It's that time of year again. October, aka Pinktober. The month that is now almost as well known for cancer awareness and the colour pink as it is for falling leaves, pumpkins and trick-or-treat.
There is nothing wrong with pink, and I am 100% supportive of breast cancer awareness, being a survivor myself. But there is a growing sense in the cancer world that so-called Pinkification and Pinkwashing are trivialising the disease and giving a disproportionate amount of attention to breast cancer awareness while other cancers are virtually ignored.
With this in mind, a group of young women in the U.S. and Canada created a video aimed at real cancer awareness.
Along with many other survivors of the disease, Ashley Blair Doyle, Shellie Kendrick and Rachel Michelson were tired of receiving meaningless Facebook messages imploring them to "post a love heart" on their wall. They were frustrated with the use of over-sexualised images to raise awareness. They were sick of the sale of pink products that in some cases did nothing to help fight breast cancer.
So they created their own campaign, featuring real images of men and women suffering from all kinds of cancers.
This video is graphic. It is not pink and it is not cute. The video does not simply show the smiling faces and pink ribbons we have all grown so accustomed to. Instead, it shows the reality: the crying faces, the scars, the needles. It is upsetting and uncomfortable to watch, but that is the reality of cancer.
In the words of Ashley, Shellie and Rachel, we are more than pink. This is real cancer awareness, and I am proud to be part of it.
From the campaign:
Pink is everywhere in today's world. But there is more to cancer awareness than just a pretty colored ribbon. We are more than the products being pushed for 'the cure.' We are more than the sexualization of a disease that takes so many lives. We are more than silly Facebook status updates showing "support". We are more than just one month. We are more than just one color. It's time to push pass one cancer having the loudest voice. It's time ALL cancers be acknowledged equally. #realcancerawareness