"It's about time pink equaled accelerating research and finding more treatment options to save our lives."
I was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. I was 30 years old and 7 months pregnant with our second son. It was a huge blow, but everywhere we looked were smiling people who had beat cancer and I was certain we would too. And we did – for 7 years we lived a full, joyful life – running marathons, climbing mountains, full of hope and determination from the obstacles we overcame. I was a poster child for breast cancer survivorship – literally on a poster. In 2012 I started a nonprofit organization called Hope Scarves to help others share their survivor stories and pass along their scarves and support to others in treatment. But, just like so many other cancer organizations I was shortsighted focusing on stories of hope and celebrating survivors…
Then, in 2014, I developed low back pain I assumed was from running. After 7 years my cancer metastasized to my bones. I was thrust back into the world of a cancer patient, but this time it was much scarier. Much less hopeful and cheerful.
The best thing that has come out of this diagnosis is the expansion of our mission at Hope Scarves. I quickly realized how shortsighted our work was simply sharing happy stories. We immediately changed all of our communication to words like “face cancer” instead of “beat cancer.” I was living proof that it wasn’t about beating cancer – it is about living life over cancer, one day at a time. We established a research fund at Hope Scarves and to date, have raised $150,000 for metastatic breast cancer research as an advocacy partner with the MBC Project and MBC Alliance.
I am proud that we now share the whole story of cancer – recognizing breast cancer isn’t always smiling faces who beat cancer. The entire pink movement could become so much more meaningful if others also expanded their mission to invest in meaningful research to help save the lives of those with metastatic breast cancer.
I find it discouraging that many women with metastatic breast cancer feel so disappointed in the pink movement that they created their own ribbon. They are appalled by the pinkness and feel left behind by all the breast cancer efforts. Those of us facing MBC should be the VERY HEART of the pinkness. We should be the deepest, most brilliant pink of all and feel that the pink movement is working to save our life.