When did breast cancer awareness become trendy?

Yes October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – in case you haven’t noticed all the pink ribbons on EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE. I do not begrudge the cause, but I think all the pink merchandise is now bordering on overkill. I mean I, of all people. (and I’ll explain in a bit) appreciate that people want to find a cure. But sometimes I wonder how much of the “proceeds that go from buying such and such item” really does go to breast cancer research.

The thing about BC is that it ain’t pretty. And it certainly ain’t cute and pink. I should know. My mother died of it, her mother before her. I am high-risk and my younger sister had a scare before she was 30 and several cousins have had either lumps, cysts, even breasts removed! It’s a DISEASE, it hurts those that are afflicted and their families. When my family was living with the disease, there were no support groups or races or pink ribbons. It was a noose hanging over all our heads, and despite the best care, cancer took my mother. My siblings and I were in our teens and our lives were never the same. There were dark times but as they say, time heals all wounds… and so we live with the memory, the memory of pain and suffering. I haven’t ran the race (for a cure), I’ve never purchased a product JUST because it had a PINK ribbon on it. When breast cancer research has all beautiful people (celebrities) singing, dancing parading for “awareness,” and companies jumping on the bandwagon turning their products PINK for a month — you start to wonder if these people aren’t exploiting others’ misfortune. I FEEL NUMB.

When you THINK PINK, everyone is chipper and smiling – but come on people, it is an UGLY disease. Ask anyone who’s gone through chemo if they feel like wearing that shirt with a PINK PONY or buying a pink can of soup. I believe that some companies are only put ting out pink products without actually donating any money to research and are just taking advantage of people’s innate desire to do good – or put another away, they are cashing in on a “trend.” That being said, I still do support people and organizations that really do what they say and give to the charities they claim to support.

A couple of weekends ago, I attended a breast cancer awareness fundraiser organized by my friends from a team of women who are doing the 3-day walk in San Diego. Their team is called Boobs on the Move – according to the website : a grassroots effort to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research (And have fun while we’re doing it). That night, they were having a pub crawl in downtown Huntington Beach. Booze, boobs and cancer awareness made for an interesting night. The idea was to go from one pub to another to schmooze and get people to buy these $20 tickets that entitled them to prizes and special drink offers. I didn’t win but I had fun watching. Some people mistook me for one of the organizers so I helped out, answered questions and listened to their stories. One man, came in oblivious to the event – but when he saw it was for cancer, he gave us a crisp $20 saying his wife had died of cancer. What do you say to that??? Then came a tipsy woman who gave me a hug—told me her lifestory practically: ”I’m a survivor she said,” and I looked , gave her a hug. She partied on into the night and it was good to see her living it up.  The Boobs on the Move gals accomplished their goals: raised some money for breast cancer research and had some fun.  I’ll drink to that.  But please — don’t make me wear pink!

PS. If you share these sentiments, you should check out   Think Before You Pink™, a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the number of pink ribbon products on the market.

2 thoughts on “When did breast cancer awareness become trendy?

  1. I am totally with you and wonder about all the large corps that are jumping on the pink bandwagon. Granted it brings attention and hopefully $$ to the cause, but …

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