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Pink Ribbons and Public Awareness
Submitted by Alayne Keough, social justice activist and breast cancer survivor.
A handsome, middle-aged man walked quietly into the cafe and sat down. Before he ordered, he couldn't help but notice a group of younger men at the table next to him. It was obvious they were making fun of something about him, and it wasn't until he remembered he was wearing a small pink ribbon on the lapel of his suit that he became aware of what the joke was all about.
The man brushed off the reaction as ignorance, but the smirks began to get to him. He looked one of the rude men square in the eye, placed his hand beneath the ribbon and asked, quizzically, "This?" With that the men all began to laugh out loud.
The man he addressed said, as he fought back laughter, "Hey, sorry man, but we were just commenting on how pretty your pink ribbon looks against your blue jacket!"
The middle-aged man calmly motioned for the joker to come over to his table, and invited him to sit down. The guy obliged. The middle-aged man said, "I wear this ribbon to bring awareness about breast cancer. I wear it in my mother's honor."
"Oh, sorry dude. She died of breast cancer?"
"No, she didn't. She's alive and well. But her breasts nourished me as an infant, and were a soft resting place for my head when I was scared or lonely as a little boy. I'm very grateful for my mother's breasts, and her health."
"Umm," the stranger replied, "Yeah."
"And I wear this ribbon to honor my wife", the middle aged man went on.
"And she's okay, too?" the other guy asked.
"Oh, yes. She's fine. Her breasts have been a great source of loving pleasure for both of us, and with them she nurtured and nourished our beautiful daughter 23 years ago. I am grateful for my wife's breasts, and for her health."
"Uh huh. And I guess you wear it to honor your daughter, also?"
"No. It's too late to honor my daughter by wearing it now. My daughter died of breast cancer one month ago. She thought she was too young to have breast cancer, so when she accidentally noticed a small lump, she ignored it. She thought that since it wasn't painful, it must not be anything to worry about."
Shaken and ashamed, the now sober stranger said, "Oh, man, I'm sorry mister."
"So, in my daughter's memory, too, I proudly wear this little ribbon, which allows me the opportunity to enlighten others. Now, go home and talk to your wife and your daughters, your mother and your friends."
"And here," the middle-aged man reached in his pocket and handed the other man a little pink ribbon. The guy looked at it, slowly raised his head and asked, "Can ya help me put it on?"
Medical statistics show that cancer is a leading cause of death among Canadians, after heart disease. March is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is a major killer of Canadian women, and women over 40 are considered especially at risk.
But the disease can be beaten as treatment and cures are available with early detection. Do regular breast self-exams and have annual mammograms if you are a woman over the age of 40. And encourage those women you love to do the same.
The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552 Fax: 604-267-3342