Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

I’ll read for the cure, but I won’t drink the pink Kool-Aid

October 19th, 2011 by Laura Wershler


Every October it’s the same thing:  Buy pink, think pink, drink the pink Kool-Aid.  All in pursuit of (mostly) the cure for breast cancer.

Forget the cure. I’m much more interested in preventing the disease. As such, I’ve refused for years to walk or run for the cure to breast cancer. Not only am I concerned that too little of the money raised by such events is being spent on prevention research, I also don’t like what can only be called the commodification of breast cancer.  For more on this check out thinkbeforeyoupink, a program of Breast Cancer Action.

In addition to these concerns, I find some of the breast-cancer fundraising and awareness-building activities being promoted this year to be nothing short of cringe-worthy.

I certainly won’t be attending boobyball 10 next month.  This auspicious event is put on by Rethink Breast Cancer, a Canadian non-profit geared to building awareness in the under-40 crowd. Too bad Rethink’s booby fetish seems more appropriate for the under-12 set.

And I won’t be wearing an “I love boobies” bracelet anytime soon.  Nor will students at a middle school in Kelowna, British Columbia, where the bracelets were recently banned because the message was deemed “offensive.” I’d ban the $3.99 over-priced plastic wristbands just for being silly.

The bracelets, along with other silly “I love boobies”  promotional products, are sold by, the mission of which “is to help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support.”

Although I’m sure both of these organizations mean well, I want to scream, “Enough already!”  I know I don’t fit either org’s demographic, but still, enough already.

What I will attend, this evening, and with some hesitation, is the inaugural Read for the Cure event in Calgary.  For $90 I’ll enjoy wine and nibbles, hear three Canadian female authors read from their work, and take home three books by these featured writers.

Marina Endicott is one of three featured authors at Read for the Cure in Calgary, Alberta on October 19.

Read for the Cure is a Canadian endeavor launched in Toronto in 2006 by two women from the same book club who had recently completed treatment for cancer.

“Acknowledging the important role of reading in their lives, and the wonderful support they had received from their fellow members during their treatment, they saw an opportunity to harness the energy of enthusiastic book clubs and readers to raise funds for cancer research.”

I love books, I love my own book club, and I’m going to the event with a dear friend whose mother died of breast cancer.

While breaking my self-imposed boycott of cancer-related fundraising events, I plan to ask a few questions of my fellow attendees:

What’s your take on the mammography screening controversy?

Are you aware of the connection between healthy ovulatory menstruation and breast health?

What do you know about vitamin D and cancer prevention?

I’m also hoping to engage representatives from the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Research Society — the two recipients of the event’s proceeds — in discussions about the current research projects they’re funding.  Do they know about the Breast Cancer Prevention Study being conducted by Grassroots Health to explore the association between vitamin D levels and breast cancer?

Tonight, my drink of choice will be red wine. Here’s to a fun evening.













2 responses to “I’ll read for the cure, but I won’t drink the pink Kool-Aid”

  1. Anna says:

    What worries me is that here in the UK the larger cancer charities are ‘fake charities’ – e.g. part government funded, and such charities are often in the pocket of government.

    When it comes to prevention a lot of good could be seen from tighter manufacturing regulations, however if tighter regulations were to be introduced it’d drive manufacturers out of the country and so threaten the economy. To go a little darker; people dying of cancer saves money in long-term savings to the NHS, benefits, etc. It’s a widely held belief that this is also why UK government continues to use NRT to ‘help’ smokers stop smoking despite knowing it doesn’t work and that there are methods that do work.

    A bit of a mental conspiracy theory – but you have to wonder why so little ‘awareness’ goes on prevention and why so little goes into preventing this huge threat to public health.

  2. Laura Wershler says:

    Hi Anna,

    I, too, wonder why so little effort goes in to prevention. It’s a huge mystery. I am also concerned about charities that sell collections of imprinted products as part of their operation. Just doesn’t seem right. Thanks for your comment.

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