WASHINGTON — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is reminding customers they can help fund the cause by purchasing the Breast Cancer Research Stamp.
These 65-cent self-adhesive semipostal stamps are available year-round in sheets of 20 to help raise funds for breast cancer research. Each stamp is equal to the First-Class Mail 1-ounce postage rate in effect at the time of purchase. The stamps are available at Post Offices nationwide, online at usps.com, by mail order through USA Philatelic catalog, or by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724).
The amount the Postal Service contributes to breast cancer research is determined by the difference between the 65-cent purchase price and the First-Class Mail rate in effect at the time of purchase, minus any costs incurred by USPS. The distribution of the Postal Service contribution is specified by law, with 70 percent given to the National Institutes of Health and 30 percent given to the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense. More than 1 billion stamps have been sold since its inception in 1998, raising more than $87.8 million for breast cancer research.
The Breast Cancer Research Stamp was the first semipostal stamp in U.S. history. In 1997, Congress authorized it for the specific purpose of raising funds from the American public to assist in finding a cure for breast cancer. In 2015, President Obama signed legislation that extended the sale of the stamp through Dec. 31, 2019.
Designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, the stamp features the phrases, “Fund the Fight” and “Find a Cure” and an illustration of a mythical “goddess of the hunt” by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore.
In addition to the Breast Cancer Research stamp, the Postal Service offers two other fundraising stamps. The Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp, first issued in 2011, has raised more than $5.2 million to help protect threatened and vanishing species. In addition, the Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp was issued in 2017 and has raised more than $524,000 to fund Alzheimer’s research. All three stamps help raise money for causes in the national public interest and are available for purchase year-round. The Postal Service is promoting each of these stamps through the remainder of the year — starting with the Breast Cancer Research stamp in October, continuing with the Alzheimer’s stamp in November and concluding with Save the Vanishing Species in December.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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