Wednesday, 20 October 2010

If it’s October it must be.....

Let’s knock Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As regularly as the month of pink comes around so does the criticism. Less sexy cancers, a rather sickly pink. As my colleagues are sick of hearing me say “if I had a money tree then we wouldn’t need to raise money”. Until that happens we will do whatever it takes within what is acceptable to raise the money. The research won’t happen otherwise – the government isn’t going to fund it.

We absolutely understand that, for some who are going through treatment or have just been diagnosed or lost someone, all this pink stuff can be hard to deal with. On the other hand there are many women who have said to me that it is an opportunity to do something challenging (check out 500 women in muddy Hyde Park doing Pink Aerobics – many of whom have had breast cancer) or something silly to forget the daily grind of chemotherapy with the side-effects it brings; or to remember Mum or sister or colleague and all the time know that the end result is research which might change that picture in the future.

I have never claimed that the cause I espouse is better than any other – each to his own. The huge popularity of BCAM is that so many have been touched by this disease – whether personally or family, friend or colleague and they all appreciate that the money raised is vital.

We took inspiration from the AIDS campaigners of the eighties. All those women who wouldn’t talk about breasts let alone cancer suddenly realised that if people, and very famous people, could talk about contracting AIDS and therefore coming out about their sexuality or intravenous drug use maybe talking about breast cancer wasn’t such a big deal.

I had lots of opportunities in the early 90s to complain about the very high profile that AIDS had where the incidence in this country was very low compared to breast cancer – I didn’t – just watched and learned.

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