October 12, 2014 by Lisa
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means well-meaning people everywhere will turn everything pink. Practically anything you can think of will be awash in hues ranging from petal pink to bright fuchsia. Stores will jump on the bandwagon to promote pink products for sale. There will be public events and publicity showcasing breast cancer survivors. And once again, I’ll grit my teeth and mutter “There are other cancers, you know.”
I get that in many ways it’s a numbers game and that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and the second most deadly for us as well. I feel only support for those affected by cancer, especially those of us who battle it personally. It’s just the color-coded awareness campaigns that make me rage. Like we’re on different football teams competing against one other, with separate groups of “fans” cheering us on. And events celebrating survivors of one type of cancer feel clique-y to those who have/had another type of cancer.
My cancer may have a color. Teal? Nope, I think that’s ovarian cancer. Purple? That might be it. Hang on . . . a quick Google search tells me it’s lime green. I honestly had no idea. I really did think it was purple. In any event, it does have a name: non-Hodgkins lymphoma. What it doesn’t have is a massive marketing budget. And it’s actually pretty common as far as cancers go. Can you imagine the marketing budget for chordomas? I’ll bet it’s nonexistent.
All throughout the month, I’ll sit on the sidelines and read about any number of events for breast cancer survivors. Jealous? Sure I am. I work just as hard to survive each and every day, but there are no fashion shows or photo campaigns celebrating me. I won’t find lime-green waffle irons in the store, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting organizations that benefit me. And that’s fine, frankly, because I believe that if you want your money to go to an organization, then send it to that organization. Don’t pat yourself on the back because $1 of your water bottle purchase was donated.
Be color-blind when it comes to cancer. Give your money and time to organizations that can help everyone, no matter what type of cancer they have. Here are a few options for you: