As a breast cancer patient (I’ll always be one) this is my first Pinktober. I’m two weeks in, and here’s the thing… wearing pink “for awareness”, without taking any other action, is NOT the same as fighting breast cancer.
I love football. Yet when I see the NFL’s carefully crafted marketing and spending on pink merchandise that could go toward finding a cure rather than “create awareness” of a disease that pretty much everyone already knows about drives me just as crazy as this election cycle.
It’s not just the NFL, smaller businesses are blinded by the NFL’s success and capitalizing on all things pink. Here’s an email I received from AWMA, a martial arts gear supplier. The irony here is that the sport helped get through some of my darkest days going through breast cancer treatment. Obviously they aren’t the only ones.
Now, to be very clear, I have no trouble when using pink as demonstrating support. Our local youth football league sold pink shirts to parents of players. My kids see this, and they know that their teams have their backs. They also take action beyond “awareness.” And for the six or so years we’ve been part of youth and high school football, I know of five mothers diagnosed with breast cancer whose kids play. One passed away last year from Stage IV – she was an oncology nurse, helping others with breast cancer.
My dojo family demonstrates support the same way. They take action, and go beyond Pinktober – the DFMA tournament is held in June.
Today is tournament day for Dragon Fire Martial Arts, which means everyone breaks out their pink belts for #breastcancer awareness. This year the pink belts have taken on a much more personal meaning, and I’ve been humbled by the love, generosity and support my DFMA family has given me. Thank you. And congrats to the demo team for making first place! 💗💪🏻👊🏻👍🏻💖 A photo posted by Monica Wright (@monicawright) on
What I have a problem with are the businesses that sell the pink shirts and the pink belts knowing that they are for Pinktober. Why not donate some of the proceeds? Another idea is to increase prices, even by a dollar with the commitment to finding a cure.
So please think beyond awareness. Take action. As a friend of mine says “Pink responsibly.” Actions don’t have to be big:
Because here’s the reality – I’m not considered cured until I die of something else. And I’m not the only one.