Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Wrap-up

This year's breast cancer awareness month ended with snow for some of us.

It was an interesting month.

Personally, two years out, it was a bit easier to take.

It also seemed a bit less merchandised. (A bit, not a lot.)

I was very pleased the see New York's AG go after "pink ribbon scams." Phony charities, and pink ribbon products that are misleading.

Here is an idea.

Stores, don't sell pink ribbon merchandise if at least a respectable percent of profits do not go to a reputable charity.

Seriously, consumers are not the only ones who need to "think when they pink." Retailers can take a big role as well.

Target? You are in Minnesota! You have the most media-friendly policy of a retail chain. I love you for that! Wanna bite? Take a pledge?

I do think that the pink ribbon backlash became a hot topic this year, and while I am not personally anti-pink, any thoughtful debate of the issues benefits us all.

Metastatic breast cancer seemed to get more press in October of 2011. At work I got one press release offering a MBC Satellite Media Tour.

I realize for some of you, nothing short of cutting the pink ribbon will be enough. But I also think there is a middle road, and we took some important steps on it this year.

One last thought. A few months ago I saw "The Normal Heart", a play about the birth of AIDS activism. That movement wasn't always pretty.

For those of you who feel we need something more direct than BCA month, there is a whole year ahead.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't miss this blog

I love everything about it. The graphics, the writing, the spirit, and the message.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One more better pink purchase

I found it really touching that someone would do a tie-in for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.
It is just nice to see a company that gets it.
Go Rebecca Taylor!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pink promotions: the wheat from the chaff

So I have seen a few pink ribbon promotions that are "bettter than average"
Ann Taylor Loft has a deal where your can buy a 20% off coupon for $25. 90% goes to BCRF.

I think this is smart, first of all BCRF uses a very high percent of donations for research, also except for the card and folder, it does not require manufacturing special pink items. Smaller carbon footprint perhaps? I bought a skirt and jeans that I would have bought anyway.

The also have a line of special shirts, but they were not quite my cup of tea. They had some special fashion jewelry as well.

I still wonder who will take my challenge to have a FRESH VEGETABLE pink promotion. Seriously Komen, pick up the phone and call the broccoli guild or cauliflower growers. Go for it!!!!

Till that happens, there is a Komen Green Giant promotion.

Komen does offer fresh flower bouquets that include a donation at at least some Weis Markets.

On the flip side, I am surprised that Hard Rock Cafe is using the name "Pink October" for their promotions. Isn't that kind of our little derogatory term?

Friday, October 14, 2011

a thoughtful pink cheerleader

OK, so I was watching "Five" on Lifetime last week, when I commented, "I wish someone with breast cancer had been involved in the writing or at least looked at the script."

One of my fellow viewers said, "Maybe somebody did but they were a big pink cheerleader."

Ouch! You don't have to scroll down far to know that I am willing to wear pink a few times a year, and do not have a zero-tolerance policy on pink ribbons. (Except the Walgreen's cap. I HATE the Walgreen's cap.)

I hope that the pink has not eroded my brain so much that I can not tell the difference between a sincere show of support, and exploitative merchandising. It is possible to support a pink cause and still have a thoughtful understanding of breast cancer.  So I guess my new self-description is "a thoughtful pink cheerleader."

It's interesting, I now bring up the "pink ribbon controversy" to people at the breast cancer events I speak at, and to be honest, it's not really a mainstream topic, even with women's health care professionals. I do tell people that pink ribbons are a negative to some women with breast cancer, and there is a growing backlash.

Which brings me to some other thoughtful cheerleaders.

I actually have no problem with these gals and their, "Feel for lumps, save your bumps" t-shirt. I mean it actually is kind of catchy.  It's age appropriate as well. While it's true not every breast can be conserved, and not every cancer locally controlled, for teenage girls I think it's an OK place to start.

AND...the article moves on the the whole pinkwashing issue. Honestly I think the segway is a little random, but it is interesting to see our debate is becoming sort of a standard "nutgraf" to a breast cancer article.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oct 13:Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Underneath the "pink" vs. "un-pink" debate is an issue that is more compelling to me. Where does metastatic breast cancer fit into awareness campaigns?

I truly believe that a crucial part of being in this community is lending support to women who have received this diagnosis. Putting our early-stage heads in the sand benefits nobody.

I have been saddened to see how many women with MBC feel marginalized. They believe not enough research and resources are directed towards women who are fighting to stay alive. Some feel that it is becoming an us vs. them situation.

Nothing about breast cancer is simple. Many women do endure treatment and go on to live healthy lives, others do not. It is so completely unfair.

Somehow we have to find room for both truths. Not everyone likes the word survivor, but I remember what one woman with MBC said to me at the Young Survivors Convention. "Every day you are here, you are a survivor."

Anyhow please take a look at this article by one of the very first Loop contributors Pamela Beth Grossman.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crossing the Border to Fight Breast Cancer

You want to know a really geeky secret about me? Having NOTHING to do with breast cancer!

I am a geography geek. I love maps. I really love "How the States Got Their Shapes."

This summer the hubster and I finally visited Niagara Falls. When I got there my mind could not help but thinking, "I just checked this off my 'bucket list'."

But as grating as the touristy towns surrounding the falls can be, the falls are amazing.

So I loved this next "pink" article.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A breath test? A vaccine?

This is not the most in-depth story, but it is intriguing. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Airports prove turbulent for breast cancer survivors

I guess not everyone is aware.

This is a blog post from a woman who was treated very poorly by the TSA at JFK.

I have never been through anything close to this, but I have had my own awkward moments. Back when I was Kineso tape queen a screener asked me what it was and almost started crying when I told her.

On the way home from YSC a friend with a head scarf got an odd comment from the ID checker.

At one point in my recovery I really did need the extra minute to get on the plane, and I was sort of brushed off by the gate attendant.

Perhaps one solution is to find out the most pink ribbon sweatshirt you can. So far the terrorists don't have a partnership with Komen.

BTW the TSA was quoted in the NYT as saying they work with breast cancer groups. 

I would love to know more.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My shiny, happy, pink day

I have thought a lot about the whole idea that Breast Cancer walks undermine the concept that this is a deadly disease. And I am not dismissing it.

However, for thousands of years people have dressed up in costumes, participated in ritual, and celebrated being alive. Kind of like mummers?

So here is my pink postergirl photo from my local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Hunt for Pink October

I finally had a chance to go shopping today, and I am seeing a lot less breast cancer awareness merchandise.

I realize some of you will feel good about that, and some will be distressed. I am just surprised. I wanted to grab a few things since my Making Strides walk is tomorrow.

Sears: Nothing

Wal-Mart: only some pink ribbon scrubs. They may have had greeting cards somewhere.

Target: Nothing I could see

Old Navy: a few Komen T-shirts. Some exercise clothes with pink trim.

Kohl's: nothing

Michael's Crafts:  two displays of pink ribbon merchandise, only the duct tape was endorsed by Breast Cancer Research Foundation

CVS: Komen Sunglasses, 20 cent donation for each item.

Even the Estee Lauder counter did not have pink ribbons to give away.

The Hallmark store had a miserable little display, almost none of the items indicated any charity relationship. (The I Love Boobies bracelets are the only possible exception, and I consider them to be more like the ACLU now.) Honestly it looked like last year's leftovers.

So what happened?

Is this a good thing?