Pink ribbons are everywhere! Grocery products donating proceeds to breast cancer research, pink ribbon socks, tees, earrings, etc., sports teams wearing pink ribbon patches; it’s clear that our society wants to save the boobies! But did you know that most other types of cancer have a color to represent support for it too? When was the last time you saw a light blue ribbon to raise awareness for prostate cancer or a shirt with a gray ribbon that says brain cancer matters? You just don’t. This used to annoy the piss out of me. Why is there SOOOO much emphasis on breast cancer? Geez, I know plenty of people who have DIED from lung cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer; the list goes on. But I have heard plenty of success stories of women surviving breast cancer. So my logic says, why are we funding something that is so curable if caught early on? Is this because we put such an emphasis on the female form that we can’t stand to see breasts disfigured or removed? If no, then what? I just don’t get it.
OK, so I was ignorant. Because now my sister has breast cancer and I am seeing things in a different light. (To be fair, she said the same thing about the stupid pink ribbons everywhere.)
As I got to thinking and praying, I listened to what I was praying for and realized this: breast cancer targets moms, sisters and girlfriends- the most important people in our lives. It does not discriminate based on age or race. Unlike lung cancer that can be traced back to smoking or environment and how skin cancer is linked to too much sun exposure, breast cancer knocks on the door of otherwise healthy women. It rocks the world of 35-year-old new moms, 50-year-old sisters, and 75-year-old grandmas. What did they do to ask for this? I’ll tell you. These are moms who have nurtured their children since conception. They ensure that every homework project is complete and every music lesson and Girl Scout meeting is attended. They endure horrendous weather conditions to watch their children play the sport they love. They tirelessly cook meals and make lunches far beyond the age that their children need them to. They are the vacation masterminds and memory makers for their family. They plan birthday parties and graduation celebrations. They visit colleges, shop for first apartments, and bring a surprise bag of groceries to their “babies” with newly sprouted wings. They are the only voice of reason when big decisions need to be made. They are the friend who is our bridesmaid, our sounding board, our shopping buddy. They are the aunt that never forgets a birthday and the grandma that makes the best chocolate chip cookies. These women’s claim to fame: they’re awesome.
The importance of these women in our lives has been insurmountable. They do not deserve to be put through the fear and the pain that cancer brings. In the rush of life while attempting that whole balancing the busy thing, their only downfall might have been putting everyone else first. Did they put off exams and exercise? Or were they a picture of health, and STILL got the diagnosis? Who knows? None of us are immune.
What I do know is that we need these women in our lives. These amazing, incredible moms, sisters, friends, co-workers, role-models- we need them. It’s about time that freaking cancer stopped taking them from us! Hmmm…….so maybe that’s why there are so many products that sponsor breast cancer research? Don’t I feel a little foolish?
Needless to say, I look at pink ribbons differently now. I’m plenty aware of breast cancer (thanks cancer!). But now I also see a symbol that says, Hey ladies, make time for yourself! You’re important!! And the symbol is everywhere because these phenomenal women need lots of reminders that its OK to add taking care of themselves to their to-do list. It’s a reminder that says you are a better mom (wife, friend, etc.) when you do this. It also says, honor the women in your life by talking to them about taking care of their health- mental AND physical.And maybe, maybe we need to make sure those awesome women in our lives know how great we think they are. Just in case, ya know?
Eat that kale, go for that walk, read that book- let those pink ribbons remind us to take care of ourselves. Let’s help the ladies in our life take care too! We may not know why women get breast cancer. But if we are taking care of our bodies and getting regular exams we are one step closer to detecting and ridding ourselves of cancer if it ever comes our way. And I’ll wear that pink ribbon crap all over the place if it helps get that message out.
Copy the picture featured in this post and send it to all the women who are important to you. Post it to Instagram or Facebook and tag those women. We are too important to each other to not talk about this.