Why I’m not participating in “awareness” this October

Since I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2017, I’ve participated in quite a few events. Sometimes those events were to raise money, some were just for those of us who have breast cancer. At first, I was not sure what was best and I accepted invitations to just about anything. There’s also the flattered element–everyone wants to be wanted!

Now, I think differently.

I have not met anyone who didn’t know that October is breast cancer awareness month. I’m not sure anyone could miss all of the pink ribbons plastered everywhere. All the races. All the fundraisers. All the celebrations of the survivors. All the pink tutus and boas and bras and slogans.

I can’t do it anymore.

I can’t pretend that breast cancer is a brand, a slogan, a way to make money. I can’t pretend that the pink ribbons and rah-rah speeches and tutus and bras actually means anything. I can’t pretend that my friends aren’t dying.

That’s my reality.

That’s my October.

I often don’t want to open social media because that’s oftentimes how I learn a friend is dead. I often don’t want to even check on friends because if they don’t respond, that usually means they have died. If someone doesn’t respond one day for a bit, my immediate thought is that they must be dead.

That’s what I think about when I think about breast cancer.

I think about often my friends are murdered.

I think about how the rest of the world keeps going on like nothing has happened, still hawking the pink shit that doesn’t help anyone, painting their trucks pink, laughing and patting each other on the back, congratulating themselves that they’ve accomplished something. I think sometimes I’m screaming into the void, that the deaths of truly amazing people don’t mean much.

How much, after all, is a life worth? Are people paying attention?

116 men and women were slaughtered today.

116 men and women were murdered today.

Every day.

Every day, 116 Americans die from breast cancer. Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, to be precise.

One of these days, I’ll be one of them.

Think about that before you waste your money on a race, a pink whatever.

35 thoughts on “Why I’m not participating in “awareness” this October

  1. It’s very sad, and becoming increasingly more evident that big charities spend more on admin than on actually doing something effective. I’ve started donating to the hospital where I receive treatment, instead – at least I know their focus is on research and treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My hubby is a cancer researcher and recommends donating to the Cancer Research Society (out of Quebec), simply because most donations are used for “administrative” costs anywhere else. Also, the Cancer Research Institute is a good one as they have no overhead costs.

    You deserve a million hugs. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. At least my cancer ribbon is blood red, as it should be. Or maybe it should be white for all the bones it eats. I understand your words completely, as I sit here waiting to hear from a friend with metastatic colon cancer …

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The reasons you just mentioned is the reasons why I wear pink and do the walk. My best friend did die of breast cancer. She was only 35 years old. Before she died or got really sick I started doing the walks and wearing pink. It made her happy that I cared, that I was honoring her. You are right, people die everyday from breast cancer and so many other things but I can’t stop walking and being part of the cure because of it. Heather would not approve, I would not approve. She’s the reason I walk and wear pink. I want a cure to be found. Regardless of what they do with the money, my intentions are pure. God knows my heart. At the end of the day we have to realize that most things are about money. But when you know why you do what you do, that’s all that matters. If I was in your position I can see why you feel that way but I will wear pink and do the walks and honor my best friend Heather Marie Lewis Thomas!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I completely understand your perspective and I shared it, before my diagnosis. I would challenge you to think about how you could raise funds for actual research that could have saved your friend. By walking you are NOT part of the cure. You are part of the pink machine that is killing us who are living with the disease.


  5. I appreciate your sentiments. I sometimes feel like the prevailing image of cancer is a lady smiling in a turban knowing that cancer is tough now, but she can beat it! And she is probably right of her cancer isn’t metastatic. I repress the urge to scream out, “People still die from cancer! Even young people!”. But our narrative is scary and we often get pushed backstage so as not to scare anyone else.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. If this doesn’t get someone’s attention, nothing will! Your somber statistics need to be heard. I want to scream “wake up people!” I truly think people have been brainwashed to believe in the pink bullshit and that we ,the MBC population is included in $ for research. It’s insanity. Perfect timing Abigail.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Yes, YES and YESSSS to ALL of this!!! I’m acutely aware that I could get metastatic breast cancer. I’m acutely aware that my friends are DYING from it. There is only one organization here in GA that I applaud and know where the funds are going and that’s the It’s the Journey – Atlanta 2-day. Yet, I can’t bring myself to even participate in the 1.5 mile special survivorship walk part on the last day because hearing everyone cheering while more of my friends are moving into hospice overloads my senses.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m in your camp on this however with the exception that I’ll use it to raise awareness for the lack of awareness of MBC and the added danger of being dense. With 50 as the age to begin regular mammograms and most dense breasted women getting diagnosed between 40 and 50, myself as no exception at 49 – why not use the pink to make a stink! 🤬

    Love & strength in strange times,

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I recently read somewhere that even if a treatment is researched it wouldn’t be publicised as treatment of cancer has become a billion dollar business. If it is true, it is really sad. The number of cases have only been increasing and yes we don’t know what happens to the funds raised by these charitable institutions. Your blog definitely is a food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories! I’ve met a lot of researchers and people who work for pharmaceutical companies. I don’t believe that a cure for cancer is being withheld. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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