October is breast cancer awareness month in the US. Which means a flood of pink around the nation.
Each year I make an effort to explain, as gently as possible, to explain why I refuse to participate.
On October 1, 2016, my cousin, who was eleven months older than me and one of my best friends in our teens, came to me at the salon with a request for mermaid hair. Blue fading into green. A few days later, another friend of hers shaved it down to a three foot mohawk. Eighteen months after that, she was gone.
That day she came to me, she had been diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer. In the summer of 2018 she had traveled out of state to follow one of her favorite bands – because she never stopped loving life – and passed out at the show. When she got checked out from that, they found more than forty tumors in her brain.
That first day in 2017, we talked about the irony of starting treatment in October and how we felt about BCA month.
Here’s the reality.
Ten percent or less of the money raised by Susan G. Komen is actually funneled into researching for treatment or a cure. Fifty percent or more of the pink merchandise sold in stores is just that – merchandise. It supports the companies selling it, not breast cancer research or patients. Ninety percent or more of the campaigning for BCA is geared toward woman and fifty percent of that is sexualized. Campaigns like Save the Tatas ignore the human. And breast cancer is not gender specific. Men are just as susceptible to it as women.
So, while I support breast cancer research and survivors, I refuse to participate in the onslaught of pink without purpose. I don’t judge anyone who does participate but I won’t.
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