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Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Ehrenreich’

You may be wondering is there really a pink sea; Google it and see what comes up. The truth is there is no Pink Sea, but today is October 1st and you may be experiencing a Sea of Pink. Today begins Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The use of the color pink has brought enormous attention to the Breast Cancer community. It has become defining, creating a community of those diagnosed with breast cancer, those living beyond breast cancer, and their families.

I was in Houston in April at the annual conference of the Arts and Health Alliance. While I was in town walking the main road an army of pink passed me. They were in the midst of their annual Avon Walk for the Cure. Women, men, and children all wearing pink to show their support for the Breast Cancer community.

The color pink linked to the breast cancer community has created a link and a way for community members to show their connection to the community. It becomes more prominent this time of year when buildings change out their white bulbs for pink bulbs shining a pink glow against their buildings in support. Pink ribbons are in full bloom like a field of wild lavender. It’s truly amazing that an illness has gone beyond the diagnosis and has created a community of hope, inspiration, and education.

The breast cancer community has created a culture and that’s not an easy thing to do. They have brought together the medical community, the corporate community, and individuals for a common cause. We’ll see a month filled with news stories about mammograms, treatment updates, and news of new medications such as Perjeta (a drug given FDA approval this past week).

You may not be a fan of the pink culture. Barbara Ehrenreich, noted author, is anti-pink. On an NPR interview she was clear that she didn’t want to be buried with a pink Teddy Bear. She doesn’t want to be defined for having an illness. She may not want to be defined by the pink culture, but it has served many raising money and pressure to find a cure and new treatments.

It doesn’t matter if you support the pink culture. It does matter that you support those facing Breast Cancer and all other illnesses. Perhaps we can find ways for other illnesses to find a culture that will help make their need more notable!

Are you or a loved one facing Breast Cancer?  Looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

Want to heal through art?  Visit http://www.timetolivecreatively.com

Follow me on Twitter: @GregKatz2

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We all attribute meaning to words based on the context in our lives. The word survivor has been bestowed upon those who live with a chronic or life-threatening illness. However, the word “survivor”, often, also describes those who have been the victim of traumatic events like violence and natural disasters.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the bombing at last year’s Boston Marathon. There have been lots of interviews, television programming, and of course tributes to those who died in this horrific event, and an opportunity to celebrate the way the amazing city of Boston banned together.

This is why I was surprised when I was listening to an interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. Gross was interviewing noted author Barbara Ehrenreich about her new book. At one point in the interview Gross asked Ehrenreich about her 2001 diagnosis with breast cancer. The dialogue took a surprise turn in comparison to many who have been diagnosed with an illness; she was a rebel.

Ehrenreich started by dismissing the “pink” movement as it relates to breast cancer. She’s determined not to die with a pink teddy bear in her arms. She didn’t want to be associated with a specific movement feeling that it’s an insult to the integrity of people facing illness. Whether or not you believe it’s a positive depends on your own identity issues, need to belong to something bigger than yourself, or the opportunity to support an organization that provides support, screening, and research in the breast cancer arena. This dialogue was not the surprise; it was her discussion about not wanting to be called a “survivor”.

Terry Gross dug deeper into the anti-survivor rhetoric by asking Ehrenreich to express her disapproval of being called a “survivor”. Ehrenreich shared that she believes the word “survivor” implies that someone was courageous, brave, and successful beat the disease. Her problem is that she feels that it’s dishonoring all those people who were equally courageous and brave, but whose bodies and treatment regimen didn’t match for the positive. She doesn’t want to diminish any of the positive qualities those who face an illness exhibit.

So is there a difference between surviving and being a “survivor”? What are your ideas on being a survivor? Please share your experience in the comments section below.

For more information on living with chronic and/or life-threatening illness visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

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