Saturday, October 6, 2012

October F'n Pink

I never liked the color pink.  This girl did not want pink anything as a kid, nor as an adult.  The closest people in my life know me to add a word full of feeling to the word pink.    "Fucking" pink to be precise.  Prior to my Breast Cancer, they would go out of their way to buy me pink.  Let me say, that I am the kind of person who shows what I'm thinking by my facial  expression..... May as well have neon lights scroll across my forehead.  They would buy the pink just so they could see my expression..... The "oh.... It's fucking pink" expression. 

Since Breast Cancer invaded my life, I make more of a conscience effort to not show that expression so freely.  But, I must admit, it's still there, whether you see it or not. 

Here we are again, in the midst of Breast Cancer Pink October.  Pretty pink.... Usually associated with cute, cuddly, sweetness, happiness, flowers and lace.  But the pink associated with this month is far from any of those things to me.  To this Breast Cancer survivor, pink is dark, gloomy, ugly.....full of pain, nausea, sadness, anger, disability, frustration and fear.  It's still "Fucking pink".  To those told they have Breast Cancer, pink is now their color.  Forced upon them like a cold heavy wet blanket.  I'm gonna go out on a limb, and say that many of them may have my same pink sentiments.

If you've bought or given me pink items, or made donations in the name of a pink sponsorship, I am NOT ungrateful.  I know and appreciate that it is done with love and support of me and to the fight against Breast Cancer.  Believe me, I have purchased the pink.  I have participated in the Komen walks.  I have worn the pink.  I have bought and eaten pink cookies and cup cakes.  I have been sponsored and have sponsored others for the pink cause.  I display some very special pink items - that are from legit foundation/corporate partnerships.  We all have in some way shape or form gotten into the pink.

I have learned from the power of great internet networking of friends and advocates, that if ever there is a question as to where, and how much of an item's donation of proceeds are going to the listed cause - don't buy into it - instead take that same amount of money and make a direct donation to a reputable cancer research foundation.  No skimming of your love and support for their own profit or costs.  100% of your hard earned $$ will definitely make it to the foundation. 

Back to the month of Pink October and what really bothers me most.....The pictures that the corporations display with their pink ads and products for this month are pretty and colorful.  Often showing a bright eyed, happy, healthy looking woman along side the words Breast Cancer 'something'.  Really?  Have they ever spent time in an infusion room?? 

I wonder if those ads weren't so bright and cheery, with a smiling happy woman, what the response would be from the public?  If it actually portrayed the true view of what cancer looks like as it takes its toll and sucks the quality of life out of people.... Show exactly what it looks like to go through hell... Would they want to buy more, or less, to see how a woman can suddenly go from looking healthy and well, to being bald, with sunken black circled eyes, hunched over in constant pain, nauseated, body drawn with new and quite ugly scars, face blown up like a balloon, forcing a smile and pretending it will be ok for all those around them.  Alone, that face doesn't smile.  That face has aged with concern for themselves and their loved ones.  This is the true face of cancer, whether it be breast, lung, liver, brain, bone, colon, bladder, leukemia, or 1,000's of others.  Would consumers say, "hey - look at that?  We've been doing the Breast Cancer pink thing for over 30 years now, where's the cure?  Why are these people still suffering and dying?" .  I highly doubt the corporations would ever show the real look of pink.   All those things I just listed aren't good marketing tools for them.  But they are true.

For most corporations a portion of the proceeds goes directly to their profit income line, and a portion to the Breast Cancer foundation they support.  Pink, is a profitable month for the corporations who hook up with these foundations, as it can potentially be for the foundations themselves.   Note the word "potentially".   This month generates billions of dollars for pink.  And regulating that activity is difficult, if done at all.  Large corporations will publish their portion of proceeds for their foundation partners, and can be found on their website.  It's the small unknown pink items tagged for a Breast Cancer donation, being sold this month, that may very well slip through the crack as unknowing kind hearted, good intention, purchases are made.  Those would be the fake "pinkers".  Taking advantage of everyone for their own profit in mind.  

So.... What can we do about all this pink and the products we see?  1- When in doubt, don't buy.  2 - Make October your designated direct donation month to a recognized Breast Cancer research foundation.  3 - Read as much as you can and learn about how the pink partnerships work.

The following list of 4 important questions are obtained from the Think Before You Pink website:

You should be able to find these answers on the packaging, or in detail on the company's website.
1. Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?
2. What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds, and how do these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?
3. Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met? Can you tell?
4. Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast cancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

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