Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Are You Still Unaware?

pink ribbonThe seasons are changing and October is upon us once again. Of course, October means many things to many different people. It is Dwarfism Awareness Month, for one. Still, for most people, October has become synonymous with breast cancer and its mascot color, Pink.

And So It Begins Again

To kick off the annual onslaught of Pink themed things, we have a 1-minute video from Emily Helck, a young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2012. Emily elected to take pictures of herself each week as she went through chemo therapy and reconstruction. After a year had passed, she put the pictures together in a poignant 1-minute movie, which immediately went viral.

Emily writes over at Real Tumors of New Jersey, a blog that you should definitely check out if you are looking for a sometimes sad, often hilarious “real talk” take on breast cancer and the people who fight it.

A Little Bit More about NBCAM

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM got its start more than 25 years ago. It is “a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.”

Of course, when NBCAM got its start, breast cancer was an issue that required more research, more testing and more awareness. And the marketing geniuses behind the whole “Pink for Breast Cancer” thing deserve a medal for the phenomenal amount of branding they have been able to accomplish. But these days, some are beginning to wonder if it is really still necessary.

Take, for example, the folks behind Think Before You Pink. A project of Breast Cancer Action, a watch dog group that vehemently opposes the excessive use of pink ribbons on various products, Think Before You Pink takes umbrage with the fact that “breast cancer pink” is used to market all sorts of products that may actually contribute to breast cancer. Furthermore, many of these pinked out companies do not actually contribute to breast cancer research.

Personally, I am not sure if I even have an opinion on this. Sure, breast cancer is bad. But so is abuse of someone’s suffering to sell more cooking utensils. While I will for sure take some time this October to support breast cancer research and awareness, I might have to do a little more research before I pick up a cute pink product at the store.

What do you think about the “pink washing” of October? Do you research pink products before you buy?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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