Well Being

Breast Cancer Survivor Explains Why She Hates Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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breast cancer survivor hates octoberIn case you haven't heard, it's October. The month of pumpkin spice freakouts, Halloween, and also the month that breast cancer awareness is given a national spotlight. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, pink ribbons (or just the color pink in general) dominate our cultural landscape – from NFL gear to numerous charity walks and runs, America ramps up the breast cancer message like professional baseball players on steroids.

That's not to say awareness is a bad thing. But let's be honest, here. We are so bombarded by the constant message of awareness that we don't really pause to think about how some actual breast cancer survivors feel about a month-long, pink-splashed crusade dedicated to their own personal hell.

Survivor Leah Gabriel Nurik wrote a moving op-ed piece in the Washington Post about her feelings regarding the month, and it's eye-opening. She writes:

“Cancer gives you gray.


So, why pink ribbons, pink bracelets, pink T-shirts, pink wrappers and inspiring smiling photos of women walking together, holding one another’s waists and smiling broadly from ear to ear?


These things remind me of happiness, babies and cotton candy. They do not conjure an image of a grown woman staring down death, swearing that she will kill herself before it kills her.”


Nurik goes on to illustrate that, to her, her disease has been romanticized and dressed up in a pretty pink package. And you know what? I kind of agree with her. I'm not dumb—I know awareness equals money which equals research and studies and maybe even one day a potential cure. But to read Nurik's account is to reflect, even fleetingly, what this dip-dyed month looks like through the eyes of someone whose cancer has taken away definitive plans, the black and white, of life.

Let's all listen to her message.