Breast Cancer Advocates: Five Minutes of Your Time, Please…

5minutesI am thrilled and honored to be attending the upcoming AACR Scientist <-> Survivor Program in April! One of the requirements for us as advocates is to present a poster. Mine focusing on giving researchers greater insight into who advocates are and what they do. To do that, I need your help.

The survey linked below is 9 questions long and will take no more than 5 minutes. I am not collecting any personal data and your responses will be combined with those of others; you will not be identified in any way.

Please TAKE THE SURVEY to help me explain who we are, what we do, and why we do it!

Thank you VERY much in advance!!

The Stolen Color From My Rainbow

ImageI’ve been pondering this post for about nine months, since October, when our concerns with “pinkwashing” peak each year. That is when it first occurred to me that I resent giving up pink. Today’s release of the new film Pink Ribbons, Inc. prompted my return to the subject. (I already have my tickets for tonight’s showing at the Laemmle.)

I have never been a huge fan of pink. Too girly, maybe or too cheerful for my “take no prisoners” and follow no rules self. But that does not change the fact that pink should be mine to reject, not “theirs” to take away. The color has been usurped by the cause marketing world as a vehicle for selling products, most of which do nothing to impact breast cancer.

As the movie explains, the ribbon didn’t even start out as pink in the first place. It began in the early ‘90s as a peach ribbon, created by Charlotte Haley, whose grandmother, sister and daughter all had breast cancer. Ms. Haley used handmade ribbons to bring awareness to the lack of funds directed toward breast cancer prevention by NCI. She is rumored, ironically, to have rejected Estee Lauder when they approached her about co-opting the ribbon as a broader symbol of anything but her personal awareness campaign. Enter pink…

In the breast cancer world pink may be the most divisive thing of all! Some love it, some hate it, but no one seems to be quiet about it. The division doesn’t help us! We, the breast cancer community, must come together. We must give up the pink war. We must use the vast resources at our disposal to strategically focus on curing breast cancer. We need to prevent disease. We need better treatment. We need prevent metastasis. And we need to prevent people from dying. We don’t need pink.

A few weeks ago I came home with new pajamas. As I was putting them away husband noticed and said, “But they’re pink…” Yes, they were pink! Why shouldn’t they be? I want the beauty of my rainbow back, in all its colors!

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure news cycle seems to be winding down just a bit, with the latest reports focusing on Nancy Brinker’s excessive expense reimbursements and calls for her resignation. As the story evolved, I was often asked my opinion. Those who have supported friends and/or walked in races or purchased any of the myriad of Komen-endorsed products want to know that they’ve done good. They want to know that with the re-funding of Planned Parenthood (which appears to mean that PPFA will again be eligible to apply for grants in the future, with no indication that they will be funded) and the resignation of Karen Handel that Komen is once again the venerable breast cancer charity of choice. They want everything to return to business as usual.
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How Do We Go Forward?

I should have known better than to go to sleep with a half-written piece in the midst of a 24-hour news cycle on this one. However, I was pleased to greet the news that Komen is reversing its decision to defund Planned Parenthood, and so I begin again.

The news is good, and not for me. It is good for the thousands upon thousands of women’s whose lives depend on the healthcare provided by Planned Parenthood, women whose cancer is discovered or minds set at ease thanks to the breast cancer screenings provided. THOSE are the women we can’t lose site of in this controversy. More

Komen Losses Its Compass

At first I was too stunned to put together a coherent thought on Susan G Komen’s most recent announcement that they are pulling already-approved grants to Planned Parenthood to provide mammograms to low-income, uninsured women. I still don’t quite have the words to articulate my outrage, but SOMETHING has to be said, and I take great comfort in the uprising of people across the internet who have spoken so clearly against this action.

News on this story has been moving quickly, and from one report I glimpsed Planned Parenthood has already replaced $400,000 of the funds through unsolicited donations. Amazing…. More

Not Funding Mammograms for the Cure

In a thinly veiled move that defies explanation, Susan G Komen For the Cure has chosen to pull the plug on mammograms for low-income and/or underinsured women. What might their next step “for a Cure” be?

Slate on Komen     Jezebel on Komen

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