Monday, October 24, 2011

The Hunt for Pink October

          It’s October. Even though we may mean well with all that pink, are we doing any real good?  I try to understand wanting to raise awareness of breast cancer, but do you know anyone who is not aware of it? I, like many, am painfully aware. I’ve had the disease twice. The first time, in 1996 I also faced divorce, bankruptcy, and selling the family home. When I mentioned to a friend that I was going to see a therapist, she pointed out there is a lot more to me than my breast cancer. She was right and I was grateful she said that. My second time around, three years later, my friends Cathy and Carol sold raffle tickets for cash prizes. One winner said to just keep the money for me. I’m aware, so October for me is breast cancer in-your -face-month.
            When you festoon yourself with pink and fill your Facebook status line with talk of breast cancer, I get it. I understand wanting to celebrate your survival or someone else’s, wanting to honor the memory of a loved one. But are you doing the good you could?
            I’ve seen those Facebook call-to-action lines: “I’m posting this to raise awareness of breast cancer. If you know anyone who has had this disease or if you know anyone who knows someone who has had this disease, please post this as your status for at least one hour to help end the suffering.”
            Really? Even if the hour turns into a whole month, where did that get us?
            A former co-worker unfriended me on Facebook last October after I commented on seeing enough pink and hearing more than enough about breast cancer. She said she was talking about it to honor the memory of her neighbor Jennifer.
There’s more she, and any of us can do though. Check in with your local hospital. Maybe you can drive patients to chemo appointments. Don’t have time for that? Donate to the Breast Cancer Prevention Fund that helps to pay for uninsured woman to have mammograms.
Wear pink if you like, why not? It’s a start, but don’t make it all you do.   

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