Friday, October 30, 2009

Pink ribbon

I made my first pink ribbon four years ago and wore it through October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month in many countries. Then I began to wear one through October every year.
The reactions I get from people are surprising.

“What is this for? Is it some kind of an AIDS thing?”
Me: “No. The red ribbon stands for AIDS. This is the symbol for breast cancer awareness.”

“Can men wear it?”
Me: Of course, if they want to support the cause, they can. And yes, men can also get breast cancer.

“Okay, but why are you wearing it?”
Me: It’s my personal campaign against breast cancer.
“Does it work, wearing the ribbon?”
But this time a colleague said, “Well, you asked her and she told you about the disease, didn’t she? Now you know.”

But some such reactions only remind me time and again, that much more awareness is needed.

It was in the early 90s that it was decided the pink ribbon would be the symbol of breast cancer. In 1991 the Komen Foundation distributed them at a race. The Estee Lauder company is also said to have had a say in deciding
on the colour of the ribbon.

Over time, the colour pink has come to symbolize breast cancer. Some organizations sell pink merchandise like T shirts to help raise money for research. As the writer of My breast cancer blog at says, anything pink that reminds you of breast cancer and makes you go in for a check up.

In the USA and the UK, people organize pink days at office. This means they wear something pink to work. Prizes are given to the person who wears most pink, for instance, and the money is given for research. What a simple and beautiful idea.

We Indians love to celebrate our ‘days’. From friendship day, to rose day, to jeans day. We’ve loved to participate in such days through our college years and even later, at work. So why not have a pink ribbon day? You could ask your colleagues and boss if everyone could wear a pink ribbon to office one day. You could ask your gym instructor to wear a pink ribbon. You could ask your group of friends to wear pink ribbons. Tell people about the pink ribbon and its cause. The more pink ribbons worn, the more the awareness created. It is only when people know the reason behind a ribbon will they start to think of it, and go for a check up themselves and tell a loved one about the need to go for a check up for breast cancer. You could also give a certain amount of money contributed by each person who wears the ribbon, to a breast cancer related cause.
And one doesn’t need to wait for October to wear a pink ribbon.

Wear a pink ribbon, and write to me about your experience.

1 comment:

Lina said...

Hello Ashlesha, am very glad you are doing this. Its amazing how much ignorance there is of even the most written and talked about illnesses. May I add that I remember the traumatic time you went through nine years ago and still recall Ishaan fondly. More power to your efforts and all the very best.