Post by Lillian K., Marketing Lead
I recently read the latest stats on breast cancer: "1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime." It's a stat that's thrown around, especially once a year when suddenly it seems like the whole world turns pink. Pink ribbons pinned onto children's backpacks (I got plenty of those growing up), pink water bottles, T-shirts, pink pens and memo pads, pink key chains and coffee mugs. The pink made it fun. The pink made it cute. It made me want to be a part of it all. I even joined a sponsored 5K run one year, and I have the pink T-shirt to prove it. I mean, my favorite color happens to be pink anyways, so it made sense.
But one day, it didn't make sense. Because one day, about a year ago, I got an email from a close friend who was going through a lot of difficulties with her health. She was someone who rarely had any health issues before, yet within a span of a few weeks, she was dealing with back injuries, spinal surgery, and her recovery medication was causing all sorts of digestion problems. On top of that, her mammogram results revealed a lump, which turned out to be cancerous. And if my thoughts were a color that day, it wasn't pink.
I felt helpless. I felt at a loss for what I could do for her. And all I had were my words. Ongoing words to let her know I'm thinking about her, praying for her. Texts and emails responding to her latest ups and downs of a successful lumpectomy and the debilitating side effects of hormonal therapy.
And then I had another scare when I found out my mom was awaiting results for a biopsy after her annual mammogram (thankfully, hers is benign).
Today when I hear this statistic, it hits closer to home. I know one of those "1 in 8 women." And so do all those who are connected to her. And all the other people who personally know someone struggling with breast cancer. And I think we've all felt hopeless at one point on how to give, how to help, how to show our love and support.
I think this is when our natural response to our loved ones points us towards what we CAN give. Our words. Our smallest gestures and sentiments. A deep sigh, a lingering hug, a simple "I'm here for you."
One breast cancer survivor recently blogged about what helped her: her "pile of love." Cards, notes, and letters she received in the mail many years ago. Words written lovingly on paper, that she still treasures today.
So perhaps pink can make sense. It's a color associated with kindness, compassion, and empathy. And perhaps it's with pink words that we can meaningfully show our love and support. I want to encourage everyone to please share some words of love with someone you know who might need a brighter color in their day.