Tuesday, October 02, 2012


October is breast cancer awareness month.  If you weren't already aware of this, you would have eventually figured it out as you were inundated with pink merchandise.  The primary risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older, and we can't change either of those.

As I've alluded, this year my mom has been fighting breast cancer.  She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer about a year ago.   Triple negative breast cancer is a subset of breast cancer that is a bit more aggressive than others.  In my mom's case treatment has been a series of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  It's an ugly disease, which makes that cheerful pink ribbon seem inappropriate in some ways.  More research is needed to better understand triple negative breast cancer (and all breast cancers, really) and to continue to work toward less invasive treatments and ultimately a way to prevent breast cancer altogether.  Hopefully with further research and innovation, Scout won't have to know anything about it.

That's the simplistic version of the story of this past year, but I don't want to over-share.  There's another component that I'll maybe write about some other time.

My family has formed a team for Des Moines' Race for the Cure at the end of the month.  Team Chemosabes.  We'd appreciate your donation. Any amount is appreciated?  $5, $10, $20, $100... you get the point.

In return for your donation, I will send you some mail thanking you for your donation.  And then there's always karma.

Our team shirts will be a variation on this.
The Keep Calm mantra may be getting tired, but it feels so appropo.

Seventy-five percent of proceeds from local Race to the Cure events go back into the local community supporting resources for those fighting breast cancer.

A note about the Komen Foundation...

So when we started thinking about Race for the Cure, I had to pause.  The Susan G. Komen organization is front and center in "pinkwashing" (the promotion of consumer goods by plastering pink ribbons on them even though there may not be any support of reputable charities), but products tied to Komen are at least putting money back into the cause (in the last 15 years or so Yoplait alone has donated over $25 million to Komen).  And then there was the debacle last year when Komen temporarily stopped grant funding to Planned Parenthood.  Komen provides grants to Planned Parenthood and in return, Planned Parenthood pays for breast exams and mammogram referrals.  Komen did see the utter error of this political decision, but still, it left a bad taste in my mouth.  And then there's the fact that as a mega charity they have considerable administrative expenses that take away from funding of actual research, advocacy and support...

But when I looked closer, I decided that the benefits of Komen far outweigh the criticisms.  A significant portion of their funds (estimated at 80%-ish) go back into the community to fund research, public health education, and health screenings.  And above all, they raise awareness for a disease where early detection is a key component in positive outcomes.

1 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Meagan @ The Clanahan Fam said...

There are very few things I hate more than cancer. Especially breast cancer after Matt's mom went through it as well just 3 short years ago. Praying positive thoughts for your mom's full recovery and being cancer-free. And definitely positive thoughts that our daughters will know nothing of breast cancer. Supporting you guys from Houston : )

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