October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Just about everyone knows this. Has been since 1991. A few years ago, it reached its peak when you couldn’t move in October without seeing something pink. Pink dump trucks, cop cars, trash trucks, even the NFL had dudes with pink shoes, sweatbands, jerseys. I even attended hockey games that they dyes the damn ice pink.
Pink is October now and I hate it.
I support everyone that needs to, especially our young women, to get screened and be aware of their health. (Yes, dudes get breast cancer, too) but what I hate is how it became corporatized and these foundations and other ‘charities’ have made a fortune on the lives and health of our women and men.
For reference, my wife is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2011 and made a hard surgical decision to alleviate the issue. She is fine today but we had a rough time during the multiple surgeries and hospital stays. Want to know how many times anyone from Susan G. Komen or American Cancer Society came by to check on us or offer support?
None. Zero. Fucking zilch.
And years before, my wife had done the now defunct Avon 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer, raising thousands of dollars and had always supported these charities. They are rip offs.
My wife got no support and neither did I. ME, you ask? Yes, caregivers need support, too. If you don’t know what it’s like to be a caregiver for someone who has had cancer or surgeries, reach out to me via email and I’ll fill you in.
Staying at hospitals and the multiple months of doctor’s appointments take their toll on a family. You’d be surprised at the things that add up as additional stressors. For instance, I had to pay $14 a day to park at the hospital, if my wife, who spent a total of 21 days in the hospital, wanted to watch TV to ease the boredom of lying in bed, it was $10 a day for basic TV. Remember, this was 2011-2012 and we didn’t have WiFi everywhere and streaming was very new. I had to eat at the hospital and where we live, it was an hour and a half drive everyday (I had to come back and forth to take care of our son, who was a sophmore in HS and needed attention as well).
So, yeah, nothing and no one helped, even counseling or just someone to ask us if we were OK. So, yeah, fuck them and their Pink October. We survived on love, my vows for sickness or health and because I’m honorable and my wife is a strong woman who simply refused to lose that battle.
So, if you REALLY want to help during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here’s some tips of things YOU can do that will help. If you know someone personally going through this, support them directly, if you don’t, contact the patient advocacy desk or info desk at your local hospital.
- Pay for someone’s parking or TV bill at the hospital, you can just donate the money to the patient services teams
- Buy and give or donate gas gift cards, fast food gift cards or restaurant gift cards
- If you know someone, offer a ride to treatment or offer to haul their kids around if you know them well
- If you get physical magazines, donate them to hospitals when you’re done, just mark out or remove your home address. Trust me, I didn’t recall reading a word in any magazine while I spent 10-12 hours at a time in a waiting room, but it was nice to have a distraction
- Of course, make meals for a family if you know them
- Have you and your kids write out thoughtful, inspiring and encouraging notes and leave them with patient services to be handed out as needed
And the most important thing you can do to support breast cancer awareness is make sure you and your loved ones are getting screened as needed to beat it early if you have it.
You’re not helping by buying that Pink T shirt with the cute saying or a pink ribbon Yeti coffee mug, you’re just making a hustler some money. Help by being an advocate, a support system, a friend or just someone who cares.
I wish you all never have to go through a thing like this and I wish we didn’t have a medical system that profits from us being sick more than they do us being well, but here we are.
Be healthy and lead forward