Otherwise known as the Susan G Komen Outlandish and Overwhelming Pre-Holiday Extravaganza!
I hate cancer. I hate that the cancer that kills some people is breast cancer. I understand why there needed to be heightened awareness of breast cancer in the beginning as it was overlooked. Now, you can't miss it. It's all over the place. People have always known women have breasts. And now we can't help but know those things get filled up with cancer sometimes.
It drives me nuts and, yes, a little of that is jealousy. However, I think that having gone through cancer has actually made me a bit more sensitive to the situation than I was before my leukemia. I'm bored with it. But there's more...
September is blood cancer month. It is a month to recognize patients of several other cancers and diseases. I just learned that this year is the first time Alzheimer's is being recognized with a month. That month is...wait for it...September. Yay!
But, in spite of the fact that this our month, the month we share with so many others, what has our local news station been promoting? You got it. It's time for the pink walk. Because they've got to start off the month where everything turns pink with cash in the coffers. Scre leukemia, screw lymphoma, screw myeloma, the monster that Susan Komen's sister started has to devour everything around it.
Certainly I support breast cancer research and I wish the very best in renewed health for those who've contracted it. But the people who die from blood cancer, or any of the other cancers which don't take over our world for more than a month every year, are just as dead as those who died from breast cancer. Their families are just as devastated. Whether we survive or die, we all have the same ridiculous medical bills. Our lives are just as disrupted. Those of us with acute leukemias or undergoing transplant know even better how disruptive cancer can be as we basically move into the hospital. Many of us have to uproot our lives and relocate for a few months.
People with lung cancer, skin cancer, gut cancer, bone cancer and fill-in-the-blank cancer are every bit as dead, their faimilies every bit as disrupted, their bank accounts equally as drained. SGKFTC is doing good work...for a portion of our population. They've made great strides. But they are voracious. When is enough enough and when do the rest of us get our shot?
Yes, they are who they are because of the drive and acumen of the woman who started it. I am envious that we don't have such an astute advocate. Still, it is time for them to dial it back and free up some resources, from cash to simple awareness, for the rest of the cancer community and those communities fighting other diseases.
At the very least they could confine themselves ro their 31 days of pink and leave the rest of the year to those with other diseases. Leave us to share the smaller spotlight with those we share the month with. And maybe let the other 10 months have their time, too.
I just always get PO'd this time of the year.
I'm with you on this, Tex. And so is my mother. A breast cancer survivor, btw. She is so sick and tired of seeing pink, and having everyone give her pink stuff all the time. Yes, breast cancer sucks...but so does every. other. cancer. ever.
Heck, I even get a little jealous during September for Blood Cancer Awareness, because I have a myeloproliferative neoplasm...AKA the Red Headed Step Children of the blood cancer family. No one knows about them, no one really seems to CARE about them. Except those of us who have them. "Oh. You have what? Is that leukemia?" "Well, no...it's not....(attempted explanation of disease) "Well...at least it's not REAL cancer..." My answer is usually, "well at least you're not a REAL asshole" or something along those lines.
Last week was Invisible Illness Week. Did you know that? No.. and not many people did. I blogged for it, I tweeted for it, I even Facebooked about it. Not that it did that much good..but dangit, I'm going to try! for anyone who may care, my blog posts are at http://mpnrf.blogspot.com (the invisible illness one should be up this week. coming out late since MPNResearch Foundation re-vamped their website. they didn't want it getting lost in the shuffle)
While I think that these months/weeks/whatevers are a wonderful thing to raise awareness for little known illnesses/conditions/situations what have you, I think there comes a time when things stop being LITTLE KNOWN. Breast cancer is one of them. Advertise the walk, by all means...but don't dedicate an entire month to one of the most well known events in the darn country. Let us neglected folks have our time in the spotlight too!!
I understand your mom's point. There does come a time most of us wish the conspicuousness that our disease brings would go somewhere else. I love being the center of attention, in small doses. I hated all the attention I got when I was sick with AML.
Don't misunderstand, I appreciated that there were people who actually gave a damn if I lived or died and even that I was sick. But I hated that everyone had to comment on how good I looked. I maybe looked better than they expected but I felt like crap and didn't give a crap about how I looked. It also got me wondering just how bad they expected me to look, cuz I wasn't no looker, that's for sure.
Maybe I should be glad that we don't have a well known color. I think I'd get sick of getting stuff like that, too.
Oh, that's easy. I was in SD back in July just before Sturgis. This year they were selling "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" t-shirts. I almost got one, then I realized it was for SGKftC. I bought another t-shirt somewhere else.
You know, it's not just September and those of us who share it as "our" month. These folks tromp over everyone's month and seem to think they're entitled to do so. And if there's any event all year long, they seem to want a piece of it. I think that's what pisses me off more than anything, this sense of entitlement. Hell, I'm surprised they didn't want to put up a booth at LtN.
Hopefully, they're not hypocrtical enough to ignore research for men. I mean this whole thing grew out of the fact that women's health care issues, especially breast cancer was overlooked and underfunded. Certainly, SGKftC wouldn't discriminate.
(I really don't know.)
Well said, well said. Now if anyone wants to tell 'em what you really think, lol.
Hey Tex - Yeah I can see your point - Its gets tiring thinking about it - so just look the other way... Sometimes though I find the walks inspiring and they treat you a little more special than the average person that hasnt gone through it.... So theres always two ways of looking at something depending on your mood. Dawnskie
Well the LtN walks treat blood cancer patients/families/caregivers/survivors/whatever feel special, too. And, frankly, in October if I look the other way, I still see pink. It's freaking everywhere.
I like yogurt occasionally. I prefer Dannon's custard style yogurts. However, as long as the sea of pink foil lids is on, I won't buy it. My own little boycott. But if I look away from the Dannon, then Tide has a new pink bottle. And, of course, the worst is the NFL because I can't not watch for a month.
But my mood is always set on "crotchety old bastard."
You would hate our grocery store Tex. I went last night and in addition to the sea of Halloween candy, which I find thoroughly obnoxious (as it was put on display 3 weeks ago). There was pink everywhere. Go down the kitchen gadget isle? Pink spoons, spatulas, knives, pots, pans, ice cream scoops, melon ballers(no pun intended with those, I hope...) trivets, oven mitts, mixing bowls etc....enough to make you need some Pepto for the nausea.....But THAT'S pink too of course....*gag*
I don't know. It ain't PC to question wimmens issues these days.
If I thought it would be received and actually considered, I might just write. However, life is frustrating enough without setting up fruitless confrontations.
Or maybe I'm just rationalizing my tendency to bitch about stuff.
I mean, introspection can only tell us so much. Mostly we just have to know and accpt who we are. I do love my "gritching."
I can understand you looking askance at that and I remember thinking it was ridiculous when I heard the story about them suing someone for using "for the cure." Still, I don't think it's a scam. I think it's just another example of success turning into run away greed. The unfortunate thing about American business -- and this is a business -- is that if you're not growing, you're shrinkking and dying. Forward momentum is everything. At least those are the beliefs.
I think it's more they just don't know how to put the brakes on and wouldn't care to do so if they knew how.
Wow, I can't believe I'm defending these sponges on any level.
Question: Does a charity need to be based on goodwill to even be a charity? Does it need to understand its place among the many and realize that it's fight is no more and no less important than the others? When it ignores this fellowship, does it lose its standing as a charity?
IOW, should SGKftC enjoy tax exempt staus any more? <wg>
Just a little note that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, never really hear anything about that and I am a cancer parent......Oh wait September being Blood Cancer Awareness month which one should I celebrate??? I guess I could wait some years and see if Alzeihmer's applies also
Didn't really mean celebrate. My point was that with these awareness months--many are at the same time and all these charities/awareness groups "fight" for some recognition. It does rile me that breast cancer seems to have taken over, never mind October; pink is everywhere all the time. I think the danger is that at some point nobody pays attention to any colour because the "pinkness" desensitizes us. Many times I have bought yogurt,pencils,pens...and not noticed until I got home that the packaging was pink for a reason. The breast cancer groups have done a great job marketing "pink" but not all others causes have that luxury. Meaning not only do we share awareness months but also awareness colors.
Yeah, there are only so many colors. Hell, the "official" colors for the three major blood cancers don't seem to have a thing to do with blood at all. Last I heard they were orange, lime green and a kind of sky blue.
And, yeah, this woman, SGK's sister, is a marketing whiz. I do agree with you about colors and ribbons desensitizing people. When everyone has one they stop meaning much. But I think part of their success has come from more or less making militants out of patients and supporters. These folks seem to think, however, that the enemy isn't just cancer but society.
Anyway, I knew you didn't mean celebrate. That's just the smart ass or jack ass (take your pick) in me coming out.
Ok, I have to disagree with this for a couple of reasons.
The first is that the Komen Society gives money to cancer programs that are not based on breast cancer. I attend an exercise class at The Wellness Center (they recently merged with Gilda's Club and changed the name but I forget what it is). The Komen Society gave a grant to the Wellness Community to be directed to exercise programs for recovering cancer patients. Up until that point, my exercise coach conducted the class on a volunteer basis. After the grant was established, she started receiving a well-deserved paycheck. Most of us who attend the class are not breast cancer survivors.
The other reason I don't have a problem with it is because I can't fault the organization for having excellent marketing skills. The problem lies with the organizations for other cancers who don't market as well. I don't know how they manage it but they've created a campaign that makes a company look bad if they don't dress their product in pink. They've taken a cancer that no one would talk about and have made it an open subject. I think we need to look to our own organization to put blood cancer in the limelight.
When I sponsored a bone marrow registration drive my family wanted to have balloons in the color for leukemia. I called to find out about the color and got several answers - green and orange. If they can't even decide on that, we've got a long way to go.
I've been thinking about this more the past couple days ... here are some random thoughts:
My husband's two cents - breast cancer affects the segment of the population with the most spending power - middle aged women. And there are A LOT of people diagnosed with breast cancer. Wow.
Sure, I'm jealous of their marketing prowess. The only place I've seen the gold ribbon is on Pop-Ice (Flavor-Ice), a product I don't buy, because it's sugar and food coloring. And if I wasn't in the cancer world, I wouldn't have know they had the ribbons on their box. I hear Jeff Gordon has a couple ribbons on his car, but I don't watch Nascar.
I am torn and there are natural divisions in the Blood Cancer world and for those of us with "cancer kids." My 3.5 year old son was diagnosed with ALL last year. First I felt strongly in the Leukemia camp (orange ribbon). Then there's September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (gold ribbon: which often is portrayed as more of a yellow, which everyone already associates with 'supporting the troops'). And yes, I think Lymphoma is green. So you've got orange and green for blood cancers and gold (yellow) for childhood. Which to choose?
I am ashamed to admit it, but I do wonder if the fact that it is BREAST cancer ... is there extra potency and marketability in that there is a threat against sexuality, and we all know that sex sells? Even teenage boys are wearing those I (heart) boobies bracelets, right? Bald kids undergoing chemo, battling CANCER - god knows I did not think about THAT for more than half a second before my son was diagnosed.
I really think it's more a PC thing than a sexuality thing. At least, that's where I'm coming from. There seems to be an expectancy that, of course everyone will support a women's issue. I'm all for most women's issues but this is not one. It started as one but it isn't anymore.
Basically, there are limited resources in this world. We need to share. Greed has taken over our society in some very shocking and troubling ways in the last few decades. From CEOS running our economy into the ground and still expecting their billion dollar bonuses to a group of people sucking up money for one branch of the cancer family like a new Dyson compared to a 1950 Electrolux canniste, this I/Me/Mine attitude is dangerous and isn't doing any of us any good.
As for the ribbons, why not wear both? There's no law against wearing more than one. You're a mother of a child with leukemia. Those are two distinctions. Although, the whole ribbon thing is overwhelming.
If you've never participated in a 'Light the Night' Walk, you might try to find one in your area. We just had ours in the Kansas City area last week, and it was great to see the number of people out supporting LLS. It was even bigger than last year, with fireworks and a drum corp group. Seeing all the people walking with their lighted balloons is a wonderful sight. Also, at least here it is a very kid-oriented event with lots of things for kids to do. It definitely raised my spirits to be there!
I don't have a wide circle of friends and over the years of doing the minister thing and having to ask the congregation to help with CROP walks, etc., I'm just burned out on asking anyway.
So I have volunteered as a support person at LtN before. I would have this year but I was out rafting on the Arkansas River...who thought a former leukemia patient would be out doing that, huh?
Anyway, you're right. It's nice. It does make one feel like one's not the only corporeal person on earth who's been through this. It doesn't change my impression that, at least in charity, there should be more collegiality and less competition. I trust I'd continue to feel this way even if LLS was the big Devourers of Cash.
I can't fault the organization for having excellent marketing skills...
If they can't even decide on that, we've got a long way to go.
I hear you. It's nice to know they give money to programs other than breast cancer. But would they give money to a program that didn't help breast cancer survivors in any way? I doubt it. Of course the LLS probably wouldn't give money to programs that didn't help blood cancer patients in any way, either. But that's where I have to diverge from this train of thought.
I can't fault them for having good marketing skills. But I can fault them for having a voracious appetite and taking the "food" out of the mouths of other programs that don't have whatshername's (SGK's sister) skills. They simply aren't self-limiting and project an attitude to me and, apparently, some others that they deserve every penny they get without even giving other cancers a second thought.
Now, compare that with the group I figure's number two or three. Lance Armstrong could have just as easily started a program that supported testicular cancer. But he didn't; he created a group that focuses on and promotes cures for all cancers. They've also produced a tremendous amount of patient and family support materials that are intended to cross cancer types and locations. As tired and disgusted I am with the pink, I wear my yellow wristband with a sense of gratitude and joy.
As long as his foundation remains focused on every type of cancer, I would be glad to see a sea of yellow one month every year. Hell, we support him so strongly that when my wife decided to start working out with a church group, I bought her some "LiveStrong" workout gear for Christmas and, unless she's a better liar than I think she is, she really appreciated the gift. We both support hat group.
If I haven't acknowledged that there's some jealousy that we don't have anyone with her marketing skills, let me do so now. I am jealous, but if LLS ever hit that degree of popularity, I hope they'd have the decency to pull back and let others have a shot at some of the money.
So, again, I hear what you're saying, or at least think I do. And I think it's great that your instructor is getting paid. It does make me respect SGKftC a little. But I have to stand by my guns on this one. I think they've abused the system.
Tex-----I am sooooo with you on this one!!!!!! For every $1 spent on Breast Cancer, kids get only 30 CENTS. Gotta tell you------this really upsets me. If I had to pick between a cure for breast cancer for me and a cure for my daughter's leukemia--she will win EVERY SINGLE TIME. But there is NO cure for her leukemia (cml)......so I am running with Team in November to raise $$ and running with Alex's Lemonade Stand in April. But every day I get innundated by good meaning friends asking me to donate to their "breast cancer fundraiser" . They don't realize my daughter has leukemia (she has choosen to keep her fight relatively quiet). And they get mad when I quote that for every $1 they get, kids only get 30 cents---they don't realize........where's the PURPLE for blood disorders? Why does Walmart have TONS of pink stuff promoting breast cancer awareness (yes-it is a good thing) but NOTHING promoting CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS?
Now I'm off for a 3 mile run--hopefully it will calm me down......
And remember- Sept 22 is CML awareness day---a very rare leukemia, but thanks to Dr. Druker and Gleevec, more and more are living with CML.....and while somewhere around 4500 older adults get this every year---40 kids in the USA are diagnosed with it too.
Well, one can get rid of CML with a transplant. But I hear what you're saying. It's not so much a cure as a work around that gets rid of the problem. At least it does for some folks. I was an AML patient and know how iffy that whole proposition is.
I usually write a post like this most years. I'm always steamed and it turns out some others are. Sorry you had to run to cool off. I kind of do this to let us all get the anger out, instead of letting builid it up.
I really try to stay out of the stores in October as much as possible. I just wish we could at least have our own license tags, ourselves.
(Since I an still searching through health issues and not diagnosed with cancer, I hope its ok to post) I will share with you my mother's view... My mother worked for 27 years as a director of a cancer charity program. I have been a volunteer (ok, maybe not willing at first ) for over 26 years. She had such a fight getting support for anything but breast and colon cancer. When she first started, and I first started volunteering, you could go to your corner market and get a small sponsorship in whatever promotion was going on. Now they sponsor the large SGK (not just them, but other "mass" charities like mom calls them) because the programs size ensures that the sponsors name will be seen by MANY. I guess as with anything, many seem to sadly slip through the cracks.
it seems inappropriate to say "Thankfully," in this case but I struggle for an alternate word so...
Thankfully, there are some business people whose loved ones have been affected by blood cancers and all of the other seemingly "lesser" cancers and those folks will always sponsor the "lesser" events. This year there was a company that paid to run the (horribly done) LLS stock commercials (I assume it was LLS stock...could be wrong) for LtN. First time I've ever seen LLS on TV. But it certainly wasn't a slick video of all of these empowered actors being so damned determined and confident.
I really respect your mom for what she did and you for what you do.
I have to say I have been hating October for a while now. I don't want anyone to ever be diagnosed or have to battle any form of cancer, but I find myself seeing red every time I see pink. I find myself purposely avoiding products with the pink ribbons. I admit it is a bit out of jealousy for the fact that no one knows that we even have a month, let alone which one it is.
Clearly we need to get a marketing genius of our own...
I've been reading all the posts about hating October and the SGK. Here's my take on it: EVERY woman (so that's 50% of the population) is terrified of getting breast cancer. The SGK has done a great job of promoting fund raising and screening. If any politician or insurance company DARES to try to defund mammograms, they will have all hell to pay. On the other hand, I'm surprised that there is no equivalently effective organization for "promoting" prostate cancer. I've been told by experts in the field that, if men lived long enough, 100% would get prostate cancer - only most men die of whatever disease they die of before actually getting prostate cancer or at least having it progress in any significant way.
Colon cancer is another one that's had a lot of publicity - but not nearly as good as the SGK has done for breast cancer. Everyone has a colon, and Katy Couric has done a good job of promoting screenings. Those adults who go for screenings and has had a polyp found all tell their friends how their life was "saved" by having a colonoscopy. Word spreads. Thanks to good screenings, colon cancer can be a preventable and curative disease.
Leukemia is more "invisible". It masquerades as other things until things get really bad. I nearly died before going to the ER, and I have a friend with CML who took nearly 3 years to be diagnosed. I will say that at least in terms of leukemias there used to be a lot of publicity. I remember posters up in the NYC subways when I was a kid that read: "Are you tired - DEAD tired? Then you may have leukemia." But most people are not afraid they will get a leukemia - unless they have come into close contact with the disease through a friend or family member. I do notice that in a lot of stores here in NYC, they have those cards or cans where you put quarters for some charity - and a huge percentage are to support pediatric leukemias. Perhaps the LLS needs to be more pro-active (and find a major "star" spokes person) so that we get a lot more publicity and funding - and a month of our own.
I would point out that "sharing" a month with Alzheimer's Disease is NOT a good thing. EVERYONE is PETRIFIED of getting Alzheimers - me included! (I've had a living will for years - way before being diagnosed with AML, and I specified that if ever diagnosed with Alzheimers or any other form of senile dementia I do not want resusscitation, intubation, feeding tubes or even anti-biotics - nothing but pain meds.) So because people are so scared for themselves, they will focus on it.
If companies want to give money to fund breast cancer research - that's fine by me. I don't go out of my way to avoid buying products because they support "pink". After all, I might get breast cancer as well as AML. (Devil, get thee behind me!) I just put my support dollars where my best interests are - and obviously that with leukemia research. Go green - or whatever color we are supposed to be!
I know some people are sick and tired of the ribbons, and maybe they are over-used now, but... I have found if I wear something with a green ribbon, people actually ask, 'What's the green ribbon for?' and then I have the opportunity to share information with them - so as an awareness raising tool, it can actually work!
People I know aren't as observant, apparently, as the folks you know. For awhile, the LLS had this metal three-color pin (blue, green and gold...don't those just scream "blood cancer?") and I'd wear mine. No one ever asked me or my wife what it meant. You'd think that would get commented on.
Then again, thanks to chemo my hair has gone from a mixture of grays back to the medium brown it was when I was in college. Last year my wife's sister-in-law commented on that. My parents haven't, kids haven't, none of my friends have. I just don't know a lot of people who pay much attention to the things around them.
For the few of us who even thing about prostate cancer, maybe the fact that we are going to get it if we live long enough might make it something to not worry about, just to keep our eye on. It also tends to be slow growing and happen later in life so it's not on our radar screen. I guess that's how we are. I know that's where I am.
I sometimes wish we had the marketing aggressiveness of SGK at the LLS. But the public simply couldn't process a new color wave and targeted marketing campaign every month. I know I couldn't, What's the ribbon of the month? Argh!
I just don't like overkill and that's what this is all about. Like I've said previously, maybe getting a more generalized cancer group working with coordination would be a better answer. I've mentioned LAF because they've identified with a color and yellow is well known...it's just not pervasive. It should be the ACS but, they don't have a color. Damn.
I have to say, though, that this year there seems to be far fewer things being carried on the news, etc. I have avoided stores so far and have no idea what that's like. But it's my turn to go tomorrow and I might come back with pink shock. Sunday afternoons watching football have been the biggest shock to my system, thus far.
The neatest thing I've seen three mentions on the news or commercials for upcoming events that are, indeed, focused on generalized cancer. Maybe October can be "stop cancer month" and we can let heart disease, alzhemiers, etc. have other months.
But our nation is so "victimized" and each victimization is so terribly different than all of the others that we all have to have our own month. Stupid. Over specialization. Blech.
Oh, well, celebrate the progress. These three events/segments on general cancer is a step in the right direction. Having fewer commercials telling me if I buy such-and-such product, a portion will go to SGK is promising. This has been the best October, so far, in years for me in feeling like maybe some commonn sense is returning.
I'm not counting on it. But any time there's a possibility for a break through, I tend to cheer it on.
Looks like this blogger agrees with you Tex!
And while I don't agree 100% with what she says (especially the later portions about cancer being preventable and able to be cured holistically)....she has a lot of great points....and 2k Facebook users agree and have posted this link:)
I'm so glad someone else feels this way! Everywhere I go is inundated with pink ribbons and it seems to get worse every year. I'll admit jealousy now, but I've been irritated for a couple years about the whole thing. You gotta hand it to SGK though--they branded a COLOR. A color! As a marketing student, that's fascinating to me. I had a friend who wore a plain pink button -down shirt to work and had more than one person ask her if it was breast cancer related. Just because it was pink! It's wild. My best friend says jokingly that not everyone has boobs but everyone has blood! I thinks lot of it for me is that I'm a young woman and the whole breast cancer awareness thing is so trendy to me. I'm whipping my family and friends into shape...my sister was Team Captain for RFTC for her office's team last month, so this month I made her do the same thing for LTN!
I made her do the same thing for LTN!
Congratulations, that's a helluva creative approach to information and education. Although, I imagine your sister at least had blood cancers on her radar screen, though.
This has definitely had a lot of the markings of trendiness but it's gone on for so long. I think that's the bottom line to my sense of enough is enough. Most trends fade out. Due to their determined, agressive marketing, they won't let it fade from the landscape like most fads do.
Interesting insight about branding the color. I Never thought of it in those terms, though anytime I see someone wearing pink, regardless of the time of year, I often wonder if it's a breast cancer thing. I don't tend to wonder about button down shirts except in October, though.
I've got to give some credit to baseball. While the NFL is wearing pink this month, MLB has been promoting Stand up to Cancer.
It seemed more intense to me, but maybe I was just more aware. Department stores, grocery stores, NFL, seemed PINK was everywhere. Oh well, I wear my red and my orange bracelets every day and still get questions 'what are they for'? I know if I wore a pink bracelet, no question. That's ok, I'll continue to inform!