Colored ribbons appear everywhere nowadays. Yellow is to support our troops. Black supports the POW/MIAs. And one of the other most recognized campaigns comes to us in pink. The pink ribbon campaign is solidarity for breast cancer survivors, sufferers, family, and friends. And October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Many times we smile at campaigns that support something good, but don’t necessarily affect or impact us. Far too often it’s quaint to see other people supporting the cause, whatever color ribbon flies over it.
But more often than not, the colored ribbons are closer to home than we may like to admit, or even know.
As a woman, I’ve felt compelled over the last few years to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation, or to do a breast cancer walk. I feel this compulsion because I am a woman, and women stick together when illness or hard times befall another. I feel this compulsion because I could one of the thousands of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. This year I feel this compulsion because a year ago this month my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer (with no prior family history of it anywhere).
Now the colored ribbon means something different to me. Of course I had seen friends’ mothers and aunts and grandmothers go through lumpectomies, mastectomies, radiation, chemo, and a serious life change. But that’s where the quaint feeling came in: it wasn’t close enough to home to really sink in.
But the statistics are far more harrowing. From the National Breast Cancer Foundation:
-1 out of 8 women who lives to be 85 will be diagnosed in her lifetime.
-Every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed.
-More than 200,000 will be diagnosed this year alone.
-Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 40 and 55.
-Women who have taken an oral contraceptive for 10 or more years are at an elevated risk for developing breast cancer.
Today I take the time to honor my aunt who is a 1 year survivor. Today I take the time to honor Connie and Judy … strong women who are several-year survivors. Today I take the time to honor Bliss, a 10-year survivor who lost her fight in a recurrence. Today I take the time to honor the hundreds of thousands of women who are waging their fight right now. And today I take the time to honor the families and friends of these women who are with them every difficult step of the way.
Most ribbons still stir vaguely quaint feelings. But this month, I will wear my pink ribbon button in pride — not for myself, but for women everywhere.