The Illusion of Support

Time for orange and black this Halloween month? More like pink, pink, and more pink.


It is that time of the year again in which people break out the pink attire and support the women struggling with breast cancer. One of the many things I find troubling about this awareness month is the fact that people consider it a “celebration.” Why would anyone want to celebrate a disease that brings women to their knees and tears them apart mentally and physically? Yes, it is directed towards celebrating those who have survived and support those who are not lucky enough to be in remission, but why is the idea of having this disease so glorified and made out to be beautiful?


Some breast cancer patients have these same questions, and feel that the color pink misrepresents the whole disease. Leah Nurik, a woman who has personally experienced the tragedy of breast cancer, explains her discomfort with the entire month of October in her article in the Washington Post. (


Nurik first confesses that she used to love the brisk October mornings, the dried leaf piles, and the excitement of a new school year, but now, it only reminds her of the worst experience she has ever had to face. October is a hollow shell, a ghost of what was.


In Nurik’s words, “Fighting cancer is very much like climbing a steep mountain, and you wonder how you will scale what appears impossible for such an extensive length of time, with no moments to rest.” She goes on to say that before cancer there was only right and wrong, black and white, but now, there is nothing but gray. So why a color that reminds people of happiness and cotton candy be used to represent a population of women who have been through hell and back?


Pentuckets’ sports teams have been sporting the pink this week, and I all could think about was the money that institutions make just for making a pink article of clothing with a ribbon on it. It makes me sick to think that people are using the personal destruction others experience to gain personal revenue; making caner nothing more than a big business.


I understand people who participate in this month’s awareness are doing it for good intent, but the underlying meaning of it all is overwhelming.


Another issue I have is why there is an awareness month solely for breast cancer. It may be one of the most common cancers, but what about people facing colon cancer, skin cancer, or brain cancer? Do they not deserve recognition and support?


The simple answer: yes they deserve it. I personally know that cancer physically tears people apart, as I watched my mom lose her battle to colon cancer. It occurred to me the other day to see if colon cancer had a special color in the same way as breast cancer. Turns out, it is blue. But after four years of facing the harsh reality of colon cancer, I had no idea the ribbon was blue. The part I struggle with is: why is this not widely known? Everyone “thinks pink” in October but no one ever “thinks blue.”


So next time you want to sport the pink and offer your support, just remind yourself why you do it, and think of all those battling cancer, not just the women with breast cancer.