Monday, June 11, 2012

Pink Envy...or Inspiration?

Despite May, 2012 being an incredible time for Melanoma Awareness, there was still a familiar pink tint throughout the month.  One of the more popular local television stations in Raleigh was a media sponsor for this year’s local Susan G. Komen Race for Cure held on June 9.  As a result, WRAL-TV would air promos between nearly every show in an effort to increase participation.  Many of you may recall that the Susan G. Komen group had a little controversy a few months ago, so the television station had its work cut out.  It was reported after the event (in a near full-page article in the paper) that the numbers were significantly down to “only” 16,000 participants.

Sixteen thousand people…in one race/walk…in one city!  Wow!

Many folks in the melanoma community are a little envious of the pink campaign.  While those who have been affected by melanoma struggle to get respect (it’s not “just skin cancer!”), awareness builds and funds pour into breast cancer research.  None of us want to take any of this away at all…cancer sucks, no matter the color.  But sometimes we in the melanoma world wish we’d get a little more recognition and notice.

But rather then stew in jealousy over Komen’s success, I suggest we gain inspiration.  This juggernaut of fund-raising started when Susan died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36.  Little sister Nancy (Goodman Brinker) “believed that Susan’s outcome might have been better if patients knew more about cancer and its treatments.”  Sound familiar?

Of course, back in 1980, there was no internet…there was no blogging…there were no websites.  Nancy Brinker hit the streets and sought out funding, donations and built the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation by 1982 the hard way.

Today, it’s easier to get the word out.  We do have the internet.  We do have Facebook, Twitter and other means of social interaction.  And we have our own versions of Nancy Brinker, developing ways to raise money and awareness in the name of a loved one or as part of their own battle with melanoma.  Great things are happening with regard to melanoma awareness and it needs to continue.

The next time you see pink…well, feel free to be a little envious (I know I will).  But don’t be jealous.  Instead…be inspired.  You may have serious disagreements with the politics or advertising philosophies of the foundation, but you can’t help but wish that one day, we’d have 16,000 people walking side-by-side in the fight against melanoma.  Maybe it takes not one large organization, but a band of small forces like us to accomplish the same goals.

We don’t need to make black the new pink…we simply need to make black as effective as pink.

(Note, to WRAL's credit, they aired many features during Melanoma Awareness Month, even a spot on tanning as recently as last week, so kudos to them. Now if only we could get them to sponsor an AIM Walk...)


  1. GREAT post, Al. I agree with everything you said.

    I LOVE the last line: "We don't need to make black the new pink...we simply need to make black as effective as pink." LOVE IT.

  2. Black and Pink go well together. Wouldn't it be nice if all the colors of cancer could unite. Cancer is cancer no matter how we look at it.

    Great post.

  3. I love this. You hit it head on. Thank you.