I look forward to a day when there are no ribbons, pink or otherwise.
I used to feel “lucky” that if I had to get cancer, at least it was one that received so many dollars for research and support. After all, it has almost become the “cool cancer,” what with all the pink merchandise and hoopla. And then there’s that pink sisterhood of support.
I’ve been questioning the pink culture thanks to some interesting blogs I’ve been following. I’ve always wondered that with all the millions going to breast cancer, why are they no closer to a cure? It seems all that is pink isn’t so rosy, given the abysmal amount of money (about 3 percent) that goes to metastatic research.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the sisterhood and attention. And I appreciate organizations that help breast cancer survivors. After all, I serve on the board of Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG), a fabulous support organization that recently launched a program called Mommy Has Breast Cancer (MHBC). The program provides free housekeeping, transportation, childcare and meals to Cincinnati-area women undergoing treatment who have children under 18 at home. I was just giving a presentation today touting the organization and how they’ve helped me and so many others.
When I put something about it on my Facebook page, I received an interesting comment from someone who raised the question about moms with cancers other than breast cancer. Of course, PRG funds are limited and we are, after all, Pink Ribbon Girls. But her comment was thought-provoking. Her question was, “When will we see that where cancer strikes is not what bonds us together but our efforts to LIVE and how we support ALL survivors?”
When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2008, I suddenly didn’t identify as much with the pink part of my disease. The metastatic part was what prompted me to reach out to other stage IV survivors of all types of cancer. I found that I shared more with these women and men than my “pink sisters” who don’t have to deal with constant scans and treatments. It’s not so easy to say “it’s all behind us,” as I was reminded today as I lie still on the PET scan machine trying not to itch my eyebrow and visualizing that this time it will be clear.
This is why I wrote this blog and my book, From Incurable to Incredible™. I wanted to spread hope and support to people with all types of cancer and other chronic illnesses. I chose LIVESTRONG as a beneficiary because they support everyone, regardless of the area of the body where cancer occurs. Anyone who has heard the words, “You have cancer” is in the same boat. We’re all human and share the same feelings that often waver between hope and despair. We need to help and support each other and be color-blind. Pink is not the only color in the cancer rainbow.
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