In case you’ve been living under a rock and have missed all the pink, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. There are events, runs, and fundraising efforts like the Real Men Wear Pink campaign happening not just throughout Alabama but across the nation.
I’ve always been a little skeptical of the need for the in-your-face-style campaigns that seem more geared toward keeping public relation firms in business than to actual prevention or information, but this year that has changed. First the first time I get it. I’m joining the masses to promote awareness. No, that doesn’t mean I’ll be donning pink every day for the rest of the month, it means I’ll have real and honest discussions with my girlfriends about cancer.
Until this year, I knew nothing about breast cancer. Last Christmas a relatively new friend, Ronda Walker, was diagnosed with the disease and I began following her journey to kicking cancer’s butt.
If you haven’t read Ronda’s personal blog “Merry Christmas Cancer,” you’re missing out on one of the most uplifting and spirited women I’ve ever met. She’s penned some amazing content for our site too (like this post about Daughters Day).
Beyond Ronda’s personal struggle with breast cancer it seems more people than I realized have been touched by the disease.
In Jefferson County, Commissioner Sandra Little Brown frequently speaks of the struggle she faced fighting her own battle with cancer. In a recent interview with Over the Mountain Journal, Little Brown said, “I wish that everybody that went through what I went through could have that support that I had to help pull me through. I want to be able to give that same support to other women who are affected by this disease. One out of 8 women are and that’s too many.”
Most recently David Magee, senior director of content for Alabama Media Group – a man (yes, you read that correctly) who I’ve met several times and who has a storied career in journalism, books and radio – posted on AL.Com that he too has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Reminding us amid the flurry of pink that men too have have a place in both education and awareness.
Knowing friends affected, reading the statistics, and wearing a pink ribbon, however, doesn’t make us any more aware. I hope you take a moment to research the disease and talk to those you know who have or continue to be affected with it. Check out Cancer.org and look into your local chapter of the Cancer Society, The Birmingham Chapter, who are doing great things.
In closing, I’ll leave you with this line from Ronda’s post from last week, I couldn’t say it any better myself:
The problem: the misnomer of awareness. October became breast cancer awareness month in 1985 – 30 years ago – so it stands to reason we should all know a lot about the disease, right? Wrong! Wearing pink doesn’t make you aware of the reality of breast cancer any more than wearing a jersey makes you a football player.
As I sit here in the midst of my breast cancer fight, I am astounded at all I did not know about breast cancer this time last year. By mid-October last year I was tired of seeing all of the pink, I was tired of hearing about mammograms, I was ready to move on to November. Little did I know at the time breast cancer was growing like wildfire in my body, spreading into my lymphatic system, ready to kill me. I was 42 years old when I was diagnosed and in spite of the 30-year-long awareness push I actually knew very little about breast cancer. From someone who has been in the game – who had her butt singed by the fires of hell and lived to tell about it – please let me make you a little more aware about breast cancer.