October is Here!

October is HERE and while I am 100% ready to focus solely on Spooky Season {hence the serious Beetlejuice vibes in the post-mastectomy pic below}, I first want to share some super important breast cancer ‘awareness’ information provided by @the_breasties and www.pinkisnottheproblem.org.

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AROUND FUNDS

Charitable giving around breast cancer is unregulated. The presence of a pink ribbon does not equate to a donation being made and the amount/use of funds is not always communicated clearly.

MANY ARE PROFITING OFF THE CAUSE

Companies and organizations are using breast cancer to further their marketing efforts for personal gain. Profits from these campaigns are not being used to meet the needs of those impacted by breast cancer.

COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE BEING EXPLOITED

The stories of individuals impacted by breast cancer are being used to sell products and/or enhance marketing efforts, without compensation or a donation to the cause.

  • Only 2%-5% of funds raised for breast cancer research goes towards stage 4 research.
  • The color pink can be placed on anything and there’s no requirement for it to be donated.
  • The average “giveback” from a pink product or campaign is less than 10% of proceeds.
  • A pink ribbon can be put on products that are harmful, unhealthy, toxic, or carcinogenic.

CREATE CHANGE

The breast cancer community still needs support. Donations are integral to make change. When funds are transparently communicated and designated to moving research forward, providing support and education, and honoring the stories of community members, we all win.

…so what can you do to combat #pinkwashing?

WHEN IT COMES TO BEING AN INFORMED CONSUMER…

Know where your money goes: Before purchasing something pink, ask yourself:

  • Will this purchase help others?
  • Does money from this purchase support breast cancer research or resources for the community?
  • What organization is receiving the donation? Do I believe in the mission of this organization?
  • Is this safe? Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to something toxic, carcinogenic, unhealthy, or harmful?

WHEN IT COMES TO NONPROFITS…

Do your research: When navigating which breast cancer nonprofit organization to support, ask yourself:

  • Do I want my donation to go towards a cure? If so, donate to nonprofits funding research for stage 4, metastatic breast cancer.
  • Do I want my donation to support programs for those who are in the community? If so, donate to organizations that provide free support services, educational resources, grants, and programs.
  • What resources can help? Online resources like guidestar.org review and rank nonprofits based on their use of funds. A common rule of thumb is that 85 percent of funds should go towards the nonprofit’s mission-driven programs and only 15 percent to operating expenses.

WHEN IT COMES TO BUSINESSES OR CORPS THAT WANT TO GIVE BACK…

  • Find a nonprofit that you believe in. Do your research to ensure they are using funds to create meaningful change.
  • If you are partnering for a cause marketing campaign, and donating funds based on products sold — decide on a fair donation amount. There is no right percentage of give back, but make sure you are donating an amount that feels good to both you and the organization’s team.
  • Be transparent about your philanthropic giving. Clearly state to your consumers who the donation is going to and how much money is being donated. Make sure it is clear if there are any restrictions to the donation.
  • Compensate community members if you are using their stories as part of your campaign. Their stories are valuable!
  • Think outside of October. Patients are diagnosed with breast cancer all year long — not just during breast cancer awareness month. Find a way to support this cause for more than just one month per year.

WHEN IT COMES TO WANTING TO SUPPORT A LOVED ONE…

  • Stop before you purchase an item just because it is pink or has a pink ribbon! You may be able to contribute in a more meaningful way.
  • Ask your loved one if there are any organizations that have helped them personally, and you can donate directly to that organization.
  • Donate to the hospital that your friend/family member is being treated at.
  • Support or start a crowdfunding page or meal train for your loved one.
  • Directly ask what your loved one needs! Quality time, a ride to treatment, or helping with chores will be more meaningful than a pink t-shirt or water bottle.

Six Years

Six years ago I was terrified, not sure if I would live to see Harlon go into Kindergarten. Not even sure if I’d see Wyatt celebrate a birthday. It was go time from that first call and sometimes I look around and wonder if I have slowed down to catch my breath at all.

But that’s life. Or so they say. And a life is what I’m here for.

Tonight, I was explaining to the boys where we all were 6 years ago. Me and John at the dr’s, Wyatt growing in my belly, Harlon running around like a one-year-old wild man somewhere. He was somewhere… with someone… I’m sure of it. 🙈 It was all a bit of a blur, you know?

But it was kinda funny, neither of them remember a time where I was ‘sick’. They know I have scars and see pictures of me with no hair. They don’t question it, they just know it’s a part of our story. And I guess it’s good? Me… oh I know. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about some aspect of cancer. It has shaped who and where I am today. Every new ache and pain has the ability to send me into a complete downward spiral. I continue to face my mortality- especially when looking at expiration dates on my debit card or driver’s license wondering if I’ll be around to get the next one. But I also continue to find gratitude in the little things. I look at life through a lense I didn’t have access to before.

So here we are. Wyatt is starting kindergarten next week and Harlon is going into second grade. And with today being 6 years from my diagnosis, that means Wyatt’s 6th birthday is right around the corner. John and I continue to fly by the seat of our pants and maintain 5 star status as personal Uber drivers for these little humans of ours. Driving them from sport to sport and birthday party to birthday party…. So. Many. Birthday Parties….

But really… happy to be here 💜

6 Month Follow Up

Heyyyya! A quick check in after my most recent 6 month oncology follow up this past Friday.

Things are looking good overall. I’ll be getting routine blood work this week when I have a chance to stop in and I’m scheduled for a ‘surveillance’ CT scan this October.

My only complaint has been continuous pain in my left hand. Specifically my left thumb and middle finger. Sometimes I’m not able to use them at all, sometimes it’s just extremely painful and stiff. That all said, I’m getting X-rays this week on my hand to see if there’s anything obvious that comes up. And I have a bone scan at the end of July to see what’s up there. It’s been a few years since my last bone scan so it will be interesting to see how menopause has been treating me and my bones.

The family is good, the boys are growing like weeds, and I continue to be a hot mess mom. In the most lovable way possible, of course 🤭

John and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary last month 💜
Big Ol’ Kids 💙💙