Monday, 3 October 2011

In the Pink?

Well its started Breast Cancer Awareness Month is here! I am taking a big breath before I dive in. It’s a really busy time and all-important month, not just for raising awareness but much needed funds too. This week has key events such as our TLC day and our Changing Breast Cancer conference in Edinburgh. The team have done a huge amount of work to get to this stage so I am up to my ears in reading briefing documents, working out where I need to be and when, AND dealing with the what will I wear dilemma. And the all important question do I really need to wear pink?!

What I hear you call? Now TLC day is a no brainer (!), the pink jacket will be donned with pride. But with Changing Breast Cancer I am contemplating bucking the trend and wearing some other colour. This whole dilemma in a way is significant as it resonates with the range of reactions to the pink dominance of breast cancer, which started 20 years ago now with the first pink ribbon. I know for some people, not just the men who are diagnosed with breast cancer, but also some women the pinkness of the image can jar at times with their own experience and feelings. I do recognise some of that conflict within myself.
Of course I have embraced the whole pink theme with great enjoyment and still do; I have bought a range of pink items in October from t-shirts to car accessories, I have walked down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh dressed in a pink bra as the pubs were coming out (no not just my usual Saturday night but the Moonwalk in our fair city-believe me it takes courage and not just because of the Scottish weather), I have Gone Pink with the team and applauded them in pink morph suits and the like.

But I admit that it has at times felt at odds with the serious impact the condition has had not only on me but on the many I meet through work and my friends and family too. I have had to stop myself from becoming the woman in black (well its slimming too!) when that maybe reflected better how I felt but not really the image I wanted to project.It reflects too the anger and concern I feel at seeing so many lives impacted on by breast cancer. Its also in part those emotions too I recognise that give me the drive and energy to change things for the better. So for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Changing Breast Cancer event I think I wont be wearing pink just this once…but not black either. I am sure I will find some old thing in wardrobe!

And lets recognise that  pink is such a positive colour-and there is much to be positive about now compared to the past experiences of and survival after breast cancer. So the pink ribbon is also  that symbol of hope and celebration of life that is so valuable. So many people will be going pink this October-having parties, baking pink cakes, running, walking, Zumba-ing, shopping and so much more. All of those people, be they friends together, offices, schools, businesses, will be raising those pink pounds to fund our crucial work.And whats great is they are having fun too. Many of them taking this opportunity to turn around the bad experience into something positive. We quite literally cannot do it without the army of people who through their efforts will be saving lives and changing futures. And the Breakthrough Breast Cancer pink is “hot pink” which is fantastic. My rather fabulous hot pink sandals will definitely get an airing month.And I plan to have fun wearing them.

So do wear your pink with pride this October-as I will-and remember TLC. Promote our TLC breast awareness message to your friends and family- and get them to pass it on. On behalf of the more than 4,000 women in Scotland alone who will be diagnosed, for all those who are surviving the diagnosis but still live with the impact and the 1,000 women every year in Scotland who lose their lives to breast cancer-please do what you can to support our life saving work. We are ambitious for change but we can’t do it without you.

Reasons to be cheerful: I feel rested and restored following a visit to my daughter and meeting the lovely Molly; her newly adopted rescue dog from the Dog Trust. She is a lucky dog having found a home where she gets loved and cared for like no other. And like so many rescue dogs like her, she knows a good thing when she finds it and so returns the love in spades.
I also have an addition to the bucket list – a trip to the west of Ireland. And for the F**k it list it would be the cold sores I keep getting!
So a deep breath and diving into October –if you see me I will be the one in pink-mostly.

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