Today is officially the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is typically when pink merchandise comes out of the woodwork. Some of it is tasteful and some of it is tacky. Will I wear anything and everything pink? The answer is no. Do I wear pink? The answer is yes.
The why behind it is unclear. It is almost like belonging to a sorority. Pink distinguishes something special and unique about us. Is says we fought a battle and we are still standing. For some, wearing pink is their suit of armor.
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer one year ago, I over-dosed on anything pink. Now I am more selective. A little can go a long way.
I love the movie, Steel Magnolias. In the movie, the daughter is getting married and she and her mother are at the salon arguing about the church decorations. The mother says the sanctuary looks like it was hosed down with Pepto Bismol. And, that the bride’s colors are pink and pink. The bride says to her hair dresser, “My colors are blush and bashful.” This is not mere semantics.
Some people see pink, period. Others see fifty shades of pink and understand why. When I wear something pink, it is to share a message of hope and survival. It represents a mutual respect and an acknowledgement that the battle is not yet over. How can it be? Younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer everyday. For those with triple negative breast cancer, the odds are not in their favor. Many will see their aggressive cancer become metastatic within two years. Some will die young leaving children and a husband to raise them.
Wearing pink in support of breast cancer is a way to bring about awareness. The number of those diagnosed are on the rise not the decline. Clearly, our country is not doing all that it can to obliterate this insidious disease. Prevention is ideal. If we prevent we never have to deal with it. Early detection is paramount to saving lives. Many lives have been saved because their breast cancer was found during a routine mammogram using a digitalized format. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the outcome. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, we need a cure. Those with Stage IV have all but fallen through the cracks in the medical world. Their cancer is ongoing and very real. Imagine if we could find a cure for those in Stage IV.
Donning pink attire is much more than saying it is breast cancer month. It emphasizes the need for awareness, early detection, prevention, self-examination and a cure. There are ways we get involved. The National Breast Cancer Coalition is advocating and working tirelessly to find a cure by 2020. Let’s lend our time and financial support to fund the pink vaccine.
Profits derived from the mass marketing of pink products has not saved any lives. Let’s steer away from this and focus on the pink that is associated with growing, helping and supporting the cause. Let us always be tastefully pink.