More than just pink ribbons.

I’ve been hesitant in writing this post for a while now.  Mostly because I don’t want it to be taken the wrong way.  So here’s the disclaimer:  Please don’t take it the wrong way.  

Last week was the Race For The Cure here in St. Louis.  You know… the big race for breast cancer awareness and to raise loads of money for the cure.  Back in 2003 I even participated in the Komen race in San Antonio, but over the years I’ve developed some resentment towards the whole thing.  Okay this time of year just makes me cringe.  There’s tons of media coverage.  The presence is all over the internet.  Women wearing pink shirts that read, “Fight Like A Girl” are all over the place.  Pink ribbons:  Everywhere.  As you will discover later in this posting… a false sense of security.

Don’t get me wrong. (This is where you shouldn’t take any of the above the wrong way.)  Breast cancer IS horrible.  It’s unfair.  It can strike anyone at anytime.  I dislike the pain it causes individuals and families with every fiber of my being.  BUT.  There’s more than just pink ribbons.  There are yellow (bone cancer), white (lung cancer), grey (brain cancer), green (lymphoma), black (melanoma), and so many others.  All different shades. Women (and men) are struck by more than just breast cancer.

When my nana survived colon cancer and then brain cancer I felt enormously blessed.  She was left with some major deficits, remotely not the same person she was, but she is still here with us.  We are able to spend time with her.  My children know who she is.  Nana was recently able to meet her great niece.  All things that wouldn’t be possible if cancer had taken her life.


Then the real kicker in my life occurred.  My mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma the beginning of January 2012.  One week after our little girl was born.  I was initially in shock.  Couldn’t believe that this was happening just a few short years after our family dealt with brain cancer of a loved one.  I also couldn’t believe that it was happening to my mom.  Then that false sense of security kicked in.  My mom was going to be just fine.  She was going to do the treatments, rid her body of the blood cancer, and we would never have to think of it again.  After all, breast cancer was “the only” non curable type of cancer.  That’s what the big race is all about.  Finding the cure for breast cancer.

Sure I took loads of health classes before getting my degree in college.  I shouldn’t have been that clueless, I should have put two and two together, but somehow I remained oblivious to the facts.  Other cancers have no cure.  Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has no cure.  LLS has walks, races, and other events, but I honestly never heard about them until my mom was diagnosed.  I probably knew that the cause existed, but I never saw documentation in the media.  I’ve only ever saw pink everywhere.  Lots and lots of pink.  May we all remember that there are more than just pink ribbons out there.  People are fighting all sorts of cancer.  Women get more than just breast cancer.

My mom still has Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  She is a fighter, but she is living with cancer.


I’m so very proud of my mom.  She underwent six months of rigorous chemotherapy in 2012.

Now she goes every two months for maintenance chemo.

 She fights like a girl wearing green.


About Tara

I'm living a dandy life in the Lou.


  1. Rachel B. says

    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For years I have felt that while Breast cancer awareness is important, I have had a lot of resentment in the fact that the other cancers get left behind. My mom battled colon cancer for almost 2 years before passing away this January at age 54. During her fight, I hated seeing pink-I wanted to tear them down and replace them with blue. I wanted to scream that there are other cancers out there that need help and get little/no recognition. I had to search to find walks and supprt that covered colon cancer as they are just not as accessible through the media. Thank you for reassuring me that there is more than just pink out there. And may God be with your mom as she continues to fight-wearing green.

  2. Keara B. says

    This is an excellent post- and I completely agree! Any type of cancer is terrible, but there needs to be awareness beyond breast cancer. One of my very best friends had lymphoma, and I had never heard of LLS until her diagnosis. On a side note- my friend is now in remission and doing very well, I pray the same happens for your mom!

  3. Great post. If someone is offended it’s because they stopped reading it. You wrote this very well. My dad died of Melanoma at age 29, I was 5. It also took by cousin at 30. Cancer is so deadly. Breast Cancer seems to have the best odds at it being beat because of all the money that has gone into research. I wish every cancer could have equal attention too.

  4. I have come to detest the month of October – breast cancer awareness month… Just over a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer – at age 35 with 6 young children. It was then that I learned that each type of cancer has its own color and there are many, many, many people who are afflicted with cancers other than breast cancer each year. I too wish that other types were given more equal time and support, such as finding better tests for early detection. Thanks for your post!

  5. Amen! My mother died of colon cancer, my grandmother died of stomach cancer, my dear friend died of melanoma, another one of breast cancer. They are all deadly and they all need research. Thank you for your post!

  6. Agreed. It seems all the attention and money goes to breast cancer. I am sick of pink ribbons too! When my daughter had cancer, I learned that the American Cancer Foundation — and its very popular Relay For Life — gives very little money to childhood cancer research. People are generally not aware that each type of cancer has to get its own money for research; that there is not some magical “cancer fund”. In my family, we go gold! (It’s a gold ribbon for children’s cancers.)

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