Pink ribbons, pink tissue boxes, even pink toilet paper — every October brands give themselves a pink makeover to show their support for breast cancer research.
However, one woman is speaking out about how research efforts have to go beyond a pink ribbon on popular household items. Tracie Marie shared a photo on Facebook of what breast cancer means to her and, spoiler alert, it has nothing to do with a pink ribbon.
“Breast cancer is often very sexualized. Showing models with fake scars, beautiful bodies and breasts with the strap so perfectly dangling from her shoulder. That’s not what Breast cancer is. It’s CTs, surgeries, amputations, biopsies, MRIs, X-rays, radiation, chemo, IVs, blood tests, fear, worry, hate, anger, confusion, sadness, loneliness, medications, check ups, anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain. It’s so much more than a pink snickers bar because it ‘supports us!’,” she wrote.
Alongside a photo of her mastectomy scars, Marie also confirms what the products marked with a pink ribbon definitely don’t support.
“We do not receive free boob jobs. We have reconstruction. Expanders placed to stretch your skin to fit the implants, complications, tram flap surgeries, sometimes our bodies reject the implants, some choose to go flat, some reconstructions are amazing and look fabulous, some look completely deformed. However, in no way did any of us receive a free boob job. We amputated them and had foreign objects placed in our skin to resembles the breasts we once had. We tattoo our nipples on, we get prosthetic ones, or we go with out. But none of it was free,” she wrote.
While people are genuinely trying to help by purchasing products that feature the pink ribbon, Marie urges readers to reconsider their donation, finding a way to donate money to an organization that supports what is needed most – a cure.
“The majority of people believe that Breast Cancer is a pink ribbon, a pink Pom Pom, a pen with a pink ribbon, a tote with a pink ribbon, an encap at your local Walmart engaging you to be a ‘part of the cure,’” she said. “First, a hard reality, you are not being part of the cure, you’re just throwing your money away to propaganda, uniforms for NFL cheerleaders, and kiosk after kiosk with items from handbags to ziplock bags. It’s all a hoax. They are not trying to fight the cure. Most of their funding goes to advertisement, six figure CEO salaries. And when I asked for help, I wasn’t given any.”
Think Before You Pink is a project dedicated to raising awareness about the misuse of the pink ribbon. The project supports Marie’s message, confirming that often the pink ribbon is attached to a product without any intention of supporting breast cancer research.
“The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by any agency and does not necessarily mean it effectively combats the breast cancer epidemic,” Think Before You Pink told Scary Mommy.
Marie recommends supporting organizations that support cancer patients. While she suggests an organization dedicated to cancer research, the greatest lesson is that it’s important to research before you donate, dedicating time to find an organization that is transparent with their fundraising directives.
“If you want to do something to truly help. Donate to METAvivor it’s the best foundation who uses the money for what we need, a cure! And it doesn’t have to flash around a pink ribbon.”