Last week, I discussed why I am turned off by both the pink ribbon and the anti-pink ribbon movements. Balance becomes especially difficult for me when children come into the mix. Last year, my girl’s running buddies included me in their Relay for Life team. This summer, a friend of mine asked me to weigh in on the NFL’s A Crucial Catch program. He coaches kids’ football and the campaign trickles down to their level.
I try to be honest with the kids but not demeaning. I explain to them how these programs tend to gloss over the more complicated truths of the disease. How too often we see pink penalty flags being thrown, think “Ahhh. Breast cancer” and then return to the game. How all that pink doesn’t really do much to educate about a horrible disease.
How, even after all these Octobers of pink, there is no cure.
About how thrilled we are that you care, but that it’s time to do something new with all this goodwill.
My football coach friend, we’ll call him Paul, used the information I gave him to open up a conversation about pinkwashing and other issues surrounding the way breast cancer was turned into a commodity. Paul said they were really learning a lot together and I call that a success.
This makes me angry. These are kids, some of whom may be using their pink football socks to pick up chicks, but all of whom, I believe, understand breast cancer is a bad disease and have a sincere desire to help.
And what’s going to happen when they see these numbers?
They’ll feel like idiots. Like they’ve been had.
And when they see campaigns in the future to raise money for breast cancer, they’ll remember that bitter taste and walk away, even from good programs.
That is why I get angry. Programs, evoking my life story but bearing no resemblance to my reality.
All I could tell Paul is to tell his kids that no good intention ever goes to waste. My hippy talk isn’t as tangible as 8%, but I want to reiterate my message from last week.
Don’t give up on us. There are good people doing good work out there.
We need your help.