The chance of a woman in this country having invasive breast cancer is about one in eight. Those are women diagnosed with breast cancer. How many don’t have the illness but are still touched by it? Think of the husbands and children. Healthy or at risk, breast cancer to a woman can feel like a time bomb.
This is familiar, well-versed ground, at least now it is. Some women are of a generation who didn’t say the word “cancer” or “breast.” All was conveyed in hushed tones and internalized. A family secret.
A fight brought it out into the open; a fight by people tired of seeing people they love suffer. Now people demand research, treatment options, support, and, as much as anything, the opportunity to talk about their experience — to be heard. The words, certainly, are no longer whispered behind cupped hands, but, rather, displayed on magazine covers; and the topic often becomes the center of conversation in any group of women.
And everyone, not just those most directly affected by breast cancer, raise funds. Among the most notable fundraisers, of course, are the walks and runs and elegant galas and black-tie events; but now, cleverly to some, suspiciously to others, through products for sale, the proceeds of which are donated to research, foundations and organizations that help in the fight and the healing. From vacuum cleaners to breakfast bars, we see the famous ribbon and a splash of the rosy hue.
Pink may be one of the most successful branding campaigns in marketing history, fusing the power of an iconic feminine color with a call to action — and community.
More than donations, the word is out. When you see the logo or the color, you sense a surge of interest, and you are reminded of the goal and the number of us making a difference. If we don’t have breast cancer, we care about those who do. If we do have it or have had it, we know others care about us.
In this issue we honor the stories of local women who one day felt a lump and began a journey no one is really prepared for. A busy life, a young family, lots of goals, a profitable portfolio, a blooming love: any one of us with any number of good things in our lives is not automatically protected from the unexpected.
These days, we’re relieved to find statistics for successful treatment and the great news that women with breast cancer are living longer. Especially if lumps are caught early. And that means being aware of signs, knowing our bodies, and talking, talking, talking …