I prepared an article about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had timeline information about the genesis of the pink ribbon campaign and the association of pink with breast cancer. I identified the major players in the breast cancer non-profits and even touched on some of the controversy surrounding some of the organizations. I did a lot of research. However, I decided to set that article aside. I just wasn’t able to make a tangible connection between buying pink things and actually helping women who suffered from breast cancer.
I wear pink gloves while I deliver mail in October because I want to show my support for those who have been affected by breast cancer. But I began to wonder “in November, when I take the gloves off, what will that have actually accomplished?” I couldn’t answer my own questions. Did I drive anyone to an appointment? Did I prepare meals for anyone or babysit anyone’s children so husbands and wives could spend some time together – or just rest. Did I chip in on the cost of a wig….or even a bandana? I don’t know where the money from all the “pink marketing” goes, but I know not enough of it gets back to many women who could use it.
My mom suffered from numerous breast tumors – all of them benign, thank God (really…sincerely…I thank God). My Aunt recently went through a really tough bout with breast cancer and thankfully kicked its butt. I also just learned a coworker’s wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer. A lot of publicity is given to breast cancer, but it’s not the only type of cancer we’re fighting. Throat cancer took my grandfather from me while he was still relatively young. Men can also get breast cancer although testicular and prostate cancers are far more common for men. My friend Ally has been fighting complications from ovarian cancer for several years. She’s literally given her fight legs by becoming an organizer and a champion of the Sarcoxie, MO Relay for Life. Debbie, another friend who I went to high school with, is living with cancer in Texas. She’s fighting cancer as a member of a medical test group formed to tryout experimental cancer treatments. Both these ladies also give support to others suffering from cancer.
That’s the gist of what I’m trying to write. Of course awareness is important. I’m thankful for what breast cancer awareness organizations have done to get far more women educated about early detection. But personal involvement – taking action against all forms of cancer and addressing the impacts on the lives touched by it – is equally important. Buying something pink “shows” support but “provides” about as much help to a cancer patient as a band-aid does for a burn victim. We can’t just wear good looking trunks while we stand in the ring with a killer. This is WAY more serious than making a good showing. Inaction is a deadly sin that will harm all of us. We can’t just buy our way out of this. Instead of simply being “pink-washed’ into “buying” the cure, we need to personally support those suffering from cancer and work together to actually find the cure. Donating to a national cause is great, but we live in our local communities and that’s where we need to take our stand because our neighbors are in the fight of their lives.
© 2014 Curt Savage Media notwordsalone.wordpress.com