The breast cancer stamp of the United States Postal Service
was issued in 1998 and was the first of their newly initiated
fundraising stamps. Also called a “semipostal”
stamp, it sells for 45-cents and covers the cost of a First
Class piece of mail, with the remainder being used for breast
cancer research. The National Institutes of Health receive
70% of what is raised and the Medical Research Program at
the Department of Defense receives the other 30%. It has already
raised over $40 million.
The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland.
The front of the stamp displays a “goddess of the hunt”
in an illustration by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore, Maryland.
The background is done in a rainbow of colors and the words,
“Fund the Fight – Find a Cure,” are over-laid,
suggesting its purpose as a fundraising project of the Postal
Service. It has also been suggested that the way the words
are positioned and shaped emphasizes awareness for breast
exams, reminding women of the need for early detection of
breast cancer. It is also a message of hope and continued
work on finding a cure for this disease.
The idea for the breast cancer stamp came through Dr. Ernie
Bodai, using all volunteers and lobbying at Congress to accomplish
his goal of providing a stream of funds for breast cancer
research, as well as, education about breast cancer health
to all women. Dr. Bodai is CEO of CureBreastCancer, Inc. and
a Kaiser Permanente Surgeon.
The actual legislation was a project of U. S. Senator Dianne
Feinstein of California and permitted this historic stamp
to be the first one of the U.S. Postal Service to raise funds
for a specific health or social cause. Arising from the congressional
Stamp Out Breast Cancer Act, the division of the funds raised
through the breast cancer stamp are specifically designated
to go to the Department of Defense, for their breast cancer
research program, and to the National Institutes of Health.
Learn more about the stamp: