community, to express their support for those impacted by the disease and to generate more donations toward the cause.
According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. In fact, it is the second-most common cancer overall, accounting for nearly a quarter of all cancers in 2012. It silently affects our friends, neighbors, mothers, and daughters—as one in eight women will be diagnosed with this cancer in the United States. While rare, even men can develop breast cancer, which demonstrates how truly pervasive the disease can be. In 2016 alone, it is estimated that there will be approximately 246,600 new cases of breast cancer and over 40,000 breast cancer deaths among American women.
These statistics are sobering. Too many women and families are impacted by breast cancer, a diagnosis that uproots lives and devastates communities. It is important to continue to support the organizations with missions to not only assist breast cancer patients, but to find a cure that will end this scourge around the globe. I was proud to support House Bill 93 and the other legislative efforts toward funding these missions and encourage all Ohioans to get behind this important cause.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.