Unveil Nation’s First-Ever Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin

Source: Queens Gazette

On October 23, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) President and CEO Myra Biblowit, BCRF Chief Mission Officer Dr. Marc Hurlbert, Director at the U.S. Mint Office of Design and Management April Stafford, and Roslyn Goldstein, Rebecca Scheinkman, and Deborah Kruletwitch—all women directly impacted by breast cancer—to formally unveil the design of the nation’s first-ever Commemorative Coin to raise funds for breast cancer research and awareness. This is also the first coin the U.S. Mint will issue in “pink gold” in recognition of the color most closely associated with the fight against breast cancer. Rep. Maloney authored the law directing the U.S. Mint to establish the commemorative coin program. Coins will go on sale in early 2018, and surcharges from the coin sales will go to BCRF to support breast cancer research.

Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among women, has touched the lives of millions of American families. The bipartisan Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2722), which was signed into law in 2016, will provide a new avenue to raise several million dollars in private funding for breast cancer research. Coin sales will cover all of the costs of production. No taxpayer money will be used in the production or sale of the coin.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2722) directs the U.S. Treasury to issue up to 50,000 $5 “pink gold” coins, up to 400,000 $1 silver coins and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins with a design to symbolize the fight against breast cancer during 2018. The production cost of these coins will be fully covered in the sales price, and the proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, headquartered in New York. No taxpayer money will be used in the production or sale of the coin.

“1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women,” said  Maloney. “The only way for us to eradicate this deadly disease is through research to find a cure, and through increased awareness and screenings. This coin is a creative approach to do just that, and the pink tint of the gold coin is a fitting tribute to my dear friend Evelyn Lauder, who founded BCRF and made pink ribbons the universal symbol for the fight against breast cancer. Through the sale of the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin, we can raise millions of dollars for BCRF to advance research that will ultimately win the fight against breast cancer.”

“After two years of hard work, I am delighted that this coin has finally become a reality,” said Congressmember Pete Sessions. “I am honored to have led this initiative with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to support the efforts of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation….”

The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act instructs the U.S. Mint to conduct a nationwide competition to solicit proposals from artists and select a final design. Phase One of the competition closed on October 17, 2016. Artists age 18 and older were asked to submit portfolios of their prior work. From these entries, 20 applicants were chosen for Phase Two, where they were paid a stipend of $1,000 to submit designs for the obverse and reverse of the coins.

Funding for breast cancer research at NIH has risen more than threefold since 1993. When Maloney first came to Congress, one of her goals was to increase breast cancer research funding. In 1993, funding was at only $210 million. At its highest point in 2012, funding for breast cancer research was $800 million, and in 2016, NIH funding for breast cancer research was nearly $700 million. In the past two years, the Department of Defense has spent $120 million per year in the fight against breast cancer.

This year, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is funding $59.5 million in grants across 15 countries, making it the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. BCRF is dedicated to keeping administrative costs low. Of every dollar donated to BCRF, $0.91 goes to research and awareness programs—$0.88 towards research and $0.03 towards awareness. BCRF is the highest rated breast cancer organization in the U.S. with an A+ rating from Charity Watch and 4 out of 4 stars from Charity Navigator. Clinical advances resulting from research have resulted in a 38 percent decrease in mortality rates in the last 25 years. The House of Representatives approved the bill introduced by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Pete Sessions (TX-32) on July 15, 2015. The Senate passed the bill sponsored by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) by Unanimous Consent on April 19, 2016. The President signed Rep. Maloney’s bill on April 29, 2016.