October is always my crazy, busy month. Or, at least, it has been ever since I had breast cancer. The brand marketer in me knows that since October is the month designated for breast cancer awareness there will be a flurry of activity as everyone jumps on the band-wagon. And, sure enough, when October hits my book sales climb, speaking engagements occur, and social media is more active.
This year was no different as I went running around the mid-west speaking and signing books in October. As I shared pictures of the events on social media, I received some comments asking why I was participating in pink events. For many, celebrating pink seems to trivialize breast cancer. I understand that. May I say, my breast cancer was far from trivial!
The marketer in me understands that if Pink October stimulates awareness of breast cancer, a few things might happen; funding might get to the breast cancer researchers and patients might actually think of and get their mammograms.
So, what should we do? Pink October is not a cure. It is not simply funky tutus and an opportunity to party. During one of the events, someone who was also speaking that night shared that over 38% of women do not get a mammogram. Wow! During another speech, I learned of research studies identifying how to prevent metastases of HER2 breast cancer.
It occurred to me, that in fact, that is what Pink October is all about. It is not about being trivial, it is about being accessible. It is a symbolic representation of something that women must pay attention to: breast cancer, For those who have not had it, breast cancer is a big scary concept. Pink is not. Perhaps because of the wearing of pink this year, next year the number of those women not getting a mammogram will drop. Perhaps because of a pink event, a little more funding will make it’s way into the researcher’s budget.
I don’t know that there is any way to measure the impact of Pink October. I can only hope that a little pink is a unifying rallying cry against cancer. That in the end, pink shouts to the world that breast cancer is anything but trivial.