It is once again the month of October and the world becomes colored in pink. Everywhere you turn thousands of products are emblazoned with pink ribbons all being sold with the promise that the company will give back to breast cancer research. I sure hope that is the case. Many stories in the news lately have altered that view and have cautioned us to “Think before we pink”. My concern is that we have taken breast cancer and transformed it from a serious disease and individual tragedy into a marketing darling sometimes forgetting the real reason we all wear pink in October.
For years I participated in the Race for the Cure, got sponsors, and ran in the race with my friends and family. The first race I participated in following my diagnosis I could barely walk in the family 1-mile walk. I was still recovering from a double mastectomy and coming to grips with my uncertain future. That walk was brutal as I held my husband’s hand and looked around at all the pink and the smiling faces. I wanted to be one of the happy pink ladies not another picture placed on a t-shirt in remembrance of someone who didn’t make it. I prayed for healing and hoped one day I would return to loving pink.
Today I remain cancer free and I have once again embraced all things pink, yes, even pink breast cancer ribbons.
This past weekend I went to a Bronco Football game and I have to admit I love seeing all the big dudes wearing pink socks and gloves. The helmets adorned with pink ribbons. The actual half-time show was completely devoted to honoring many women in our community who have battled this disease. A large contingent of ladies in pink flocked to the field and formed a human ribbon. Several stories were shared over the loud speaker and the crowd clapped in honor of these women. I was surrounded by strangers and no one knew my story. In a crowd of 75,000 it is safe to bet there were many of us in that same situation. You never really know what the person next to you has faced or is facing, just another reminder to be kind. The ladies behind me were chatting about their recent scare in the mammogram office and how they were glad they weren’t one of the ladies on the field. The lady next to me turned and looked at her friend and said, “ I guess we better schedule our mammograms.”
The awareness and research prompted by the pink ribbons has played a huge role in my diagnosis and success and for that I am very thankful.
During half -time I began thinking anyone can go out and buy a tube of pink lipstick, put a bumper sticker on their car or walk in a designated fundraising walk. What if we all took it a step further? Ladies, encourage each other to do self breast exams and make those mammogram appointments. Men, remind the ladies you love to do those things as well. We also know that men can be diagnosed with breast cancer so guys be aware of anything that looks or feels unusual in your own breasts. Reach out to a family who is struggling with this disease by making them a meal, watching their kids or doing some yard work, something tangible to help. If you know a survivor, let her know you are happy she is here to enjoy life with you.
Each of us in our sphere of influence reaching out to those directly affected will make a difference.
At the end of the half – time, thousands of various shades of pink balloons were released and as they started floating toward the heavens I smiled. I remembered the beautiful ladies in my life who because of this disease are no longer with us but their legacies live on. I thought of my friends and family who are currently fighting to stay alive and those of us who are surviving.
Hope is what I felt.
Thankful to still be here sitting next to my husband and enjoying a beautiful fall day, embracing the color pink once again.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
What difficulties have you faced? How have you reclaimed your hope?
Wife to Rusty
Mom of 4
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Associate Director of Women’s Ministry at Mission Hills Church