Breast Cancer Awareness Month Is Here

Personal Stories, Global Reach, Pink Ribbons

My mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and I praise God for watching over us and seeing her through all the unbelievable physical and emotional trials this disease demands of women. I also have two aunts who have battled the disease, so having it in the extended family makes me more keenly aware of the broad reach that cancer has on families and societies.

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The designation of October was initiated by a collaboration between AstraZeneca and the American Cancer Society. More information about the history is available here.

My reminder that October is here comes when my email inbox gets flooded with notifications and donation requests for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I am more than happy to give whatever I can, and I just decided to write this brief article as a reminder to everyone or anyone else who might want to get involved, get informed and show support to survivors and their families.

My mother happens to live in the Dallas area, which is significant because it was the first place the Race for the Cure was held, in October 1983. So she is quite active, as are many of the Dallas area as well as nationwide. Although the race started with a mere 800 people in Dallas, by 2003 it had grown to nearly 2 million and had expanded to over 100 US cities. Currently, the event is being held in several other cities around the World.

Komen Race for the Cure Participants--St. Louis, MO, 2011
Komen Race for the Cure Participants--St. Louis, MO, 2011

The World Health Organization points out that more than 500,000 people worldwide die from breast cancer yearly, and breast cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer deaths among women globally.

Komen for the Cure states that its aim is to "reduce the burden of breast cancer on a global level". Believing that no single approach to breast health will prove effective around the world, Komen works with local communities and organizations to develop programs for particular groups or cultures.(quoted from Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Our Global Reach. 2007-04-11.)


NFL with Pink Ribbon Emblem
NFL with Pink Ribbon Emblem

The Pink Ribbon

The symbolic pink ribbon was established as the symbol for breast cancer awareness in 1993 by Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies . She was the founder of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Although this was not the first time the ribbon was used to symbolize breast cancer, it has now become accepted as the worldwide symbol.

In the modern West, pink is associated with femininity, goodness, cooperation, beauty, and consideration for others. Historically, the word pink also represents the highest or best condition of something, for example the phrase “in the pink of health.

Today the pink ribbon represents solidarity with women who are dealing with breast cancer as well as hope for a better tomorrow and race toward a cure. In the U.S., most of us have undoubtedly seen members of the media, including prominent news and sportscasters, professional athletes and other public figures sporting pink-highlighted outfits and/or pink ribbons throughout October.

Breast cancer-related organizations like Pink Ribbon International take the pink ribbon as their chief symbol. The version used by Susan G. Komen for the Cure is more of a stylized "running ribbon" which they have adapted into their logo.

Because of the charitability and goodwill associated with the pink ribbon, many businesses have used them to promote themselves as socially aware with women to further enhance their image and public relations. In this sense, it also serves as an effective, politically safe marketing brand.

This article is just a friendly reminder that October is about more than Halloween, so don your pink ribbon or accessory, get involved and represent!

Bonus Information

Below are some recommendations for those concerned about their health and well-being.

Natural Remedies for cancer sufferers are becoming more and more popular. Use all the tools and resources at your disposal. Do your homework and find what works for you.

Also, Getting Screened early and often is always recommended, for you and your loved ones. Men concerned about cancer should, of course also get screened for your peace of mind.

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