Reflecting on PinkTober

Reflecting on Pink October is like imagining successive billboards. A standard billboard along the freeway measures 20 feet x 60 feet. There are painted ones, digital ones, inflatable ones, and multi-purpose ones. They’re prominently placed alongside freeways, and in major cities upon roof-tops and sides of buildings. Wherever people frequent, the messages are colorful, bold, obvious and to-the-point. Doesn’t that sound like Pink October campaigns?

So now that we’re in Post-Pink, what happens to all those colorful ideas that grabbed the nation’s attention for a solid month? I love the creativity and passion that’s so obvious during breast cancer awareness month, but then I feel a bit sad when it’s over. It’s as if the Pink-month gets tucked away, like a Christmas tree…waiting for another season.

Yet, for those diagnosed with breast cancer, there is no such season. In the months of Post-Pink one in eight women will still hear the words, “you have breast cancer.” Men will hear those words too, though not as frequently (statistically averaging 1 in 1000). Families will suffer cancer’s wrath through lost time, lost opportunity, lost income, lost homes, lost health, lost insurance…and even lost life.

For the newly diagnosed, for those fighting and for those learning a new “normal,” I think we should opt for Eternal-Pink. Breast cancer isn’t seasonal; therefore education, awareness, advocacy and the quest for a cure must not be either. Colorful and bold messages that are to-the-point are must be as visible as highway billboards, during and post October.

Walking alongside survivors has opened my eyes wider to a somber fact: cancer doesn’t end with diagnosis and treatment. It has ripple effects that last a lifetime. It touches every realm within a family—physical, emotional and spiritual. While cancer has the potential to destroy, there’s greater potential to rise above it, given the gifts of love, faith and hope. Next month, my best friend, Vicki will celebrate her 3rd “survivor birthday.” She often says “we don’t always get to choose what we go through, but we get to choose how we go through it.” Her words exemplify the potential of love, faith and hope. Being surrounded with those gifts during tough journeys makes a huge difference in how you go through it.

Love, faith, and hope are also necessary elements for an Eternal-Pink climate. To erase the statistics of one in eight, we must magnify seasonal education and awareness. Imagine the impact of successive billboards; painted ones, digital ones, inflatable ones, and multi-purpose ones, prominently placed alongside freeways, and in major cities upon roof-tops and sides of buildings. Wherever people frequent, the message would be colorful, bold, obvious and to-the-point: “Go Eternal-Pink until it’s just a color—not a disease!”

©2011
Maryann Makekau, Author & Inspirational Speaker
Founder, Hope Matters Productions
http://www.becausehopematters.com

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1 Comment

  1. You are so right. Cancer does not end at diagnosis. It doesn’t even end when you have been cured. The scars and effects are not always negative though. It’s people like you that have helped us find the good in our journey. Thank you Maryann for your compassion and your talents. I hope to be able to inspire others as you have inspired me.

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