My mother died of Breast Cancer. My aunt is a survivor. But before you buy me a pink screwdriver for Christmas…
I posted this note on Facebook back in September, while I was prepping for Ride the Rideau and being asked nearly daily whether I was doing the CIBC Run for the Cure, which I had done the previous two years.
Read this article on Jezebel:
Interesting timing on this, from a personal perspective, but yeah, I decided to do Ride the Rideau (for a local cancer institute) in lieu of Run for the Cure because I have become concerned about and slightly suspicious of the oversaturation of ‘think pink’-related paraphernalia and the sheer number of events/fundraisers not at all being in line with progress in actually finding a cure.
I’m not saying all breast cancer charities are guilty of it, but I get irritated when I think about how much money goes into developing pink beach balls, dryer sheets, and other ‘fundraising’ marketing campaigns vs. actual support for patients and research.
Breast cancer is trendy. It’s weird.
In a few weeks, the cinematorium is playing a documentary about this very topic (and I might read the book on which its based too). I will try to watch/read with a critical eye, but I won’t lie, I said “FUCK YEAH” (quietly, to myself) when I started reading about it. Because we’re being duped into feeling good about buying products and participating in events because there’s pink shit all over it.
Breast cancer is an ugly mess, I’ve seen that first hand, and while buying a box of tissues with a pink ribbon on it might make a person feel like they’re doing something about it, it’s pretty likely a placebo and that the only people benefiting are those that made and sold you the snotrags. This false confidence that people are buying (or, rather, being sold), in the billions, makes me extremely angry. And I think the breast cancer ‘industry’ is by far the worst offender, because it’s a cause that is latched onto frequently/easily (and quite rightly) because so many women are affected.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t support charities, even breast cancer charities, but in the last couple of years, I’ve felt that people shouldn’t just assume every cause, every campaign, every cash grab is the same. Make sure your money, time, and energy are doing something good for humanity, not just (potentially) providing good PR for a multinational with dodgy practices. Donate directly to smaller, reputable groups whenever possible, those that provide practical help to people with cancer (driving people to chemo appointments, for example, when they are too tired to do so themselves), that assist their families (support groups), and to groups actually doing research into cures for the million and one faces of this wretched (collection of) disease(s).