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While I usually try to limit the depth of thoughts on this blog to my opinions on wool or period dramas, there’s something else that’s been bothering me for a time…

If you’re a female with female friends, you might be seeing this once or twice (or twenty times) within the next month on facebook:

First, I want to make a few things clear:

  • Knowledge is power and I do not wish anyone to be ignorant of the existence of breast cancer, or any kind of cancer.
  • I pray for those who are experiencing it and for their families.
  • I support cancer research, education, and prevention.
  • Several loved ones of mine have experienced this disease in various forms.   Each story is different, but with one common theme: cancer is terrifying.
  • I know that while it is terrifying, those battling it still want to have fun just like any other person on the planet.

Why does that harmless little facebook message bother me?  Am I just being a stick in the mud?  Am I suffering from BCFS? Am I denying that last point and trying to steal any lightheartedness from a cancer patient’s life?

I don’t believe so.  (Well…maybe there is a little bit of BCFS.)  Aside from the message’s distinct chain letter feel, the implication that only women get breast cancer, and the obsession with making breast cancer awareness oh-so-coy-and-flirty, I can’t help but feel that:

  • We are already steeped in an “awareness” culture–which may not be a good thing.
  • This game and others like it are completely devoid of any kind of useful facts or information.
  • Saying “BANANA” probably won’t raise any kind of awareness.

Please know that this truly isn’t meant to be a criticism of those who are playing along or anyone who ever wears pink.  This is just why I can’t participate.  And I hope people will consider these things before they post their next mysterious facebook status.  And, if they still feel like this is the thing they should do, I say go for it.   But for those who would like a different way to help, these are just a few ideas:

  • Donate money directly to a cancer research program you trust.
  • Donate time, whether it’s volunteering to help with programs or simply spending some one-on-one time with a patient.
  • Give them handmade gifts.  (The little things help, too!)
  • Help out a family who has a member battling cancer.
  • Learn, share, listen.

These are, of course, very general ideas.  Once you start your own search, you’ll find a millions ways to help.