By Shefa Ali
It’s October and you know what that means. Its Breast Cancer Awareness month. What do you think about when breast cancer awareness comes up? When I think of breast cancer awareness, I think of pink everywhere and strong women.
I have a love/ hate relationship with awareness campaigns, yes I know, it’s nice to feel like we are doing our part with social responsibility. When Mental Health Awareness Day and Breast Cancer Month come by we do social media posts, but how much thought do we give to the people who are living the reality of what these awareness campaigns are about?
How much do we consider the human beings who are living with breast cancer or mental health conditions? From my experience with women that have cancer some of them are horrified by just how traumatising and dismissive some of the campaigns can be. Sure, it’s easy to put on a pink ribbon, or buy a pink donut or cup cake, but how much awareness is that really creating?
You know what’s really sad? When a woman loses her life to breast cancer, they say that she ‘lost’ a battle. No, she didn’t. She did not. She lost her life, her family, and the opportunity to see her children grow up or her partner grow old. She lost the opportunity to put her feet on the ground, her toes in the sand, to reach out a hug someone she cares about. She lost everything, but she did not loose a battle. She was never weak.
Losing someone to cancer is not in our hands. Women don’t lose because they aren’t strong enough; they die because there is no cure. Most women would dissect their own body and amputate their own limbs to stay here, on this earth, with their loved ones for just one more day.
Breast cancer is not just about splashing pink everywhere. Meaningless ‘awareness’ is not the answer; we need conscious efforts to spread awareness and to ultimately and desperately find a cure. Many people do not realise that a large percentage of ‘pink’ products are not donating anything to any cause, let alone to a cause that funds research to finding a cure. Many pink products are just capitalizing on a cancer for PR efforts.
Collectively we need to be responsible and mindful when playing our part in awareness campaigns. Please, let’s always make sure the information we share is accurate and put ourselves in the shoes of people living with that cause, before posting or sharing.h out to me on Instagram.
* The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com
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