If this makes you mad, tough.

I am sick of breast cancer. I’m sick of pink ribbons, facebook games and poignant spam filling up my email inbox.

Last week some NFL players wore PINK SHOES while they were playing football. Others had pink towels tucked in their pants.

And that helps people with cancer how?

I’m sick of people assuming that I had breast cancer when they learn I’m a survivor.

I know that breast cancer is bad. But get this–all cancer is bad.


Did you see 60 Minutes last week? If you didn’t, go to CBS.com and watch the segment on Bill and Melinda Gates. These people aren’t running around wearing pink shoes and matching ribbons–they are spending BILLIONS to cure malaria and HIV and to improve schools.

They’re spreading their money all over the world because they know that along with a lot of luxuries, $60 billion can buy a lot of time for thousands of people.

They’re not doing it from a distance either. Melinda Gates is on the ground, making sure that the people she wants to help are actually getting the care she’s paying for.

OK. I know a couple of you are out there cynically rolling your eyes and muttering “photo op” under your breath. But I really don’t think that’s the case here. Bill Gates is the classic nerd who struck gold. Melinda was the lucky Microsoft employee who caught his eye.

They’re not fame whores and they didn’t inheirit this fortune. But they are determined to give it away.

So here’s the deal. Don’t just put on a pink ribbon or post something cutsey on facebook. Do something that actually helps someone. It doesn’t even have to cost any money.

Give somebody a ride.

Cook a meal.

Say a prayer.


Filed under Cancer

15 responses to “If this makes you mad, tough.

  1. I was anti-Bill Gates for years because he and Ballmer really did crush any competition that threatened Microsoft. But that guy has redeemed himself in a big way.

    Do you know who else I admire? Angelina Jolie. Laugh if you want but I happen to believe her heart is in the right place. Brad Pitt, too. The people who make fun of them are the same ones who don’t do a damn thing to help the needy.

  2. Amen, dear friend. amen.

  3. totally with you on that one… it’s very easy to be cynical about celebrities who go in for “good causes”, and very fashionable to hate bill gates (i’ve been anti-microsoft for years), but the way i figure it, is who cares what the motive is… if they actually part with the cold hard cash to help someone, somewhere then that’s gotta be good, no?

  4. Right with you, lady! If there is a human being over the age of 4 in the United States who ISN’T aware that breast cancer is a medical issue? i’d be stunned.

    Where’s the outrage over the latest congressional misfire – cutting food stamps back. $4.50/person per day. All you can eat with that is corn-based filler – we have obese people in this country who are malnourished! What color ribbons do they get? Who walks on their behalf? Where do we click to give money to the food pantries?

    you nailed it. and mr. banishment? i’ve been to cambodia. in that country? Ms. Jolie is considered a saint for all she’s done for the people of that country…

  5. oh, and by the way – i had breast cancer. it’s cancer. right there with thyroid cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, throat cancer, pancreatic cancer, myeloma, lymphoma… it all blows.

  6. UB–Reading all the comments so far, that’s two votes for Jolie/Pitts. I think she’s a little kooky, but she does seem to be sincere. His work in New Orleans is outstanding.
    JS–From your lips…
    Mon–You should watch the piece. It really opened my eyes to their work.
    DF–Knowing that you had breast cancer and feel the same way is quite gratifying. Here’s hoping that you and your breasts are healthy today.

  7. Julie

    And don’t you also applaud the Gates/Buffett initiative, asking the super-wealthy to give away most of their billions to charity?
    You absolutely win my vote on your opinions on this one. RIGHT ON!!

  8. Sometimes it seems that a whole lot of marketing for a good cause could be better spent directly on the cause. I’m thinking the ‘Red’ initiative spearheaded by Bono. At Wimbledon a few years ago, tons of money was spent on red ribbons and red signs and red advertisements for GAP and AMEX, and I wondered, “How much money was spent here, and wouldn’t it have been better going directly to the search-for-a-cure coffers?”. I kind of feel the same way about the pink shoes and ribbons and shirts. And the yellow plastic armbands. Do we really need the gimmicks to help the cause?

    My latest effort to the cancer cause (and it was far too long ago) was to learn how to say breast cancer (instead of ‘chicken breast cancer) in Spanish. My Spanish friends have an image of my mother with chicken feathers coming out of her bra. 😉

  9. Gwen Jackson

    My sister and I recently had a discussion about how much we HATE breast cancer month. It’s turned into almost a weird celebration of pink things or something. It’s almost a blasphemy when I think about all the things my sister suffered in her struggle to fight the disease that ultimately killed her. You’re right about this: All cancer sucks. Thanks for writing this. It just needed to be said.

  10. Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking every time October comes around. My mom passed away from synovial sarcoma. Squamous cell cancer took my brother at age 25. Where is all the “awareness” when it comes to sun exposure and tanning salons? All cancer causes need awareness, but I think this pink thing is out of control. We went to buy a bottle of wine for dinner on Saturday and there was a pink pin attached to the bottle. A measly 25 CENTS was donated to Breast Cancer research out of every $10 bottle of wine sold (yeah, I’m a cheap date). An insulting amount given by the wine company just to get on the bandwagon.

    Want to be aware? Volunteer in a cancer treatment center instead of purchasing a stupid wristband.

    May I link your post? This subject makes me so mad, I see red. Or would I be more PC if I said pink?

  11. Julie–You have to assume that the Buffett/Gates children are on board with that and will get a little something.
    Ellie–Everyone has a cause. I wonder if this stuff is as rampant in Spain? And I hope that your mother is doing well, feathers or not.
    Gwen–I adore seeing your name on my comment list again. I’ve missed you. All that pink is a little demeaning, isn’t it. I hope you and your family are well. Don’t be a stranger.
    MamaZoo–So sorry about your mother and brother. And cheers to the winery giving away a whole quarter. Wow. Of course you may link–I’m honored and thanks for asking.

  12. As a non-survivor, I kind of felt like I didn’t get a say on this topic.

    And now you wrote it for me, so I don’t even have to say it.

    Thanks, you.

  13. anita

    Well said, everyone.

  14. I saw an interesting Facebook discussion recently about the weird sexualization of breast cancer … you know, those strange memes that go around during Breast Cancer Awareness month where women post their bra color, or they post where they put their purse in the evenings, but it sounds like they’re saying where they like to have sex. It’s ridiculous. I’ve had an aunt with breast cancer, a cousin with brain cancer, and another cousin with cervical cancer … and they all went through hell. “Awareness” doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot without action — and action is driving someone to chemo, or delivering a meal to a housebound elderly person, or picking up the cost of a prescription for a friend who is struggling, or … so, so many things for which there is no conveniently distancing ribbon. Talk is, as you point out, cheap.

  15. David–Thanks for visiting Franklin and for such a thoughtful comment. Here’s to a cancer-free future to your friends and family.

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