For anyone who has been paying attention, we at THE CANCER SHOW have been doing our best to counter the pink ribbon mania of Pinktober with a dose of reality. It’s had some unintended effects. An old high school classmate recently contacted me on FACEBOOK, writing the following:
“I work with patients every day at ***** Hospital and, …from what I’ve seen, a positive spirit and a determination to fight can’t be overestimated as a tool to keep living. I truly believe that this will to live can be as powerful as some medicines as these people, young and old, fight. Not sure why finding support in the community, hokey though it may be, is looked down on. Looking for your thoughts. Thanks:)”
We at THE CANCER SHOW want to be clear. We don’t hate the idea of community (anything but!) and we love inspiration and good feelings and positivity.
Credit where credit is due: Komen For The Cure are PR GENIUSES. They took a disease that was pretty much verboten to talk about in mixed company and turned it into a cause celebre. I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that due largely to KOMEN, Breast Cancer is the most popular cancer in school.
Gayle Sulik referred to breast cancer as the “dream cause” because it’s one everyone can get behind without having to think real hard. Who wants ladies to lose their breasts? Who wants them to die? Sheesh, this pink ribbon thing is a no brainer.
And the pink ribbon walks and runs, the sight of all those wonderful people walking in solidarity to end breast cancer – how can we not be inspired? At that moment, walking arm and arm in the sun, how can we all not be making the world a better place?
But we at THE CANCER SHOW aren’t satisfied with simply feeling better. We want people to get less cancer.
- -We don’t want people to need a pink ribbon cap for their bald heads.
- -We don’t want them to need pink flannel patches for their post-op masectomy wounds.
- -We don’t want them to need pink prayer wreaths.
- -And we don’t want their loved ones to need support groups and care packages.
But the belief in the Pink Ribbon view of cancer – that somehow with enough positivity and pink colored merchandise it’s just all going to work out is so strong. When Uneasy Pink tried to explain how someone could be against the pink, it didn’t go very well:
“She asked me to explain my point of view, which I did. I tried to explain about Komen and the piddly amount of research they fund. He said he didn’t care because they are rated highly on Charity Navigator…He replied to me that he doesn’t care how Komen spends the money, that he’s sure that no matter how they spend it, it’s the right way.”
How do you counter that?
We don’t believe that cancer will ever be wiped out. But we can have less of it. We can do better than hope.
We can do better.