Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why I'm Not Buying Pink Again This Year

I posted the below a year ago.  Now, we are nearly into October again.  October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we will be beseeched to buy pink carnations, pink wristbands, pink "Fight Like a Girl" T-Shirts and pink almost-any-packaged-item you can think of.  All to fight breast cancer.

And I won't buy any of them.  It's out of principle.

Before you boo me off the internet, please bear with me.

When, on a Sunday last October, I found many of my Sunday paper's cartoons were tinted pink, it was the last straw for me, and I wrote this post.  I still stand by every word.  I will gladly join in the fight against cancer (I've participated in several Relay for Life's, for example).  All cancer. 

All cancer deserves a cure, all cancer patients deserve support, and all cancers deserve our attention.  We should not, ever, pit one cancer against another for available funds.

As a sad update, one more person I know passed from cancer this year. This person  fought a valiant fight against multiple cancers.  And none of them was breast cancer.

All cancer sucks.

The Pink Cartoons that Made Me See Red

With deep apologies to one of my dear regular readers, I have to speak out.

Since when is breast cancer more important than other cancers?  It is, if you have it.  But there are a lot of women suffering and dying right now, from other cancers that barely see the light of day.  The light of funding, that is.  Funding for their cure.

Why does breast cancer rate a special fight, while other feminine cancers, such as uterine or ovarian, don't rate as high?  Do they not deserve our attention?  And our funds to "find a cure"?  Or at least a good test, which ovarian cancer needs desperately?

I am sorry, Pink Cartoonists, but I feel you have disrespected my Aunt Trudy, who died from pancreatic cancer.  You disrespected my Aunt Shirley, who died from stomach cancer.  You disrespected my late co worker Madeline, who died from melanoma.  You disrespected my late co worker Patricia who died from lung cancer.

You disrespect a co-worker for many years, whose grandmother and mother both died from colon cancer.  You disrespect the fear she faces every day that she will be next.

You disrespect a former neighbor who lived next door to me. Two years ago she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer (she was way too young for a routine colonoscopy, in case you are wondering.)  You disrespect my late neighbor, a respected teacher in the Johnson City middle school, who succumbed to ovarian cancer and left her husband, also a teacher, to raise their two children.

Their cancer struggles deserve respect. Their cancers deserve walks and a special color and products whose sales help to fund the fight for "the cure".

All cancers deserve a cure.  Not just breast cancer.  I am sorry, I know women fighting breast cancer now and I do not disrespect what they are going through.  What I fight against is this "women united against breast cancer" -while people seem to turn a funding blind eye to those women who were unfortunate enough to come down with a different type.

Don't they deserve a fight for the cure?  A day of cartoon colors in their honor?

I think of the other friends and females relatives in my life.  The survivors (two survivors of thyroid cancer, a survivor of ovarian cancer and a number of breast cancer survivors) and those who did not survive.

Their struggle was heroic, each and every one.  The courage my friend Pat, who knew from the day she was diagnosed that she would not survive and prepared her family for that day without flinching, moved me in particular.  I remember the last time I visited her, when she was in a coma, mere days from death.  She lay there in her living room, with her favorite country music playing.  "She won't respond", her husband said, "but she hears everything you say."  It was so hard to say goodbye.  The words stuck in my throat.  I could swear she weakly squeezed my hand.

My co-worker Madeline struggled for nearly four years against melanoma.

My mother in law, who had two breast cancer diagnoses in one year, with a 10 year old daughter at home, faced her own struggle.

Don't women deserve a race to the "cure" against CANCER, no matter what type?


  1. Beautifully said. There seems to be the disease de jour and there are too many killers out there to only support just one. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I agree 1000%. And you're not the only one, another blogger/author and friend wrote something similar a couple of years ago. In fact, in searching for this post, I found a second one she wrote last year and even someone posting about the pink comics! So, you are not alone :) Every cancer fight does deserve recognition and funding. Renee is correct in her first post - companies are jumping on the "pink" marketing bandwagon for the sake of sales and leaving the reason behind.


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