I love the 1939 American musical fictional, classic film, The Wizard of Oz. In the jungle, lions are proclaimed to be “The Kings of Beasts”, but in our more cultivated territory, we aren’t as hasty to make a roar to rule our space, particularly when our inner belief system makes us feel as if we are somehow inadequate and irrelevant.
Courage is not a deficiency we lack, nor is it ever depleted. Courage is not something that appears in times of emergencies or moments of need; neither is it something that can be “handed” over to you through a lesson. Courage is cultivated from within and appears to be more of a presence than a character. For many breasts cancer survivors both present and past, courage is and was indeed an essential and amenable way of life.
Globally, every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with the most common disease in the world today, we know as breast cancer. Every year about 1 in 8 women in the United States alone will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In this year alone, an estimated 207,090 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer; of these statistics, from age 20 to 30 (1 in 2,000); age 30 to 39 (1 in 229); age 40 to 49 (1 in 68); age 50 to 59 (1 in 37); and from age 60 to 69 (1 in 26). About 39,840 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1991. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening and increased awareness. Surprisingly, about 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. In Western countries, 89% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive 5 years after their diagnosis.
Every October is ardently dedicated to the annual international health campaign known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or NBCAM. This month, NBCAM celebrates 25 years of dedication to the awareness, education and empowerment of this cause. This worldwide campaign offers information, research and support to those affected by breast cancer, as well as provides preventive attentiveness to others and in efforts to finding a cure. In 1985, NBCAM was founded by AstraZeneca, which manufactures breast cancer drugs Arimidex and Tamoxifen. Its’ primary goal has been to promote mammography as the most effective method in the fight against breast cancer. In 1993, Senior VP of the Estee Lauder Companies, Evelyn Lauder, founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the Pink Ribbon as its symbol. And in the fall of 1991, Pink Ribbons were handed out in New York City by the Susan G. Komen Foundation in its very first race for breast cancer survivors.
The first Race for the Cure was held in Dallas, Texas in October of 1983, where more than 800 people gathered to participate. To date, more than 2 million participants attend organized events, from one to two to three day fundraising walks, to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. From the United States to Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, UK, Puerto Rico, France, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Portugal, Ireland back to Canada, women all over the world are simultaneously engaged in this pink passion of awareness, empowerment and life. In addition, a number of campaigns including Ride to Empower, a worldwide destination bike ride with fully-supported route lengths ranging from 100 miles to less than 32 miles and began in 2008, raises money for Breast Cancer Network of Strength’s programs and continued research. Enthusiastically, the National Football League promotes breast cancer awareness as well during the month of October by incorporating pink on its websites, graphics, and advertisements. Players show their support by wearing pink gloves, cleats, captains patches, and other apparel during the seasonal games.
The Pink Ribbon has been identified, associated and embossed to express support for those who are diagnosed with Breast Cancer since the early to late 20th Century. Not surprisingly, our reaction to color is almost instantaneous and has a profound impact on the choices we make every day. With its tranquillizing effect, the color of pink and its energy signifies universal love and positively provides feelings of acceptance, happiness, tenderness, caring, self-worth and a calm abiding. Its effects can increase the blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat and encourages action and confidence in us.
I began to fanatically fall in love with the color pink about seven years ago, when my sister friend Dyan Adams illustrated to me how to flaunt its’ true exquisiteness – and also revealed her fear – flight – and faith in overcoming her diagnosis of breast cancer.
I was merely amazed by her dynamic spirit of resilience and determination to battle the disease with a strong sense of certainty. Her favorite truism was, “I don’t hang out with fear; I roll out with faith.”
Dyan was a respected DC make-up artist, esthetician, mother, friend to all who knew her, and steadfast breast cancer advocate. She was both a hero and a messenger. Prior to and through her diagnosis and advocacy, she discovered her passion and her purpose – to help save those who could not save themselves; to spread the communication about the importance of early detection. I never recall her being reluctant to share her story, her faith, her home and even the blemishes from her mastectomy with family, friends and strangers alike. Everyone was someone to Dyan. She honored her friendships and cherished new acquaintances and was surrounded by love. Because of Dyans courage and conscious conviction, hundreds of women’s lives have been saved. On January 9, 2007, Dyan tranquilly spread her wings and took her next flight. I tenderly keep her magnetism breathing, as well as my beloved Aunt Christine and many others who have passed on over the years. Regrettably and just yesterday, my Godmother said farewell to a very dear family friend of whom she lost to breast cancer.
I find an influence of healing in pink. It is beautiful, relaxing and meditative and demonstrates healing of the heart and unconditional love. Pearls of Poise LLC has preferred pink pearls to exemplify the girls youth etiquette & civility program, ages 6-9. Just like little girls, pink is soft, bright, and magical. My ambition is to inspire little princesses to value their courageous personalities regardless of their existent and onward journeys, to honor their spiritual self, and to share and persevere through their pure soul connection here on earth.
Like the Wizards gift to the cowardly lion, God grants us inner courage to battle the things we fear the most. And just like the cowardly lion, who was ready to face danger even though he was ultimately terrified – we acknowledge that with courage, we can ease on down the pink brick road and be brave after all. Today, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
Love, encouragement, and awareness for your Tuesday.