For the next two years, people across the country can help in the fight against breast cancer by purchasing the new Fight Breast Cancer Research “semipostal” stamp. The stamp was unveiled by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during a ceremony late last month at the White House.
The First-Class stamp, which will be in circulation for two years, costs 40 cents. The extra money it costs will be divided in three ways: three cents to the National Institute of Health, three cents to the medical research program of the Department of Defense and one cent to the U.S. Postal Service to cover production and administrative costs. There will be 100 million copies of the stamp issued for its first run, and, so far, there are no plans to extend the availability of the stamp for more than two years. Postmaster general William Henderson said, in all, 200 million stamps will be printed.
The idea for the stamp originated with Dr. Ernie Bodai, chief of breast surgical services at Kaiser Hospital, Sacramento, CA. Bodai spent the last two years lobbying Congress to authorize the USPS to issue the stamp. He also spent $100,000 of his own money in helping to get the stamp printed.
“I dedicated all of that time to doing this because I felt that we needed to raise funds for research and help speed the search for a cure to breast cancer without creating a new tax or anything like that,” Bodai said. “The stamp represents two years of a lot of work by a lot of people on many levels. For me, this is the realization of a dream.”
Bodai said he hopes the stamp and subsequent fundraising efforts will raise between $60 million and $300 million through its two-year run.
Name-Finders Lists, San Francisco, a list management and brokerage company, also started a nationwide direct mail campaign last month to bring more attention to the stamp. The “Stamp” Out Breast Cancer Mailing targeted 20,000 executives in the direct marketing industry throughout the country.
“As members of the direct mail industry, we are responsible for 180 billion pieces of mail each year,” said Rosalie Bulach, president and founder of Name-Finders. “What better industry to support this effort than our own?”
The main point behind the mailing is to make people aware of the fact that the stamp is coming out, said Liz Davidoff, account supervisor of business development at Name-Finders.
“We are also giving people the chance to donate to the breast cancer fund, as well as make a pledge of how many stamps they would like to buy when it becomes available,” Davidoff said.
The piece contains a letter from Bulach and a business reply card that offers two options — the recipient or their company either can make a pledge to purchase between 500 to 10,000 stamps, or a quantity of their own choosing; or they can send a donation to the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation.
The stamp was designed by breast cancer survivor Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, and was illustrated by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore.