It’s October. Much like many other 35-year-old women, I love this month. I love the way the seasons show their true colors. I love the way the air starts to smell of a chill. And I love that outside becomes a place where I want to be every evening to feel twilight when it falls on the day.
October. It’s a month that breathes hope of a more idyllic life.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Three years ago, I would have told you that Breast Cancer Awareness Month was about T-shirts and socks and NFL players Pinking Out and really cute drifit clothes. I never really checked into the efficacy of it all. Of the dollars raised. Of the Awareness fostered.
And then it hit me. Two years Breast Cancer hit me too close to home. In my right breast, to be exact. I became the cause.
And I started to think about Pinktober. Did I hate it? Did I love it? Does it even make sense?
Having worked in non-profit, I can say that if you have a cause that can bag a “month” of the year, that’s never bad. But just how is that month used?
We are in a time where there are more options than ever to raise FREE awareness. A time where, if we want to get a message out to a large group in one fell swoop, social media makes that pretty darn easy peasy. We are in a time where, perhaps more than any other time, there are options to partner with businesses and brands to promote a cause to the masses. And we are in a time where, as usual, the human race seems to want to dig in and affect change.
But we don’t need to pay for Awareness. The Pink can be effective an effective to get the message out. But Awareness is not going to be the cure.
If the Pink makes you want to make a donation to a hospital or a clinic or a research initiative, then think Pink.
If the Pink makes you want to share the story of a person who is currently rocking their own treatment, then think Pink.
If the Pink makes you want to take a meal to a friend whose family is dealing with a diagnosis, or offer to provide rides to and from treatment, or take a moment to write someone a note to say that all the Pink has them in your thoughts, then please, think Pink.
If the Pink is the push you need to do a monthly Self Breast Exam, to schedule a baseline or annual mammogram, to have genetic testing done because of a family history, or to schedule an annual physical just because you haven’t checked up on your body for awhile, then definitely, think Pink.
If the Pink makes you celebrate because you went through a cancer diagnosis, got to kick it in the pants, and have lived on to thrive with a new perspective, then get on with your bad self and think Pink.
If the Pink means you talk with your kids about why everything is Pink. If it makes you tell them about the warriors. If it makes your family dress in matching gear and walk or run or bike for someone who has fought and been a warrior of the disease. Then think Pink.
If the Pink makes you wear something in an effort to honor someone who has lost their battle, or send a note to a family who has lost a mother or brother or a sister to the disease and is reminded of that in every single store and gas station and sporting event during this month, then truly think Pink.
If the Pink makes you want to open your checkbook, click on to PayPal, or punch in your credit card for an organization that efficiently uses dollars to support research, science, or true patient advocacy, then think Pink over and over again.
I support the Pink because I have no other choice. I am one in eight. I am a survivor. I am not a ribbon. I am not just one month, but in so many ways, I AM the PINK. And so are so many of my friends, and acquaintances. We are Pink.
So what do I think about ALL the Pink? I will never complain about a cause so personal to me gaining awareness or gaining an opportunity for dollars to be raised. So many other causes would love to have the attention of as many eyeballs as Breast Cancer and the Pink gets.
So If Pink speaks to you as hope… as more days for the metavivors, for higher cure rates and lower recurrence rates, for breast cancer to become a diagnosis of the past… then I think Pink is doing its good. And if that’s what Pink makes you think of, then please, think Pink every single day of the year… not just in October.