In which I stand for something and face getting voted off the island.

>> Friday, May 21, 2010

I usually try to keep any cancer related posts on my caring bridge page but this one is a little different and I think may reach a new crowd here, one that really seems to need to be reached. Over there, it's more about me or fellow cancer warriors and well-I think we get it. And a warning-this is a bit of a snarky moment...but for a few good reasons.

Now I have to be honest real quick, about something that definitely would be better understood over there. But to be real, and honest. I'll admit this one little thing and hope that in a way you may understand. It's the color pink. Which is one of my favorite colors. More specifically the pink ribbon-the one that is used for breast cancer awareness. While all cancers suck (there's no polite way to really say that sorry), those who have been afflicted with another type understand about the pink ribbon. And how it's a bit, um, overused. In all fairness it is for a good cause. But again to be honest, because all cancers suck and are not at all discriminating in who they affect it would be nice if other cancers got the same amount of attention and support brought about like the pink ribbon does for breast cancer. I think I've seen the pink ribbon on just about any item you can think of and I imagine that everyone knows what that represents. However, unless you or someone close to you has been affected by another type of cancer, you probably have no clue what color ribbon represents each cancer. There really isn't a problem with awareness and fundraising for any cancer, it's just that all cancers need to be recognized and contributed too. I'd just love to see the great efforts of the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness spread to other colors for other types. All people owe it to themselves to be able to recognize possible symptoms of any particular cancer. All cancers deserve to have fundraising and research and outreach. So that's my little snark about the pink ribbon.

But my irritation this week is actually in support of breast cancer awareness and particularly the efforts made by The Susan G. Komen Foundation the leaders in raising awareness, money and research for breast cancer. The foundation tries to reach as many women as possible including those that may not have insurance or a family doctor. Such as the women that may utilize Planned Parenthood for all of their health care including female care. In fact for those women, PP may be the first line of detection for those who otherwise may not be able to receive other forms of care. If you happen to be one who is against health care reform then I would say that PP is an organization that is helping reach those who may not otherwise be reached especially without health care reform. SGK donates funds to PP that are directly earmarked to be used for breast care including mammograms and other exams that could potentially catch a life threatening disease as early as possible. Makes sense to me that SGK would want to include PP in their efforts as this is all about saving lives.

However, PP is seen by some by only one thing-abortion. Some people are not able to see that there is far more good health practices available at PP including breast cancer detection and treatments than there is abortion. I'm in no way turning this into a pro-life or pro-choice argument. I only would like to point out that as I've mentioned the vast majority of the efforts at PP are for positive health care. According to the PP annual report only 3% of the services offered are abortion service. Yes, ideally that would be better at 0%, but that is not reality. If anything PP promotes ways to avoid an unintended pregnancy and potentially avoid abortions. For those that believe PP actually promotes abortions, I ask you to look at the numbers and use some critical thinking skills. The big picture here is that PP offers 97% of services again for good health related things, including cancer screening and prevention. Again SGK is the leading foundation for providing all things breast cancer related and again any money given to PP is specifically used for just that. Nothing else.

So you're probably wondering where this is all coming from? Earlier this week a blogger who's target audience is fairly large and targets women, took a stand-against the SGK foundation being advertised on her blog because they contribute money to PP who does offer abortions, a sad but legal option in our country. However, I can't reiterate it enough-the money SGK gives to PP goes towards breast health only. It does not enable more abortions to happen. End of story.

I do believe that it was this blogger's right to choose what she wants advertised or not advertised on her blog especially because I believe this blogger's ad income is now her family's sole source of income. One of the problems that I do have is that SGK is only one of many organizations that supports PP. While taking a stand against an organization who again is the leader of breast cancer support and thus helping to save many lives, there are an astounding number of companies that also support PP. Many of these companies develop and sell products that could be considered fun or even luxury items. This same blogger has decided to not boycott the companies that make these items, regularly uses and enjoys these items and by purchasing the said items obviously contributes to the overall income-some of which goes to PP. Over the past few days I have just been trying to grasp this blogger's line of thinking. Why take a stand against a foundation that's sole purpose is to help save lives but not take a stand against a company who makes photo editing programs that the said blogger admits to "utterly obsessed with editing my photographs" and publicly acknowledges the maker of her preferred editing programs as those made by a company that also supports PP financially?

I am having trouble comprehending this line of thought and action. It seems to be one of convenience at the least. At the worst it's possibly turning away the support of the many readers of the said blog and their further support of SGK. Many readers did express that this information was new to them and thanked the blogger for making them aware so that they could discontinue their support of SGK-even those who were avid supporters up until this time. What a shame! And what a disservice! Not only is that less support to a foundation that helps to save lives but also these same women may one day find themselves diagnosed with breast cancer and may feel so strongly against this foundation now that they themselves may choose to not take the help of SGK in saving their own lives or the lives of their family members.

What good can possibly come from this? I realize that speaking up and out against this will probably not put me in good favor with some. However, this has been weighing on my heart and mind for a few days. As a healthcare professional, the survivor of a blood cancer, and a woman I feel I need to speak out. As the blogger in question stated herself "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything". I believe those to be very wise words and I hope that many will see this whole debacle in a new light.

And you know what? In the spirit of raising awareness, I think I may share this on my caring bridge site anyway!


Tracy May 21, 2010 at 7:02 AM  

This makes me so sad how polarizing things can get. Ugh - I have lots more to say but have screaming baby. I agree with you 100% though my dear.

MY LIFE WITH BOYS! May 21, 2010 at 7:56 AM  

I'm with you all the way! I think this 'bold blogger' needs to go down the list of supporters of PP and ban them all. I don't think that will put food on the table though!

Moderate Means May 21, 2010 at 8:17 AM  

I think this is something that happens a lot, not just to SGK. At work, we have regular donation days where we have the option of dressing casual for $1 a piece ($1 for jeans, $1 for sneakers, etc) and the charity changes each time. A few months ago, it was United Way. A woman near me raised a huge stink and was a loud, vocal voice complaining about the choice and explaining to everyone that United Way supports abortions. I asked her, "Do you realize all the GOOD that United Way does?" but to her it didn't matter.

That said, I do believe that everyone has the right to donate to the charity of their choice. And I think that telling others about how wonderful that charity is can help the cause (Go JDRF!!) But to spend time telling other people to NOT support a charity? I don't like that, either. I'm not familiar with the blog you linked so I didn't see the post (and certainly don't plan to bother looking around for it!) but it is a shame that she was able to convince people to change their support.

It's a sad thing to see...

Lysana May 21, 2010 at 9:41 AM  

You make some really good points.

I admit to not knowing much about PP other than that they support abortions. You've given me some very interesting information.

I have not seen the comments to which you're referring about the blogger in questions's new "stand" - in fact, I haven't seen anything recently from her, which makes me wonder if my blogger blog roll is messed up somehow.

I do recall seeing the comments in her comments section on SGK and that they provide money to PP, but I also saw later comments stating that that money is - as you have mentioned - earmarked for breast cancer prevention and treatment. Therefore, although I am against elective abortions (meaning, basically, the abortion of a healthy embryo or fetus for the purpose of birth control), I do not have a problem with continuing to support SGK, because their money is not being used for abortions, it's being used to provide an important service that, as you said, might not reach many women otherwise.

I also think you make some good points about the...apparent hypocracy of the blogger in question, and I can only hope that she simply has not done her research (although, by now, I'm sure it has been done for her). I hope that soon she will come to a consistent conclusion about the products she chooses to support.

Thanks for posting this! :)

Beth May 21, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

Well written! I agree that it should be the blogger's choice who advertises on her blog, but it is completely irresponsible to turn so many readers away from SGK while continuing to promote for-profit companies who also donate to PP.

Anonymous,  May 21, 2010 at 10:59 AM  

Very, very well written post. Kudos to you!

tarzan May 21, 2010 at 4:35 PM  

Thank you so much for taking a stand and bringing this to other's attention.... I receive political "fwd's" almost on a daily basis and I would venture to guess that over 80% of them are outright LIES about one thing or another which only causes huge numbers of people to become upset at the wrong thing. There is so much untruth being spread around. I too agree with everything you brought to light and only hope and pray that some of us taking a stand on the truth, some of the hatred and misinformation will stop.

I join you in urging everyone to PLEASE research and learn the "whole story" before making a bad decision or allowing the radical fears grow.

By the way my co-friend in the cancer battle, I too wish every kind of cancer could get the attention and support the "pink ribbon" people do... more power to them, but geez, must that leave the rest of us out?

Pink Ribbon June 10, 2010 at 1:52 AM  

There are several groups across the country working on raising awareness, prevention and gathering funds for research to end the disease. The most popular way to show support for the victims is by wearing the pink ribbon or a pink cap or t-shirt.. You can also stick the pink ribbon on your car or your work cubicle; just about anyplace where somebody will see it and think about getting a checkup.

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