For me, “thinking pink” isn’t enough.
My sister friend Eileen (the beautiful, glowing one all the way on the left) taught me that. She doesn’t consider herself a fighter. I consider her a warrior. A warrior is someone who displays great courage when experiencing warfare. I also tend to think of a warrior as someone who is strong enough to protect themselves while watching out for others. That woman is one of the greatest warriors/women I know. I’ve spoken about her in my blog before (and if you’re wondering, I really DID stalk her) but over the years, I’ve just learned from her so much about, what we who get to sit on the sidelines call, “this breast cancer thing.” I can tell you about her, tell you how she is still here but just read here. You will love her too. And let me tell you right now, if you are expecting to read “think pink” all over her sight, you’re wrong. You’ll be thinking though.
Thinking pink is not enough.
Ask my husband. A self-proclaimed mama’s boy (and he is totally o.k. with you knowing that), he lost his mother to breast cancer when she was 43 years old. If, from your spectator seat, you really want to come down a little farther into this “breast cancer thing,” try consoling a man who has lost his mother and misses her daily, who remembers watching her battle the illness and change from vibrant to ill, who went from being her running partner to her caretaker because of a disease that we just decorate ourselves over and do nothing about but “think.” Come closer….
Thinking pink is not enough.
Ask my grandmother. She lost her mother, on her 28th birthday, to breast cancer. I still wonder how they explained that to my uncle Ray (Lord, rest his soul) who was watched his mother buried on his 8th birthday. Ask T.V., K.D., C.M., N.J., L.G. or and endless number of women what it’s like to hear the words, “I’m sorry but….” I can’t even imagine. The day I was told I had lumps in my breast the age of 31 and had to have a mammogram, I cried so hard that I couldn’t drive home. I was scared for my life, upset for my husband (we hadn’t even been married five years), feeling terrified for my babies (my youngest was only three) and just feeling like there was no hope. Because I didn’t know any. All I knew about pink ribbons were that people wore them and I should too in order to be aware. Hell, I WAS aware, TOO aware. And I was scared to death.
What in the world could I DO?
Like many, I have participated in events that supported breast cancer “research.” I wore the ribbons, raised the money and contributed my part to the cause. And there is nothing wrong with that if that’s where your heart is. But I KNOW there are other options to treatment besides spending tons of money in medicine and more detrimental means and it happens to be what I know best…
Health and exercise.
Everyone knows by now (if not, where in the world have YOU been? *smile*) that I am an Under Armour ambassador. And I am proud of that. And I was apprehensive about wearing, you guessed it, the pink ribbon products. That is, until, I dug into the campaign. I spent time looking behind WHO Under Armour supports and how far they go with their breast cancer message. I went to the websites of Beyond Boobs, Macca Now (helping with the financial burdens of those who are currently in treatment), The Art of Life (connecting breast cancer warriors and artists for healing. I love this.) and The Tyanna Foundation (and there are a few more). These organizations are teaching breast health and healthy living through exercise and diet and helping families in their communities that they see EVERY DAY. The money is not exchanging multiple hands. And, of course, Under Armour supports fitness and healthy lifestyles all day. Every day. It’s why I am connected with them.
I wear A LOT of workout clothes. And I like to work out. And to know that those dollars are going into me putting POWER behind my pink is a great feeling. I am even teaching a class next week called “Piloxing in Pink” at the gym where I work where we are wearing headbands (I’m actually giving Under Armour headbands away) to symbolize (because we haven’t been there but we wanted to do something) that it’s the woman INSIDE that counts, not the hair loss (because, for a lot of us, losing our hair would be a major ordeal. It is part of our identity.) Or anything else. We’re remembering my great-grandmother and my mother-in-law and every woman who had transcending this space and linking arms with the ones who are going through and living life afterwards and saying, “We’re with you. And we are trying to cut down the odds for my daughter, for Eileen’s daughters, for ALL of us and our daughters. Breast cancer is the number two killer of women in this country. And in order for us to change that, we have to do more than think. And I’m still thinking. Far beyond this class. Far beyond October.
And I do not get paid extra to teach this class. And, no, I do not get paid to “pump” Under Armour. I am proud that the organizations I work with have the same values as me. And, together, we can turn this thing around.
Go get your mammograms. If you or a loved one are being attacked with breast cancer, seek out local organizations (start with the ones listed on this page or others on the Under Armour website) for guidance. If you are not exercising regularly, NOW is the time to start on a program. Immediately. If you are not eating well, seek out assistance to help you with your diet (my first thing is to ALWAYS tell people increase your fresh fruits and veggies.) When contributing to organizations that say they are supporting breast cancer, ask where your dollars are going.
Put some POWER behind your pink.