Start here! Listen to what these women have to share!
This post is not sponsored. I write it because it matters to me. It is only October 15th and this month has already proven to be a very long emotional journey for me. Let me start by sharing again in case you missed it, my mom DIED from breast cancer. If you knew her, you loved her. She had a spirit that was free from all judgement. She lived from the place of her dreams, not her ego. She was a fabulous high school teacher and participated in the lives of her students, friends and neighbors 100% More than that, she was the matriarch, the leader, the biggest contribution to my family. She died because by the time her cancer was discovered it had metastasized and spread like poison. For four months we held her, cared for her and loved her…all the way until she took her last breath and disappeared to the Cosmic Cafe.
I got some feedback from a friend this week about my recent post. She shared that my story and my mom were so meaningful. That my story was too important to mix up with pink fluffy awareness and contest stuff. I knew it already. I guess I needed to hear it. I needed permission on some level to really share just because. Just because sharing heals. I sat on the floor of my closet looking through pictures of me and my mom after that conversation and I cried. I cried until gooey substances were dripping from my nose and I couldn’t see anymore. My sleeve was used up. I needed that!
This month is very pink and I have always made the most of the opportunity to participate…year after year since 2003 when I lost her. For my Kunin Felt Dream Team post, I shared my pillow that I sewed to support a cause that I think sounds amazing. I found out about it through Fairfield World’s blog.
I shipped it to Fave Crafts. I hope it ends up in the arms of a survivor and somehow it brings them comfort. It is designed to sit under the arm and provide comfort to sore breasts. I wish someone sent one of these when my mom needed one. Burnt skin from radiation and stitched up wounds from surgery are painful! When I explained to my girls why it didn’t really look like a heart and what it was really for, they wanted to make some more. So we did. We even practiced a little pretend quilting.I love this project because it is real. It really gets into the hands and hearts of those who need, the survivors as they battle. So much of this month has become about the fluff. I think this really landed hard yesterday when Laura Neiman and I were driving down the road and she read this post to me from her friend, Brandi. Get some tissues. And I quote…
“Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Day. The only day out of all of Pinktober devoted to the breast cancer that actually kills. You will NOT die of breast cancer in the breast, it only becomes fatal once the cancer metastasizes out of the breast to different organs. The average survival rate for a woman who has metastatic breast cancer is 2-3 years. I have metastatic breast cancer that has spread to a lymph node in my abdomen and my liver. I am in my second year with metastatic breast cancer. As it stands right now, this disease will likely claim my life in 1-2 years. October (normally my favorite month!) is a very depressing month, when you are living with terminal breast cancer. There is pink everywhere. On football players, at the grocery store, in restaurants, parades, t-shirts, cups, coffee, pepper spray, you name it – it has been pinked.
This is depressing for 2 reasons. One, the people who buy said pink products are doing so because they believe they are doing a great thing. They want to help try and eradicate this disease. What they don’t realize is that very, very little of their money is actually going into research of metastatic breast cancer – again, the ONLY breast cancer that will kill you. Two, it is depressing to see wealthy corporations getting richer on people’s good intentions, when they are in fact donating very little (and sometimes not at all!) money to any breast cancer foundations, let alone research. The large pink machines have done such a good job marketing, that I often hear that breast cancer is the cancer to get, or worse…people are so over pinked that they think breast cancer has enough money. Awareness certainly has enough money. Actual research is woefully underfunded, receiving only 2% of funds. That is 2% going to the ONLY breast cancer that WILL kill you. The video I linked does a good job explaining what I’ve just written above. As someone who WILL die of this disease unless more research is funded, I urge you to think before you pink. Think before you post silly meme’s on the internet, which do nothing, or post silly little facebook status’. I KNOW that my friends who have have passed along these messages think they are doing a wonderful thing to support people like me. I know your hearts! But if you want to really make a difference and possibly save my life…I need RESEARCH.
So instead of buying into the pink machine, which is run by CEO’s making VERY high 6 figure salaries, I urge you to make donations that will matter. Donations that will go to fund actual research. Two very reputable donations are Metavivor (100% of donations go directly to metastatic breast cancer research) and Stand Up To Cancer (an organization which awards grants to researchers who come together and work collaboratively instead of competitively on researching all types of cancer). You can make a difference in finding a cure, or at least more drugs that will allow women (and men) with metastatic breast cancer to manage their cancer chronically and live longer. I always say that all I need is TIME for the science to catch up I am hopeful that with more money to research, more and more drugs will come out to buy me time. I have hope. I try to fully live each day and focus on the positives in my life instead of negative. I urge all of you out there to do the same. I can honestly say that the last 2 years of my life (despite having a terminal disease) have been the most wonderful and amazing yet. Life is good! If you made it this far, thank you for listening! I will post a comment with the websites for two reputable places I listed above.”
Here are those two websites.
I am embarrassed and ashamed by how much I have bought into the fluff! And so I sign off this time with no Cheers. With no Happy Crafting. With no Celebration. I sign out with a message. When you act on the PINKNESS of the month, do it will thought. We are all aware, very aware of what breast cancer is. It is time for action. Real action that creates research that changes the game. If I can be a percentage of a part of something that has any other woman not lose her mother when she is only 34 years old and raising three little kids to this crappy cancer, I will feel as if I have done something. I want to be part of that plan!