By ANA FERGUSON
Yesterday, I had to go on a little shopping adventure. A pretty normal excursion, you would say. Nothing uber exciting. A bit of retail therapy normally puts a smile on any woman’s dial. Traditionally, I find wandering through the shops and focusing on something other than cancer, a great way for me to take my mind off my woes. I like to lose myself in all the sights, sounds and activities going on around me and just roll along with life.
BUT NOT IN OCTOBER.
In October, I can’t escape the pink. There is Pink Pink Pink – everywhere. Pink cardboard figurines are over enthusiastically scattered all around the stores. Pink ribbons on lapels. Pink merchandise at the counter. Every way I turn my head I can see pink pink pink and I hate it.
As a mother of four daughters pink used to be such a part of my life. When the girls were younger it was pink everywhere and the lovely colour used to generate a warm fuzzy feeling inside as I reflected on the memories of pink tutus, pink shoes, pink fairy wands, pink rooms and generally just the joys of being a mama to little girls.
Now I despise it. Pretty powerful words I know, but I know I am not alone. There are a lot of us Stage 4 Breast Cancer patients out there walking amongst you who feel exactly the same.
On my shopping outing, the well-meaning sales girl approaches me and whilst trying to flog me a certain type of floor board, she throws into the conversation how they are assisting breast cancer and I can feel my fist start to clench. I am not a violent person, but I wanted to deck the poor unassuming girl right there and then.
You see, like many of us terminal patients, this pink craze feels like it’s belittling what we have to live with everyday. The sale of a pink T-shirt or a ribbon on your lapel has not helped me or my fellow terminals. Sure, some of the charities pay for new research, but otherwise the whole pink thing just highlights how people living with metastatic cancer feel – that they don’t get enough help.
The pink water bottle in the non BPA free bottle is the greatest irony of the lot (studies have linked BPA chemicals to breast cancer). And then the cracker this year was one particular breast cancer charity joining with a fracking company who then promoted a pink drill! All I can say is: @$#@*^&@%$&.
The US fracking company who released this drill should stop “doing their bit”.
Seriously, I am gob smacked and it takes a lot to do that to me. What are these companies thinking? It’s sure as hell not about me or anyone else dying from breast cancer.
Did you know that the colour pink – pink ribbons, pink fracking drills – is not regulated at all? Anyone can make their product pink and pretend to be “doing their bit for cancer” when they’re not. Here’s a quick, smart video on the truth of corporate pinkwashing:
Back to Ana:
We need to get back to basics with all this cancer fundraising and look at the faces of the people needing help and needing it now.
Not the celebrity faces but the real faces: The mother sitting in chemo with stage 4 who has had to catch a bus to the hospital with her child playing at her feet, who then needs to go pick up her other kids from school, go home and cook and care for her family. She still has to clean her house, arrange her children’s lives, care for her partner and does most of this alone. She has no time to even learn about her disease or how to help herself as she is doing what most mothers live to do – care for her own!
Shouldn’t we help these faces now while they are still out there living? Shouldn’t we throw our resources towards keeping families functioning together for as long as they can, rather than wait until they are dying and then offer them a once off $500 for domestic help?
Breast cancer is not about the colour pink. It’s not about ribbons, or cardboard cut outs, and it’s certainly not about fracking drills. October Breast Cancer Month should be about the real faces of this disease, real help we can get, and real action. Let’s leave the pink back in those wonderful memories of little girls, fairy dresses and tutus so that we can still hold onto those memories with joy.
Ana has just launched The Life Room: Your one-stop cancer shop. A support network by cancer patients, for cancer patients. You can visit at www.theliferoom.com.au
Ana Kitson Ferguson is a Mother or 4, Wife, and jack of all trades Blogger, Wellness Advisor, Integrated Medicine Cancer Advocate, Cancer Treatment Researcher, Business Woman and has been living life to fullest with Stage 4 Breast Cancer for the last 3 years. Ana shares her story through her blog and provides cancer consulting as well as recommended products that assist her in her day to day dance.