One Man and His Bottles for a Breast Cancer Cure
Laurence Segal is a man on a mission. For the past few years, he has worked around the clock out of Syracuse, New York, raising money for breast cancer research. His passion virtually bubbles out of the phone onto my desk as I speak with him; he is ready to talk about his undertaking.
In his recent GoFundMe Campaign, Laurence has dedicated himself to raising $50,000 for breast cancer research by collecting donations from generous givers, in addition to every bottle and aluminum can that he can lay his hands on – which can all be returned for $.05 apiece.
Quietly, underneath everything Laurence is saying, I hear glass and thin metal clinking together, muffled inside a plastic bag. He talks to me about his efforts to bring breast cancer awareness to the forefront of people’s minds.
“Someone feels a lump in their breast, and their whole life changes,” he says. “I’ve seen it happen. That’s why I’m on this mission – so people don’t have to go through this. People are dying at 40 – 30 – 26 years old. It’s crazy. It’s affecting younger and younger people.”
He just has to do something about it. And Laurence is the man for the challenge.
Laurence’s Drive for Breast Cancer Research Funding is Personal
“Losing someone to breast cancer is a pain that you can’t get rid of. You can’t over it. You never get over it.”
Quickly and easily recounting the names and stories of a dozen people he has known who have passed away from breast cancer, Laurence tells me of the loss he deeply feels. In addition to several female members of Laurence’s family who lost battles with the disease, he was privileged to work with Rod Roddy on TV’s long-running show The Price is Right, before Rod passed away from cancer in 2003. In addition to prostate and colon cancer, Rod had also been diagnosed with breast cancer; a fact which Laurence sees as one of the most under-discussed aspects of this disease.
While many people consider breast cancer a “women’s disease,” Laurence knows all too well that it is a cancer that strikes both sexes. He recalls being at public events, having men ask him, “Why do you do this? This doesn’t affect you.”
“Of course it does!” Laurence protests. “I have a grandmother, mother, sisters, friends. Men with wives and daughters are affected. It’s affecting younger and younger people. I have been at funerals with parents and watched them bury their child who died of breast cancer. People as young as 16 are dying. For no reason. No reason.”
His voice trails off momentarily before he regains composure and states firmly, “We need early detection.”
How Bottles for a Cure Developed
Laurence has been fighting this battle, running multiple charitable drives and donation centers throughout New York. It started almost on a whim; working at the Syracuse Center, he watched hundreds of bottles be thrown away every night. After a summer’s worth of collecting them, he realized that the $.05 apiece could add up quickly. Now he collects bottles from a number of businesses and public organizations that make mass donations, including the mall in Syracuse.
Ultimately, over the past few years, Laurence’s efforts have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars being donated to the medical university at State University of New York (SUNY) in Syracuse, through the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. “I take it very seriously,” he says, his tone even and cool as glass. “If somebody gives me a bottle, every penny goes to breast cancer research and helps people going through breast cancer.”
He stresses the words “every penny.”
Each year, Laurence increases his goal and his involvement. He is always finding a new way to fight for breast cancer research funding – participating at the NY State Fair (beginning August 27 this year!) or as a sponsor of multiple events, including running collection and information booths at galas and golf tournaments that are associated with the Baldwin family and their charity.
Progress with Breast Cancer Research
Some people say, “It’s no different than it was 50 years ago.”
“That’s totally wrong!” Laurence exclaims. Having been a part of the field and familiar with cancer treatments over the past 15 years, he has seen how technology and medical research has advanced the methods used to fight breast cancer.
Laurence wants everyone to know.
Legacies of People with Breast Cancer
Laurence is excited to share Everlasting Footprint and our mission with the people he meets. When we discuss how EF can help people commemorate and organize charity funding for their loved ones, he can’t believe how easy EF makes it for people who want to give. “People come up to me in public to tell me their stories and give me donations all the time,” he says. “There care about it. It’s a way of honoring their loved ones. It’s a way to help other people not to go through the pain they’ve been through.”
Come together. Join Everlasting Footprint and Bottles for the Cure in collecting funds for breast cancer research. Celebrate life with us.
Create your own Footprint for someone affected by breast cancer.