With the turn of the month, autumn is definitely here. We wake to brisk mornings and shrinking cool days. Kids are back in school, while birds journey south. Gardens yield final harvests of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and beans. Soccer and football, replace baseball and swimming. Most of all, the fall color…. every day and everywhere we see the color… the color reminds us that October really is a special month. That color is pink.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now in its 26th year NBCAM is the annual international campaign to remind all of us of the importance of screening, prevention and to raise research dollars to defeat breast cancer. NBCAM is a phenomenon bringing society together in a vital effort. Groups from industry, philanthropy, medicine, politics, media, and even professional sports come together. Somewhere, all month long, someone is biking, walking, swimming, power sitting, lecturing or eating for the breast cancer cause.
By any measure, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a stunning success. It saves lives.
There is one group, however, for whom this month can be tough. It can be hard for breast cancer patients, survivors and their families. While many join the events and by this action gain encouragement, others shrink away. It is not that they do not appreciate the effort to help and the need for us all to attack the disease. It is just that sometimes NBCAM feels like an endless attack on them.
One of the way’s cancer patients get by, day-totday, is by focusing on the normal. Just for a while, they take their cancer and put it aside. They shut it in a corner of their minds, with the door guarded by day-to-day events. Life is a lot less frightening when you are playing with your children, laughing with friends or just dealing with an all-consuming job. NBCAM makes that challenging to do. Suddenly, pink is everywhere and reminders of cancer are difficult to avoid.
Therefore, here is a humble piece of advice. Go on that breast cancer walk. Read about the latest discovery. Get that mammogram. We must defeat this disease. We must be aware of the threat of breast cancer, until we are aware that it is gone forever. Donate…donate…. donate!
Then, take a moment to remember that October can be very scary for those whose lives have been touched by this disease. Be sensitive to their needs. Make sure they are all right. Treat them like the normal people that they are now and always will be. Never let them forget that most breast cancer patients are cured.
Remind them that they are alive, and that gold, orange, red, brown and purple are the real colors of fall and that it is truly a glorious time of year.