The nation’s first “semipostal” stamp, which will serve the dual purpose of sending mail and raising money for breast cancer research, went on sale nationwide Thursday with a kickoff ceremony in Newport Beach.
At ceremonies at Fashion Island, the site of the Orange County Race for the Cure on Sept. 27, U.S. Postal Service officials said the new 40-cent stamp is expected to raise awareness of breast cancer and give the public a chance to help find a cure.
“You’re buying postage and contributing to charity at the same time,” said Rich Maher, a Postal Service spokesman.
The Breast Cancer Research stamp is valid for postage equal to the 32-cent first-class letter rate, but the extra cents will be donated to breast cancer research. The National Institutes of Health will receive 70% of proceeds, and 30% will go to research at the Department of Defense. Both programs were identified as recipients by the 1997 legislation that created the stamp.
Breast cancer is considered the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. It is the leading killer of women between the ages of 35 and 54.
“It’s wonderful that we can enable every American to support breast cancer research one stamp at a time with something as simple as purchasing a stamp at their post office,” said Sueanne Pacini of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation of Irvine.
Dr. Ernie Bodai, a breast cancer surgeon from Sacramento, and Elizabeth “Betsy” Mullen, a breast cancer survivor who founded Covina-based Women’s Information Network Against Breast Cancer, were the driving forces to get the stamp approved. Together, they persuaded Congress last August to pass legislation for the special stamp.