Thursday, April 21, 2011

Can Two Causes Be Supported?

A couple of weeks ago, I made a deadline to make my new prototype “Black is the New Pink” t-shirt.  My family and I were planning to walk in the annual MS Walk for Multiple Sclerosis in support of my father-in-law who has this condition.  A comment was made that I was trying to overshadow one cause with another…trying to trump MS with a t-shirt about melanoma awareness.  I didn’t see it that way.
I was accused of the same thing back in October of 2006 when I wrote a blog called “Not Just Breast Cancer Awareness…but ALL Cancer Awareness.”  I commented on how the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness surrounded us, but so many other cancers existed that also needed awareness.  My mother died of lung cancer, my brother had a bout of melanoma (I never thought it would return with a vengeance) and I had underwent two biopsies on my prostate due to a cancer scare…but there were no ribbons or campaigns to make others as aware of these “flavors” of cancer like there was for breast cancer.  Some people, including my brother, accused me of being jealous.  As I look back, I think it was more envy than jealousy.
There’s no doubt that the pink ribbon campaign has been very successful.  I can’t imagine anyone wearing or seeing pink without being reminded of the campaign.  And while not every cause can have such a following, I wished that people could become as aware of these other cancers.  Being aware of so many needs would make a person crazy I suppose…so we tend to focus on one.  Or sometimes two.
When I was working on my t-shirt, my thought was that it IS possible to convey one’s interest in more than one cause.  To display a t-shirt for Melanoma Awareness while walking in support of MS was my idea of supporting both at once.  Why can’t those walking also be enlightened to wear sunscreen as they do?
And then irony struck today.  There’s a person I’ve mentioned here before…she goes by “Melanoma Girl.”  I discovered her story and website while doing my own research, and felt compelled to reach out and ride her coat tails a bit as she blogged and shared so much about Melanoma Awareness.    She enthusiastically invited me along for the ride and I attribute the surprise following and success of this blog to her.  She’s done so much through different campaigns and t-shirt sales to promote Melanoma Awareness…her efforts continue to be an inspiration to what my campaign strives.
Anyhow, Melanoma Girl…or MG as she calls herself, announced last week that she had some “funky nodules” to be looked at, and had a biopsy done.  I, along with many of her readers were anxiously awaiting word…hoping above hope that her melanoma had not returned (as it had to my brother).  Today, she shared the news… 
“OK - so here is the news. Good and bad. The Good - no melanoma. The Bad - breast cancer. Can you believe it?  Still processing myself.  I said to the doc - breast cancer? MG can't have breast cancer! How am I going to get both on one T-shirt???? ;-)” 
You’ve got to love her humor and good spirit.
The good news is that the pink ribbon HAS been very successful and so much has been accomplished towards breast cancer awareness and research.  As a result, perhaps MG’s prognosis will be encouraging…much more encouraging than if she was re-diagnosed with melanoma.  And now she has a chance to wear that t-shirt in the MS walk…or in her case, perhaps the Susan B Komen Walk for the Cure.  Her mission has been to “create a local and national community, and partner with as many people and organizations as possible to help raise awareness about melanoma.”  I don’t see where this needs to stop.  It’s her time to ride the coat tail and partner with an incredibly successful campaign, and make her own success even brighter.  And as she does, she’ll continue to inspire little bloggers like myself to keep up the campaign.
She has a tough fight ahead as all do that face any type of cancer.  But in the little bit I'd read about her, she's tougher.
My thoughts and prayers…and respect…go out to MG.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry to hear about MG's additional diagnosis. I too have had both Breast Cancer and Melanoma this past year. Just as I had finished chemo for bc, I decided it was a good time to have a full-body skin cancer screening since I was hairless and it was easy to see every inch of my body. The dermatologist walked in at the beginning of my appt. and said, "We'll have to watch you very closely - there are reports out that bc patients are more prone to melanoma and vice versa." Long story short - she removed a mole from my neck that proved to be Melanoma.
    I DO believe that we can support both causes/multiple causes!
    Thank you for all you do to raise awareness about Melanoma and your concern for all cancer awareness!