Think pink: the importance of breast cancer week

Samuel Keimweiss

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When I walked into my history class on Thursday, I was shocked. Of the 16 people in my class, seven of them were wearing a shade of pink. Even my teacher, Dr. Link, was wearing a pink dress shirt. But, I am happy to say that I stood out, wearing my little sister’s pink robe. We were all wearing pink for an amazing reason; October 15-19th is Pink Week, a week in which we celebrate all the warriors who have battled and are battling against breast cancer. Thursday, in particular, is Mammogram Day, a day which emphasizes the importance of mammograms, a process that will consistently identify breast cancer and save lives.

Pink Week is a wonderful time of year, when the school annually gets together in support of breast cancer research. It is a beautiful to see so many people band together in service of a great cause, and personally it warms my heart. Each year, I am amazed at the love that the community shows this week, and, as vice president of the Cancer Awareness Club, this year is especially important. We have been working since the beginning of the school year to make this week as pink and perfect as it can possibly be, so to see the school come together and put so much passion into this week is absolutely amazing.

Pink Week is the center point of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which has been a positive movement for change since it was started in 1985 by the American Cancer Society (ACS). The movement has vaulted breast cancer to national importance, with over $6 billion raised in the fight against each year. This is extremely important, as Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. In fact, 15% of all cancer diagnoses are breast cancer and 250,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the US alone (as of 2016).

This money has not gone to waste, and 89% of all people diagnosed with breast cancer now survive, and new techniques to treat or detect breast cancer are being developed at a constant rate. However, all is not well and good. Despite the high survival rate, 40,000 people still died of the disease in the US in 2016, one-third of all cured patients had their cancer come back, and of the most severe cases, when cancer has already metastasized, only 20 percent survive.

There are three things to take away from this. One, this cause in incredibly important. Almost everyone’s life is touched by breast cancer. This is a cause that hits close to home, so it shouldn’t be ignored. Second, donate. There is a process to this; with such a large industry, it is hard to know where to donate. The correct move is to donate directly to research. Although lots of people survive breast cancer, we are still a long way from finding a cure.

Donating to research is a good way to know that your money is being put towards finding that cure, but donating to one of the hundreds of organizations that fight breast cancer could mean that your money is going toward paying telemarketers or organizers, or even lining the pockets of the leaders of that organization. We, as the leaders of the Cancer Awareness Club, are well aware of this and have made sure that all of the money that we raise is donated directly to the Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, where 97 percent of all money donated goes toward their initiatives.

Finally, support the fight against breast cancer. The Cancer Awareness Club has put a huge emphasis on wearing pink this year. We advocated for all the sports teams to wear pink for spirit this week, and we sent out multiple mass emails to the school reminding students to wear pink on Thursday. We got performances and pink donuts in the library, and we wore pink ribbon pins all week.

The entire week was a pink out, but on Thursday morning, I was asked why. If none of the pink we wore or things we gave out raised money for cancer, why should we do it? The answer is twofold. Wearing pink is a sign of respect and caring. We wear pink as a sign of solidarity and a sign of support for those who have breast cancer, those who have lost someone to breast cancer, and those who continue to fight today. We wear pink to show them that we care, that no matter what happens, they mean something, and that we are rooting for them. On another note, we wear pink to raise awareness. If nobody wore pink, and nobody knew about the importance of the cause, how would anyone know to donate?

We wear pink to show people who aren’t wearing pink the importance of our cause and encourage them to donate. The moral of the story? Donate, support, and wear pink!