Monday, 3 October 2011

The Pink machine

I've thought long and hard about this issue. The pink ribbon machine. Hi-jacked by many business owners, cancer fundraising is big business.

Why is it that people are reduced to: Cross-border surgery

Cancer patients are forced to mortgage their houses to pay for advanced U.S. techniques Canada won't fund

Why isn't more research money put into these causes? Because cancer has been hijacking research dollars, and many have donor fatigue. I read the book Pink Ribbons, Inc., now a documentary.

Mom in 2005
How running will find a cure is nonsensical. Those who do the fundraising claim it 'raises awareness', and encourages fundraising. To what end? However, where do the funds go, in each organization? The language of cancer ought to change.

Many who are facing cancer do not want to be labelled fighters. Mr. Layton engaged medical interventions to get rid of cancer. We truly must pay attention to language, listen, and understand what it means to those with cancer.

Certainly, my mother misunderstood her treatment and potential for cure. She knew the buzz words: radiation, chemotherapy, but did not ask questions or understand the truth about chemo: it killed her. You can read about our journey here, this is an excerpt from my book:
 The oncologist: back to Toronto

--August 17, 2005

"Highly revelatory—at times shocking—Pink Ribbons, Inc. challenges the commercialization of the breast cancer movement, its place in U.S. culture, and its influence on ideas of good citizenship, responsible consumption, and generosity. "

The author, Samantha King, is an associate professor of physical and health education and women’s studies at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario. It is well-written, and an interesting read. It is, indeed, shocking, the amount of money sunk into 'research', with no promises of support or delivery of programs. If you donate, you must be sure to check out the background of the sponsors.

I would caution you in entering the 'race for the cure'. There are questions as to how much money goes to research, and how much should go to supporting those with cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society provides a range of services, for example: a lodge in which to stay, peer support, volunteer drivers, etc.). They are transparent in their financial statements.

Helping those with cancer – watch the video

Our information and support services help cancer patients and their caregivers by reducing anxiety and increasing hope. In this video healthcare professionals speak about the benefits of the services and former clients share how these services helped them through their cancer journey.
The Susan B. Komen foundation has raised more than a billion dollars. They charge big bucks to participate in their machine. The disease is being used for profit. Every marketing strategist in North America has at least thought about tying their product up in a pink ribbon.

Breast cancer has become the poster child of cause-related marketing campaigns - people walk, run and shop for 'the cure'. Each year, millions of dollars are raised in the name of breast cancer, but where does this money go and what does it actually achieve?

Sisters know first-hand cancer can be beaten  
However, through the experience they learned the disease is genetic and their family members are carriers, leaving them worried about the future for their children. That’s part of why they decided to come out to raise funds to help find a cure.

The recent Ottawa Run For The Cure raised $1.5 million dollars. How is it that this kind of money cannot find a cure? I believe we must put more money into prevention, treatment and services. We know how to reduce the risk of cancer, if not prevent it:
eat a balanced diet (mostly plants), reduce fats and alcohol, exercise, get enough sleep, manage stress. Yet marathon runners contract cancer, as well as those who do all of the above.
These sisters know that cancer is genetically heritable. How, then, could they have prevented it? Perhaps we need more genetic counselling. Perhaps those taking expensive, extreme in vitro fertilization should have the same counselling, rather than spending thousands of dollars to make a body get pregnant unnaturally.

Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a feature documentary that shows how the devastating reality of breast cancer, which marketing experts have labeled a "dream cause," has become obfuscated by a shiny, pink story of success.

For more information on this film, please visit Pink Ribbons, Inc. page or send an email
Pink RibbonsInc. premieres at TIFF to a packed house | blog

12 Sep 2011


Olga said...

I had just heard of this book the other day and know I will have to read it.

Kay L. Davies said...

What a beautiful photo of your mother. I'm sure you miss her a lot. I know I miss mine. She had colon cancer, twice, but died of pneumonia in 2007.
I agree, the Canadian Cancer Society is the right place for Canadians to donate. It just isn't glamorous, high-profile, or pink.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

EG CameraGirl said...

Interesting post!

Christine said...

I always give to the Canadian Cancer Society and some would say even they are too big and over administrated.

Powell River Books said...

My father passed from cancer back in 1991. We have lots of cancer in our family, not sure why. He had radiation and chemo, but I believe it was the intensive radiation that caused his internal bleeding at the end. He gambled that the aggressive approach would give him the best options, but in the end it made the end come very quick. He was diagnosed in November and was gone by January. At least he didn't suffer long. - Margy

Jenn Jilks said...

It's important, Margy, to ask the oncologist questions. Questions to ask your physician

Jenn Jilks said...

My mom gambled the very same thing. Thing is they don't do research on 70-yr.olds. The pharmaceuticals do not pay for this.
It reduces quality of life and shortens it at the same time.
My condolences, Margy.