Friday, September 07, 2007

save the ta-tas!

I don’t normally go in for a lot of the cancer-related merchandising, but this site made me laugh. And then it made me mad to read the article about the girl who was sent home from school for wearing her ta-tas t-shirt. But I’m sure Hooters shirts are okay? Sigh… Anyway, the site’s message is good. And they really do give back, so I just thought I’d share.

[painfully obvious segue]

So one of my best friends is walking in the big Weekend to End Breast Cancer event in Toronto. 60km over two days. 6-0. People, this is a lot of walking. She and another friend are staying in a hotel on the Saturday night, but something tells me it won’t be a night of dancing in the hotel bar and shamelessly flirting while consuming large, overpriced martinis. There will be much, much sleeping and possibly soaking of feet, is what I think. Anyway, Viv has raised over $2000 for this cause, which in itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Add to that the enormous amount of walking and….well, she’s just amazing.

Breast cancer gets a lot of press. It’s out there and it’s pink and there are so many baubles (or is that boobles?) that you can buy. I’ve really got nothing against the ribbons and the “stuff”, because they are out there, and they’re promoting awareness, which is so important. What hurts, for me, is that while all the merch fosters hope and awareness, there is also such a glut of it in the marketplace, that the message – breast cancer kills – gets lost amongst the hype.

And it does kill. Almost everyone I know has lost someone to breast cancer, and everyone I know has been affected by it – whether personally or knowing a friend or relative who has/had it. It’s a horrible, horrible disease. “Early detection saves lives” – well, not always. “Once you’ve had surgery and treatment, you’re cured, right?” – nope, no guarantees. “Once you have surgery, the cancer can’t spread” – again, sorry, no guarantees.

In the 8 months I’ve worked in the patient library, I’ve learned more about breast cancer (and cancer in general) than I ever cared to know. I’ve spoken with breast cancer patients who knew they were going to die, and ones who had just received good news. I’ve helped women research places to go to buy mastectomy bras, and helped others find information on what brain metastases are. I’ve found them books on how to tell their children that they have cancer, and laughed with them when their “chemo brain” was showing and they couldn’t remember their phone number. I’ve had some of the most painful days of my life here, and some of the most triumphant. All in 8 months. Never, ever have I been able to say that about any other job I’ve ever held.

So go. Go and sponsor Vivian for her walk – it’s not too late! And please, the next time you see a pink ribbon teddy bear or a pair of earrings, don’t just say “oh, how cute!” Please, please…get angry. Get angry that this disease takes so many women and men. Get angry. And remember.

Oh, and Viv? If by some chance all that stuff about dancing and flirting and martinis does go down? I’m so in for next year. You rock my world, girlfriend. And I am so proud of you.

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