Beware the Pink: October is Breast Cancer BUSINESS Month

Breast Cancer Awareness. As every October goes Pink in the name of charity (cough*greed*cough), I am aware that it’s Breast Cancer BUSINESS month.

Spoiler Alert: Breast Cancer is a Terrible Disease.

Statistically speaking, one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. I don’t know many women, men (who also get BC), kids, aunts, nephews or pets who are unaware that breast cancer is a thing.

As if you didn’t know, breast cancer exists. Millions of dollars will be spent this month on pinkwashing campaigns to remind you, to market to you. I have a favor to ask: Think Before You PinkFind something Pink in a store, some co-branded special edition whatever. Follow the money, try to get some for a woman with cancer. I’ll wait.

If they can slap a pink ribbon on it, someone is selling it.
It’s about the patient, right? 

FTR: Charities do an AMAZING amount of good in this world. I fully recognize the hard work they do and have no problem with anyone earning a good salary for doing their job well.

That typed, there’s a reason for orgs like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator. In my cynical, personal experience some charities focus more on the business of the charity, not the people or cause they claim to help.

Begs the question: this BCAM how many mark downs will the Major Corporate Tax Write Off Pink Donation get, as it filters through some High Profile Foundation, next to a for-profit drug company or other Brand Name Society, then whittled to a lesser known Research Fund before it trickles down to smaller Regional organization, all taking their administrative cuts? Hmm.

Where does it all go? When does it ever get to a patient, to a family in need?
Not buying pink; I give direct.

I can tell you from first hand knowledge, cancer is expensive. To cover medical costs, patients have to sell houses, gut savings, go into debt. The most common ‘solution’ for those in need: go fund your LIFE. Or bankruptcy.

Some BC charities offer stock brochures and newsletters, support groups, transportation assistance. A $20 Uber is great, but breast cancer patients also need thousands for radiation.

Most noteworthy are the splashy events. Is a woman with no hair, bad breakouts and a body in pain supposed to get dressed up for some local charity gala that raises little new awareness and even fewer funds? Never mind, probably not invited. See also: the never ending weekends of walks and races, media coverage and corporate sponsorships.

This is Personal. 

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2015. Three years post chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and physical therapy, I’m still in remission treatments. The only charity I’ve qualified for – drug co-pays, money that probably went back to the companies selling me my chemo.

BCAM isn’t without controversy; it raises billions of dollars each year with little regulation or oversight – lots of research and we still don’t have a cure. For me Pinktober isn’t empowering, it’s the calculated commercialization of a terrible disease.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for your time and support. Please remember, breast cancer isn’t about a month, it’s about a life. For this (or any charity cause) you choose to support all I ask: give wisely.

Graphics: Breast Cancer Consortium; meme generator.

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