If you watched any NFL games this weekend, you surely noticed all the pink — the color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While I was watching the Giants–Bears game Sunday evening I said in passing to my roommate Ben that I found all the pink a little bit annoying.
I guess it all just felt too much like a bandwagon everyone was hopping onto — as if the all the players and coaches in the NFL care enough about breast cancer to make it their personal cause.
I have an opinion on the matter because my own mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor. Her bouts comprise not an initial experience and a recurrence, but two different cancer types. She handled the illness each time – the first when I was seven, and the second when I was 15 — with so much grace and so little complaining that, on the occasion that I’m prompted for significant events in my childhood, rarely do her two cancer scares even register. My mother is the most resilient, amazing woman I know.
This is what I was feeling Sunday night but wasn’t able to verbalize: that the experiences my mom has suffered were being co-opted by people who, whether they meant to or not, were equating watching or playing in an NFL game with true activism.
But after having thought about it now, I’m down with all those football players and coaches and announcers wearing their pink this month. As Roommate Ben so graciously brought to my attention, their sporting the color will result in the sale of merchandise, the proceeds from which will fund cancer research. And that research, we can hope, will one day find the cure for this disease that has affected so many millions of women and their families.
So: It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Be aware. Watch the NFL. Encourage the women around you to get mammograms. Rock the pink. And most important of all, show tangibly your love for the women in your life who have been afflicted with and have survived breast cancer.