Cancer Awareness

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I’ll never forget walking into Vons grocery store October 1st, 2009. Less than a month out of chemo, I was still wearing my scarf, covering my bald head. About two steps into the store, my jaw dropped; I stood frozen. Oh my gosh! How do they know I’m having a bi-lateral mastectomy in three days? How’d they know I’d be here today? Am I their Mascot? Then came the over head speaker recorded promotion. “Did you know one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. . .” I felt everyone was looking at me. The store had pink balloons and ribbons of hope all over the store. Just the day before, I’d gone to the store and didn’t feel self-conscious at all. Thirty more days to go.

Later in October, after surgery, I was back at Vons. In just the short time I’d been away, my favorite cashiers who’d seen me go through changes, and cheer me on weren’t there. New cashiers didn’t know me. They’d never seen me before. They didn’t know I walked to the store almost daily, and always gave to their “causes” —but  not every day. At check out I was asked, “Would you like to donate to the cause?” I got a blank stare when I answered, “I gave at the office.”

The cancer awareness campaigns. Have they sparked vital conversation? Have the fundraisers, campaigns, products helped raise money for research? My complaint about having a month of breast cancer awareness is, it felt like being picked out; we’d never dare to have “dermatology awareness” at a high school. I never wore pink, a ribbon of hope, used cancer as an out, or for sympathy. On the other hand, I hear complaints from people with other types of cancer who feel they’re overlooked. Do you know what cancers the color teal represents? How about white? I say, let’s do a month of “Cancer Awareness.” —But I realize that’s not much of a money-maker. Marketing is about making money. “Proceeds go to _______.” How much of the proceeds? It’s a bit like California years ago promising schools a big win from lottery tickets sales. Maybe the schools do get money; I sure don’t see it. And now schools are saving Box Tops for help. I’m just a bit hesitant with all the “cancer awareness.” Let’s see some cancer education. Tips—prevention, precaution, exams, phone numbers. My oncologist is now in the office an extra day every week. “There’s been a cut back on funding for research.” If your intention is to help cancer research funding, ask about proceeds, where and how much goes to research (not administration, marketing, etc.), Check out websites like or Note: Pay attention when searching for theses sites! There are some with same/similar names. The two sites I’ve listed are both “dot. org” sites. No hyphens. No plurals. “Charity Watch” logo has a red dot with a black dog in front of it. It’s tag line is “American Institute of Philanthropy – Helping you give wisely to charity.” “Charity Navigator” has the tag line, “Your guide to intelligent giving.” The logo is a teal compass.

Here’s a link to  – a good article: Breast Cancer and the Psychology of Marketing


4 thoughts on “Cancer Awareness

  1. Hi Claudia,

    Interesting perspective. I never felt that awareness made you stand out more. I guess since I’m working for Ovarian Cancer, that’s what we want, but I never saw it from that perspective before…thanks for posting!


    Sunny and Take Back Teal

    • Hi Take Back Teal, thanks for your comment. Ha. I’m often told my perspective on things (even non-cancer) is “interesting.” That’s just me. I do understand where you’re coming from. I enjoy your posts, FB and comments. Best to you, too! 🙂 C

  2. Pingback: Fwd: Gone Too Soon | Stuff My Mom Forwards

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