I'll wear my pink trinket as proof a cancer cure awaits
The advocate in me awakens in celebration of National Breast Cancer Awareness month (October). I walked into my local bank the other day and there it was an advertisement for a credit card with the pink breast cancer ribbon. I came very close to signing up for it simply to show my support for the cause, but in the end decided against it. I already have an overload of credit cards.
On deck at the pool I’ve celebrated the month by purchasing an “I Love Breast” swim cap, this time with a pink heart in the middle. I take the plunge and swim proudly with the cap. Almost disappointedly no one says a thing.
But being a breast cancer conqueror, I feel a need to continue on this advocacy rah-rah route even though I’ve never in the past been one to be outspoken on causes. Now there is an obligation and a necessity. It is part of this sisterhood and along with that a middle finger to cancer itself (haha you can’t take my spirit and spunk away!).
Admittedly there is a bit of peer pressure in this advocacy thing.
A friend who had breast cancer a decade ago became active in fundraising for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a leading non-profit that funds breast cancer research. Another fellow breast cancer survivor works at a non-profit activity centre that caters to cancer patients. Their lives and their causes have been forever changed by this disease.
A handful of other friends, even those who have never had the disease, are regular walkers for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I click through the website and seriously consider joining the walk in New York in mid-October. I tell myself that I should make the three hour train ride and put my life on pause to walk for the cause, but in the end I decide against it figuring that there will be other walks down the road.
Oddly I feel guilty about my decision to not go, and try something else. I buy a bracelet at the Pink Ribbon Shop (there are a bjillion sites that sell breast cancer advocacy kitsch), and wear the trinket with pride even though nobody else seems to notice.
For a while during the radiation chapter I even seriously considered getting a breast cancer ribbon tattooed on some inconspicuous place, but scrapped the idea after a friend who had had a mastectomy said that getting a tattoo was as painful as the surgery. No thank you, I thought.
I’ve since concluded that advocacy and simply doing something makes me feel empowered. It may be false but at least it offers hope. The pink ribbon may not be a cure, but its very existence is proof that a cure awaits and that advocacy should last long after the month passes.