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Wear pink for fashion, not advocacy

awareness cancer design pink
Wear Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and pink is the symbolic color to promote recognition of and education about the disease. Let’s show support for all who’ve been affected by breast cancer. Join us in wearing pink on Friday, Oct. 18 to display advocacy for breast cancer awareness. Whether you have a friend or family member facing cancer or you’ve been on that difficult journey yourself, wear pink to show your encouragement. Send photos for a chance to be featured on our social media pages. Show the world your tribute to cancer warriors and dedication to the cause.

My well-meaning but noncommittal employer sent this message to all employees today. Their philosophy for everything seems to be “avoid offending anyone.”

What’s wrong with pink?

The time for pink ribbons has come and gone. Now, the meaning has become even more diluted by just wearing pink–as if that’s supposed to mean something. These campaigns don’t do anything–they just become lost in National Apple Pie Day and International Whale Watchers Month.

Breast cancer–like many diseases–doesn’t need awareness. If you don’t know someone who’s had cancer, you know someone who’s been touched by it. Education, prevention, and research need to be emphasized–not support. Complaining about cancer is about as effective as praying about cancer. Do something about it.

Tell your story

My former mother-in-law is a three-time cancer survivor—lung cancer, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. She is now healthy but taking chemotherapy for the rest of her life.

I have a friend who is a breast cancer survivor, with four small children. She got a double mastectomy and managed to maintain a positive spirit through the whole journey.

One of my sisters is a leukemia survivor.

One of my aunts has lived a long life with multiple sclerosis.

One of my uncles died of ALS.

A friend died at 33 after a life with cystic fibrosis, then a double lung transplant, then complications from pneumonia.

These are the stories we should be telling. Keep illnesses front and center, so people don’t get complacent.

Do what you can

It’s hard. I know. You can’t solve all of the world’s problems on your own. But you can do something. Pick a cause, any cause. Do something. You don’t have to give away all of your money to all of the causes. But you can raise money. You can work for a fundraiser. You can bring a meal to a sick friend. Do something. Anything. And encourage others to do the same.

Educate yourself

There are plenty of charitable organizations out there, and I’m not going to argue about which ones are “good” and which are “greedy.” You have to decide things for yourself. But one thing I do know is that research is the key. Without scientific research, these problems aren’t going away. So find some way to support research.

If you want to donate money, or find some other way to support research, one place to start is at Charity Navigator. There are other sites like it, but I like this one because it’s a 501(c)3 public charity with the mission to make easier for everyone to contribute to charitable organizations of any kind. They “grade” charities based on financial responsibility, accountability, and transparency. So you can find out about the organization of your choice and decide whether your donation will do some good.

In fact, check out their Perfect 100 list–organizations they gave a perfect score. If you’re not sure what you want to support, this might be a good jumping off place.

A final word

There’s nothing wrong with advocacy. Speaking out is important. But these days, it can feel like everyone is talking about something. And talk only goes so far. I encourage you to examine your values and do something to make an impact.


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