I’ve been struggling with this post for several weeks. I’ve so much to say and yet I worry that I may offend. Work friend Amy J., reminded me that I don’t have to be PC about my disease. I need to put this out there and let others ponder their own actions.
October as we all know is breast cancer awareness month. Earlier this month, I received the latest edition of Ulta’s shopping circular. Six pages of pink merchandise that benefit a variety of organizations all claiming to help people like me. Make a donation of $10 dollars and receive a pink umbrella or a drink cup. How ’bout some Hope in a Jar. Really? I can’t say that I have ever found hope in a jar, miracles in body wash or found inspiration in a bottle of pink nail polish.
I found hope through friends and family on my darkest days. I found miracles in the mundane, small things that we all take for granted like the flowers growing on my porch which seemingly withered away in this summer’s drought and then reemerged when the temps returned to normal. I found inspiration in meeting women like me who have battled much more courageously than I in their own cancer and won.
So many people support breast cancer causes through the products they buy. They think they are supporting a good cause. I ask you to please do some research before you buy that pink ribbon emblazoned item that contributes scant amounts of money to the cause. Ask yourself if you really need that item. Could your money be better spent as a direct donation to the local hospital or health clinic? Would it be better to just write a check rather than turning in an envelope full of labels from your yogurt cups? For women who do not have health insurance, their monthly prescriptions of tamoxifen can cost up to $300. This is a life saving drug that I will be taking for the next five years. Do the math, even at a reduced cost on most insurance plans, the expenses add up.
There are several reputable organizations that do a wealth of work with the money they raise and I realize that without the likes of Komen, my treatment may have been completely different. I watched the documentary movie Pink Ribbons Inc. last week and had my eyes opened to the pink-washing that goes on in retail in this country. Research, early detection, convenient access to drugs and treatment are all key to finding a cure. Buying a mug with a pink ribbon on it is not.