I have to admit: I can get a bit overwhelmed with the flood of pink on social media, and all over town, as the calendar flips to October. I’m still a rookie. It’s only my third year looking at breast cancer awareness month through the lens of someone who has had breast cancer. While I wouldn't consider myself cynical in nature, I am very aware that too many businesses take advantage of our emotions and try to capitalize on this disease.
Everyone has been touched by cancer or breast cancer. Whether it's ourselves, a relative, or a friend, we all know someone who has battled cancer, making this a highly personal, and emotional, disease. Everywhere you look, there are pink products to buy. Some claim to donate money to the cause, while others are for the pure profit of the manufacturer or business.
Some breast cancer activists are anti-pink, anti-ribbon, against the tata talk, and want you only look at research and prevention, claiming education and awareness are old news.
I find myself still sitting on the fence.
I love pink. It's been my favorite color since I was a little girl. I even had a pink wedding, which was way cooler in the early 90s than it sounds now.
I want people to talk about breast cancer awareness and to engage in activities this month… and really all year round…in any way that is meaningful to them. Just like breast cancer touches each of us differently, and each person’s treatment is different, we all process emotions and experiences differently. No one should be able to tell you how to walk around as a breast cancer patient, or as a supporter of a friend or relative with cancer. That is highly personal. If pink is your thing, wear it. I do, and it makes me happy to see all my friends and relatives sporting their Bye Bye Cancer shirts that we sold to support cancer patients while I was going through treatment.
A pink product doesn't guarantee the proceeds go to a cause. If you like the product, buy it. If it makes you feel good, buy it. But, if you are buying to fund a cause, read the fine print. Breast cancer watchdog, Breast Cancer Action, has been around for over 25 years. They use a phrase called "pinkwashing" when they talk about companies and organizations that tug at our heartstrings in order to sell a "pink" product that might actually cause cancer.
According to Breast Cancer Action, a Pinkwasher is:
A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease. Over the past 10 years, Think Before You Pink has changed the conversation around breast cancer cause marketing. The term “pinkwasher” is now a common term used freely by many advocacy organizations and the media to describe the hypocrisy and lack of transparency that surrounds breast cancer fundraising and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Think Before You Pink campaigns have successfully targeted cosmetic giant Avon; car manufacturers Ford, Mercedes, and BMW; and Yoplait yogurt maker General Mills.
As I said earlier, buy what you want. Buy what you need or like. But if you buy from your heart, make sure your purchases are in alignment with your values.
In this episode, I also covered a few "awareness" basics:
And, I told several stories about how exercise helped me before my surgery, during recovery and how it continues to help me as a breast cancer survivor.
I would love it if you listened to the full episode. It's available on iTunes, Sound Cloud, Spotify and Google Play. Or, you can listen in the player below. Also, if you enjoy the podcast, please head over to iTunes and rate and review the podcast!
Also, if you are in the KC area, I am working with Mark Campbell of Core Strong Fitness, and we are offering TRX for Boobies on October 28th. This is a donation-based class and all funds raised will be donated to Susan G Komen-Kansas City.
To register for TRX for Boobies, go to: http://www.corestrongkc.com/trxforboobies/
Mark and I are also offering a limited number of free training sessions and packages for breast cancer survivors and patients. To nominate someone for a session for patients and survivors go to: https://www.crushingmygoals.com/p/TRXForBoobies
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