Think Pink (Even if it’s not your favorite color…)

When I was about nine, my mother decorated my room in pink and white.  I had striped café curtains with canopy valances, pink walls and bedspreads, and a white desk and trim.  I’m not at all sure why she picked pink – it really wasn’t me. I was a tomboy, and my favorite color was blue. It still is.

However, I now have a growing affection for pink.

I’m a breast cancer survivor (I finished treatment ten years ago next month), and as it happens, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Everywhere you turn  in the US and Canada, there is a “Race for the Cure” or pink paraphernalia for sale to support research and awareness efforts.

There are many other cancer research efforts, of course.  Ribbons in a rainbow of colors promote awareness of these and other diseases. Lavender ribbons are for general cancer, teal for ovarian cancer, light blue for prostate cancer, and so on. But everyone knows what that pink ribbon is for.

People buy wristbands, car magnets, tote bags, t-shirts, and mugs to show their solidarity and support. The items available are sometimes whimsical and silly, but the folks who oversee various fundraising efforts for breast cancer research have done an amazing job – even stamps at the post office and my bottled water are branded in pink this month, with some of the proceeds of their purchases going to the effort.

This may feel a bit overdone, and even tacky, to some people. Some of the vendors may not be legit. But for those like me (and others in my extended family) who have survived the surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, side effects and associated fears that accompany breast cancer, they are a sweet reminder of the many people who have supported research and treatment options that have made our survival and quality of life possible.

But wait, there’s more!  Research and treatment centers are only part of the pink ribbon campaign. The other side is awareness.  If you have a family history of any cancer (or heart disease, or diabetes…), make sure your doctor is aware of that. And even if you don’t know of a family history, make sure you have the regularly recommended screenings for these diseases as you get older.

Nobody enjoys a mammogram, prostrate screening, a colonoscopy, or blood tests – but these procedures take only a few moments out of your life. They can give you back years for the effort.  Fight with your insurance carrier, if you need to – or figure out how to make this investment in your future – just please don’t ignore it.

Ten years from now and beyond, it’s my hope that we will all still be here sharing our thoughts, our hopes, and our gratitude for the many gifts our maker, this world, and the people around us have provided.

Even if they come in pink.

Think Pink from Funny Face – one of my favorite movies! Thanks, YouTube!


This post was written in response to a WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s theme was A Splash of Color To see other bloggers’ colorful responses, click here.


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28 Responses to Think Pink (Even if it’s not your favorite color…)

  1. Pingback: Haiku: Think Pink… | Mirth and Motivation

  2. eof737 says:

    This is fantastic and I had no idea you had written on this topic… even Zemanta didn’t suggest it…. Kudos on sharing your personal story and thank you for articulating the importance of the campaign… I will add your link to my post. 😉


  3. Your story inspires me. I hope and pray for you great health as well as your family.


  4. Just a few days ago, my co-worker placed a pink tape bracelet on my wrist. The male patients gave me a weird look but who cares, it’s for a noble cause. I wish people will care more, do more. We can no longer be indifferent to cancer and its traumatic consequences. We are all part of a positive change.


  5. Pingback: Snapshots of Artistic Expressions in La Paz. Part I: Paintings. « 3rdculturechildren

  6. Thank you for stripping the pink items of their materialistic element and reminding us of the importance of awareness that they help promote. And raising a glass to you as you kick off the second decade of being a cancer survivor! ~ Kat


  7. Amy says:

    Congratulations on beating the cancer, been 10 years!! Thank you for sharing the information!


  8. G says:

    Such write-ups and share increase the awareness level in our societies. Until few years ago, I didn’t know if there’s anything called breast cancer. And when I came to know about it slowly and gradually, I could realise the gravity. Similarly, I also came to know about many other cancer traits, from colleagues and friends. I can understand how difficult it is to fight, survive and smile. I can understand. Deep breath.


  9. deepa says:

    Great post! I’ve seen my grand mom struggle and finally succumb to breast cancer. Awareness and regular screening is so important. That is really hard in developing countries like india where people don’t get the concept of going to the doctor if they are not sick! But it’s slowly changing ,at least with the educated.


  10. bulldogsturf says:

    Love the post… living with a woman who has been fighting the disease over the last 19 years, I know and agree whole heartily with your go for screening… LInda has had colon, breast and ovarian cancer and has survived the lot… surgery, chemo, radiation, hormone block you name it shes done it… and still by my side… the early detection has been her savior, although the Ovarian growths that reached 8 inches in diameter did sneak up on us, but where detected at a cancer check up at the Oncologist… the point I’m making is one cannot agree with you more on the go for the checks… early detection saves lives….


    • People often forget how deeply cancer affects family members. My husband lost his mother to cancer 35 years ago, so my diagnosis was doubly frightening for him. He has been wonderful, and I expect your wife appreciates you more than you know as well. Cancer strikes families, not just individuals. Thanks for your visit – you and your wife are in my thoughts.


  11. teedeevee says:

    This is a truly brilliant post with a great message and upbeat tone. Thank you for sharing and spreading the word in such a positive way. Even when you speak of the darker side of cancer you do it in an incredible uplifting way that is inspiring.


  12. caliroe says:

    I’m glad you’re here. 🙂


  13. marymtf says:

    You know,when I began reading about your mum and the way she set up your bedroom I envied her. I raised two sons who weren’t interested in such things. I had to make up the girly type stuff with my granddaughterts.
    I haven’t had a chance yet to view responses to the weekly writing challnge, but yours is such a nice start. It’s a wonderful post and it’s gone in a direction that I hadn’t anticipated when I was wondering what other people might do with their challenge. Thanks for sharing.


    • The Retiring Sort says:

      Thanks for visiting and your nice comment, Mary! Mom hung Degas prints in my room, and did her best to make me feel like a princess – but I’m not sure I was the right subject, at least at that age! It’s been quite a journey since then, but I still love that she tried to make everything lovely for me!


  14. This is a wonderful post and colour for this challenge. Congratulations on the ten years as a survivor.


  15. Your post is a daily reminder for me to think pink! Thank you so much for spreading the pinkness and congratulations on ten years as a breast cancer survivor.


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