My world has opened up again, my perspective wider. I think about the future, I plan and believe. I am now working on regaining my physical health. Five years of severe illness, chemos and surgeries has left me with wreckage; even standing is difficult. I have started to exercise with personal trainers certified to work with cancer patients to try to restore strength and energy. More on that in the next post.
All good news has a downside - I now believe I will live to see another October. I'll have to be disgusted by yet another month of football players wearing pink, another month where the focus is on boobs and not disease, another month of using cancer to sell product and one in which the ribbon flies and everybody is a survivor. Another month where death, destruction and disease is ignored.
Oh lawd, I still have a hangover from the last one, let me grab my
There is no escaping it. October is now a national holiday, a month of pink cause marketing, where the story of triumph over illness sells products ranging from soup to nuts. It is part of the cultural fabric of our lives, and as much as I know how off and wrong it is, how absurd the focus is - there is no changing it. Most people don't think deeply enough about it.
Is it too late for any good to come of it? I started wondering, is this a total loss? We will never change the culture, but what if we can start to change the flow of money? It started out as an idea to be helpful - can it perhaps become that way again?
What if we appealed to the major charities - Komen especially but many others and requested that they spend 50% of their money on research grants? And, ask them to be transparent in what they spend it on as does not happen now?
Let's let them keep their ribbons, their races, the pink everywhere, their name in lights and the partnership with fracking, alcohol and other companies. Let them keep the illusion that "awareness" means something.
What if we could let them keep doing what they do, but convince them just give more of our donated money to researchers who are actually working on the problem of coming up with treatments "for the cure." Not only medical researchers but people who are inventing technology, those who are working discover genetic mysteries and similarities and more.
For those of us with cancer, both metastatic and early stage - if we know money is being spent well, if we know that early detection is not the only focus of October, maybe we will not want to crawl under the covers and stay there. Maybe researchers won't have to beg for funds or, hire grant-writers, or waste time or drop projects. Maybe money can flow easily to institutions and researchers that need it.
What if we asked the big charities to keep doing what they are doing, but to promise to give 50% of their money to medical research instead of the average of fraction they do now? And tell us who they are giving it to?
Can't hurt, right?
So I started a petition.
Please go read it, and then sign it. Share it with your friends, and ask them to share it with theirs and on and on. If we can get tens of thousands of people to say "this is important" they will have to respond. And respond directly, rather than indirectly as in the past.
It takes time for institutional change. We won't change PinkOctober in a day. But you have to start somewhere. Maybe, just maybe, we can turn that flood of useless pink and the cliched story into something good - as it was meant to be from the beginning. Maybe we can stop Susan G. Komen from rolling in her grave. That girl needs a rest, I think.
Sign the petition and share it with your friends. Thank you.