The Other Colors...

     As most of you are probably "aware", October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I have done a little research and was surprised to learn that this is the 25th year of this campaign!
     For the first time ever, I have to say I am struggling with mixed feelings about what seems to have become a huge marketing effort.  Apparently, I am not alone as this recent USA Today  article says.  This is about as political as I will ever get, so please stop reading here if you don't want my opinion.  I hesitate to post this as I don't want to offend anyone or appear insensitive.  Actually, I am probably one of the most sensitive people around...but that's another story.
     There are now pink ribbons on just about everything imaginable.  I love pink.  My bridesmaids wore fuchsia colored bridesmaid dresses 18 years ago.  Tie a pink ribbon on almost anything and it will catch my attention, and I might even buy it (as seen here).  Our recent high school football game was declared a "pink out" and we wore our pink in support.  We've got spirit, yes we do!  I have supported friends in the Susan Komen 3 Day Walk.  I have friends and family who have struggled with breast cancer.  People whom I love.  I think that awareness and fundraising are important.  That said, I can't help but think that the true purpose is being lost somewhere and that there are dozens of other causes at least as worthy.  Thankfully, the breast cancer survival rate is actually quite high.  There are cures and treatments available, and I hope some of it was due to all of this support and awareness
     I guess I just think there is a fine line between awareness/support and "jumping on the bandwagon".  One of the things that really made me stop and question this is when a commercial came on recently with a local heating and cooling guy offering a $99 special on furnace cleaning for breast cancer awareness month???  I'm sorry, but I just don't get it.   Maybe breast cancer has touched his family, maybe not.  I hope the intentions are in the right place and not simply an effort to drive up his business.  Let's face it, he could make a donation with or without advertising it.

     I guess I just can't help but feel sorry for all of the other cancers and diseases out there that are not as "chic".  The underdogs.  The ones that have taken the lives of other friends, family and their loved ones.  You need look no further than the recent passing of the beloved Steve Jobs who struggled with pancreatic cancer.  Purple is the color of pancreatic cancer.  I hope purple and all of the colors of the rainbow get their turn.  That the NFL will perhaps wear purple shoes one day, or yellow, or the rainbow of other colors that represent so many equally deserving causes, but I don't see it happening any time soon.  I hope I am wrong.  Here is how the Center for Disease Control lists their statistics.

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

  • Heart disease: 616,067
  • Cancer: 562,875
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
  • Alzheimer's disease: 74,632
  • Diabetes: 71,382
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
  • Septicemia: 34,828
Source:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention

     So this month, take time to remember that for every pink ribbon, there are probably two ribbons of other colors just waiting for support and to be heard.  Diseases with minimal treatment options, research funds or hope who could also use our support.  I have listed many below, and there are probably hundreds more. 
     Which cause or foundation has touched your life?  Which ones do you think deserve more awareness?  Cheers to breast cancer awareness and all of the other cancers and diseases worthy of our support!!!!

Ovarian Cancer
Crohn's Disease
Heart Disease
Lung Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer
Heart Disease
Lung Cancer
Alzheimer's Disease
American Diabetes Association logo

Wilson Disease Association

National Parkinson Foundation

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