There was a time that the month of October meant that the days got shorter, the air got cooler and the leaves started to turn colors. October meant that it was time to stock up on candy corn and wander the aisles of Walmart looking for a costume that my child would destroy in approximately three hours. October meant autumn and that meant winter was around the bend.
Now, October means breast cancer. And breast cancer means pink. So, put away your dark greens, browns, reds and oranges and pull out your pink. And wear it with pride. Show your support. Show you are aware.
I won’t wear pink. The fact that I look horrible in pink is irrelevant. The fact that it clashes with my hair isn’t important. The only thing that is important to me, at this point in my life, is that it is painful for my friends if I wear pink.
For some people, they have to have been there to understand this. I am fortunate enough to learn through other’s experiences. Experiences that I would have preferred they hadn’t had.
Here is what I have learned. Every time you put on “the pink” to show your support for a breast cancer survivor, you are forcing them to relive a moment they would like to forget. Every pink ribbon, every pink bracelet, every pink shirt (and now every bald cap….) you don is an assault on the soul of a breast cancer survivor. Any attempt to move on from the darkest moment of their lives is interrupted when you or I, with good intentions, try to spread awareness. They are aware. And, let’s face it….we are aware. Breast cancer awareness campaigns have been the most successful of all cancer campaigns in the history of cancer campaigns. I’m not sure that we can get anymore aware.
We don’t need to raise any more money in the name of breast cancer awareness. What we need to do is to raise money to research breast cancer and work towards a cure. Only recently, have I come to understand how very little money raised from pink campaigns go to breast cancer research. I don’t want my friends to be traumatized every October. I want them to celebrate a cure. I don’t want to be the one who reopens a psychic wound that sits close to the surface. I want to be the one who can have a drink with them when we are 85. I don’t want them to relive the worst moment of their lives. I want be there with them in the best moment; the moment they know they won’t have to fear this disease any longer.
Please, rethink the pink. Put your money into research, not a color no one should be wearing in the fall.