Breast Cancer Research Stamp by Ernie Bodai

The United States Postal Service continues to sell the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, the first semipostal stamp in US history. The stamp, currently costing 45 cents, has the same first class buying power as the normal 39 cent postage stamp. The extra six cents per stamp is donated to breast cancer research in the United States, going to National Institute of Health (NIH) and Medical Research Program of the Department of Defense (DOD).

Breast Cancer Research Stamp


Ernie BodaiThe idea for the stamp came from Dr Ernie Bodai, director of breast surgical services at Kaiser Permanente‘s hospitals in Sacramento, and author of books, I Flunked My Mammogram (2001), and The Breast Cancer Book of Strength & Courage: Inspiring Stories to See You Through Your Journey.

Bodai, disturbed by decreasing funding for breast cancer research, started to lobby US Postal Service for a fund-raising postage stamp. For a long time the idea was resisted by the Postal Service, with pressure from philatelists compounding concern that the stamp would create a precedent that would be difficult to sustain. Bodai joined forces with a fellow lobbyist, Elizabeth (Betsy) Mullen, and mounted a campaign to convince US Congress and Senate. Finally in 1997, with the support of fellow Californians Senator Diane Feinstein and Representative Vic Fazio, Congress and Senate passed legislation to make it possible for the special stamp to be issued. The stamp was finally issued on July 29, 1998, in Washington D.C.

The breast cancer research stamp was designed by breast cancer survivor Ethel Kessler, of Kessler Design Group in Bethesda, Maryland. The stamp features the words, “Fund the Fight” and “Find a Cure”, and an illustration by Baltimore artist Whitney Sherman. The colourful image features goddess of the hunt Artemis (Greek) or Diana (Roman) with hinting arrow, holding her arm up as if to examine her breast. The colours are intented to present a kaleidoscope of color which symbolically includes all people as this disease knows no boundaries.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

The breast cancer research stamp has been promoted informally through chain emails, which inevitably lose their accuracy as the fund raising figures climb each year. A picture of African women has mistakenly been associated with the breast cancer research stamp campaign.

African Women not in a breast cancer postage stamp

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Postage Stamps, Print

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  • Pam Mottes

    I would like to see more products available with the Ethel Kessler design “Breast Cancer Research Stamp”. Perhaps a TOTE BAG or T’Shirts could be made available as well as jewelry with this fabulous artwork (instead of the pink ribbon). This design is so much more powerful and should be made more available – either through the US Postal Services or privately. Please let me know if there are any plans to use this design on other products. I particularly would like to see a tote bag. A dark background would be very complimentary to the design.

  • Nichelle

    Do you know where I can obtain a print of the 4 African women which was mistakenly advertised as the Breast Cancer Stamp?

    Thanks.

  • Breda O’Brien

    Hi,
    I am a student and doing a project on Female genital mutilation and would love to use the picture of african women on the cover of it, could you give me your permission please via email! I will reference the picture to this website, I will not take the credit myself.
    Thanks, please get back to me
    Breda

  • Laura Lamar

    Hello–I am art director of a magazine called Spectrum Magazine (www.spectrummagazine.org) and love your African women illustration. Would it be possible to obtain permission to use it as an interior illustration in our upcoming spring 2010 issue? And if so, can I obtain a higher resolution file of the artwork? thank you so much.

    • art

      G’day Laura,

      I too am searching for information regarding the image of 4 black African women. I’ve been searching the internet and haven’t been able to find any attribution or source material for this image whatsoever. I too would like to use the image with proper attribution and would need a higher res image. I would like to use it in a personal art project – a two day pavement chalk art project. So I won’t be using it for distribution, publication or gain and the attribution is more a courtesy than a legal necessity. But a larger res image would be very helpful. Any information about this image is greatly appreciated.

      Thanks so much.
      art lindsay

  • Phred

    I too am trying to find information regarding the 4 African Women image. Snopes has no attribution or source for it. Nor can I find any attribution, source or anything else about it anywhere on the net. I too would like to use the image with proper attribution and would need a higher res image. I would like to use it in a personal art project – a two day pavement chalk art project. So I won’t be using it for distribution, publication or gain and the attribution is more a courtesy than a legal necessity. Any information about this image is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

  • http://busteddesigns.com john wesley baker

    the funny thing is that the first time i saw this piece i thought of the mythical amazonian woman who where said to have removed a breast in order to be better archers. That way they could hold the bow taunt to there chest when firing.