Thursday, October 18, 2007

Overload in Pink

I've tried to hold it in, not blog about it, bite my tongue. I just can't anymore. This is not meant to offend my friends, family and others who have dealt with Breast Cancer. I respect that they have fought or are fighting this thing called Cancer, too. It's really more of a dig at the "corporatization"(is that even a word?) of a single illness. I'm guessing folks felt this way about AIDS in the 90s, but this whole pink thing is just rubbing me the wrong way!

Maybe it's because Debra is losing the battle with Ovarian Cancer. Maybe it's because there are so many other cancer's out there that need funding. Maybe it's because it's just over doing it on so many levels. I'm sure there some deeper meaning about why this is effecting me so much, but I don't have time to reflect on this. So instead, I'll just write about it.

On Tuesday, I accompanied Debra to her Gyne/Onc appointment. After standing there listening to all the things that are going wrong and listening to options to give her better quality of life and hopefully extend that life, I just blurted out to our nurse, "Are you guys as sick of the pink stuff as I am." She smiled and confirmed what I had been feeling since the end of September. You see, this all started with a little activity scheduled at work. Fortunately, I was at my retreat...with at least 4 breast cancer survivors!

Apparently, the company that makes Lee Jeans sponsored a National Denim Day to encourage folks to wear jeans(how convenient) and make a $5 donation to support breast cancer research. My employer took it even further and allowed anyone donating $20 to wear jeans the entire month of October. Initially, I was pleased that we were participating in something that was raising funds for cancer research...then I realized it was only for breast cancer research. It made me incredibly sad that breast cancer is getting so much press when Ovarian Cancer seems more likely to kill a woman.

Am I wrong to be upset? I hope not. I hope this feeling is seen as valid and not petty or bitter. Like I said, this isn't directed at the people who are affected by breast cancer, just the corporations who are trying to make a buck all in the name of a disease. I've recently been made aware of sites such as Think Before You Pink that "...calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising..." and points out corporate "pinkwashers." Pinkwashers are companies that give money to Breast Cancer causes while simultaneously make products that contribute to the disease.

Please continue to donate to whatever causes you feel are appropriate for you. Do your homework first and make sure the money is being spent wisely.

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