Sunday, January 15, 2012

Think PinkRedYellowGreenTealBeigeOrangeMagentaCyanCornflower For the cure!

I was going to blog about something light and pithy, and then I got irritated. Irritated enough to stop doing laundry. Okay, it really doesn't take much to get me to stop doing laundry, but still- I'm irritated.

For the last few weeks I have been absolutely BOMBED by people insisting I do something involving telling people that I'm going someplace (that I'm really not going to) for X number of days or months (when I'll really be at home). I'm not supposed to tell ANYONE that it's not real, and thus they'll get themselves all worked up in a tizzy. Somehow, in some way, this is going to raise breast cancer awareness.

*blank stare*

So, by lying about a vacation I am going to make more people aware about breast cancer.

*blank stare*

Does anyone else see a problem with this? First off, who in the hell is NOT AWARE OF BREAST CANCER? What with every month bathing us in a sea of baby pink, from our yogurt cups to our socks to our water bottles to our toothpaste, how can every man, woman, and child NOT be aware of breast cancer? Second, how are we raising whatever this awareness is by telling a cutesy fib that has absolutely zero to do with boobs? At least the bra thing was related to the girls.

Before anyone begins frothing at the mouth, I am a HUGE supporter of breast cancer research. I have boobs, afterall. I have friends who have fought the battle and won, friends who have supported family members in their long journeys- some successful, some not. I myself have had a scare, a lump I gamely named "Maria" (as in "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" Hey, I like musicals.) I believe we have to keep fighting... but how is a facebook status going to help anything? How is a random internet ribbon going to help a woman whose been told she has to have a mastectomy or face certain death?

It's not. And neither is my wearing socks with pink stripes on the bottom, or carrying a pink water bottle. How many of us really look at how much a manufacturer REALLY gives to breast cancer research? Do we just get so excited to "do something" that we can't help ourselves? Or, in purchasing that pink Swiffer, do we feel we've done our part?

When did actual action fall out of favor?

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women across the board? It is. According to the CDC, Heart disease accounts for 25.2% of all female deaths. No, dammit, don't go put a red ribbon up on your Facebook profile and buy a red t-shirt. Instead, get four of your female friends to commit to a daily walk, lowering your risks. Find a cooking class that teaches heart-healthy recipies and make a girls night of it. Talk to your workplace about it's tobacco cessation programs, and get others on board. If you really need to use social media, what about Facebooking or Tweeting or even doing a YouTube lego video about the signs of stroke and a heart attack in women?

What about all of the other causes out there that don't have a month, don't have a national shoe sponsor, don't have a voice? My husband and around 600,000 other Americans have Polycystic Kidney Disease, one of the most common life threatening disesases. You've never heard of it, have you (unless you have a friend or family member who has it)? We don't have sexy "I love kidneys!" bracelets, or formfitting teal t-shirts, or major celebrity sponsors. We also don't have a cure, or even a treatment. We walk to raise money, and even that is ignored by the local media. So it becomes even more important to talk about it, to get out and advocate, to do the things that MATTER. But while I'd appreciate a teal ribbon on someone's Timeline, I'd much rather see them out walking with me, or signing their organ donor card, or writing congress.

Look, if you want to post a ribbon or a banner, or a picture of a little kitten holding a sign touting the cause that is important to you, fine... but tell me why you're posting it. Has one of your closest friends been diagnosed with breast cancer? then tell us- "This is to honor Cathy Jones and her fight against the big C. Kick it's ass, Cathy!" Did your father die of a heart attack? Then how about "In loving memory of my Daddy... heart attacks aren't always obvious! Know the signs! 1- discomfort in the chest...."? Or "Nick Jonas isn't the only cutie with Juvenile Diabetes! Let's help my nephew Carter find a cure in 2012! Go to...."

Or even better, do something. Offer to bring one meal a week to a woman in the midst of chemo. Offer to walk with a friend who needs to get her blood pressure under control. Quit smoking and form a support group at work for other struggling to do the same. Raise money for the cause that goes under the radar. Go through your closets and take everything you don't need to a women's shelter; homeless and/or battered women like to feel pretty, too.

Then maybe we can all go to Argentina for 12 months! Just don't tell anybody.

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