Every year when October rolls into town, now known as Breast Cancer Awareness month, I meet it with mixed feelings.
I love the fall for the harvest and the cute cool weather accessories. October is also my birthday month. (Yay for turning 35 on the 25th!) But October also comes laced in pukey, Pepto Bismol-coloured pink and we watch with shock, awe, and horror as the most ludicrous things get pink washed out the hoo-haw. We think that by buying pink M&Ms, a bottle of wine with a pink ribbon on it, or pink drill bits used to extract oil from sand, we are somehow doing our part.
This is #slacktivism -- where we buy stuff, or go to a party, and feel like we are doing our part for the cause. What impact is your effort, or in most cases, your cheque, actually having? Most often, an incredibly small percent is actually going towards the place we call "research" and it doesn't help that many of the products that have these pink ribbons slapped across them can actually raise the risk of the very disease they are supposedly raising money to find a 'cure' for.
What I am apt to wonder is what does the cure cost? Last year alone, Susan G. Komen, the seemingly most corrupt and controversial of the lot (a 'not-for-profit' that reportedly pays its CEO a salary of around $680,000) raised over $263 million dollars in 2013. Do any of us think to ask what kind of progress that $263 million made before the next October rolls around?
If we care, like really care, we can do better. Individually and collectively we can make huge strides in finding effective solutions for preventing, treating and supporting those that suffer not just from breast cancer but from all diseases. We can also help those that support those that are suffering to feel supported.
We can do so much better!
We all know someone whose life has been cut short by cancer. It is excruciating to endure and heartbreaking to watch.
Let's use our connection to this disease and to others to fuel our desire to find a solution. A solution may not be the same as a 'cure.'
Let's use our connections to cancer to inspire us to understand why the cancer rates are going up, despite the consistently higher amount of money being poured into finding a cure.
Let's ask our governments to put stricter regulations on the chemicals that are currently being sprayed on our food and used in our personal and home care products.
Let's require all chemicals to also be tested for common combinations, and non-toxic ways to break them down and dispose of them, and this includes pharmaceuticals, so they don't poison our air, land and drinking water- the very things we need to be clean, so we can be healthy.
Let's demand that the brands we love -- clothing, furniture, technology -- find chemical-free ways to manufacture and dispose of their products.
Let's invite our manicurists, hair stylists, dry cleaners and home and office cleaning teams to use natural products that don't contain carcinogens, to protect their health and ours.
Let's PLEASE unplug all those room deodorizers and car deodorizers. Blow out the scented paraffin candles and stop with the "air freshener" sprays. They are toxic.
Let's ditch the plastics- from water water bottles and toys, to toxic astro turf and take away containers.
Let's take an active interest in the health of ourselves and our families to reduce our own exposure to environmental toxins.
Let's work to enable chemical-free food to be available to everyone, around the world.
Let's nurture our local community in all the ways each of us are able to give.
Let's find ways to connect with our family and friends in ways that build us up, and make us feel love and happiness.
Let's eat more vegetables more often. And consume far less processed food and chemical agriculture.
Let's make time to support those we know in our own family or community who are feeling scared, alone and lost with their disease.
Let's give more to the people and organizations working in the front lines supporting those who are sick.
Let's give more to those doing the research, working to prevent rates of cancer from going up.
Let's think more about the causes and work to reduce them.
Let's do more to empower ourselves to learn about how the diseases that run in our family can be prevented and put more time and energy into prevention than into fearing a diagnosis that is not the inevitable.
Let's take care of ourselves and each other to eradicate cancer at the root of it. Pink ribboned NFL merchandise is not getting us where we need to be.
Be informed, empowered, and connected to the information that is out there.
- Lower the Load to Help Prevent Cancer
- Forget Awareness, Let's Do Prevention
- 4 Things You Can Do Right Now To Prevent Cancer (video)
- Cook For A Cure? Sure! Pass Me The Fried Chicken.