Home > On the Calendar, Post A Week 2011 > The Faces of Pink

The Faces of Pink


Happy birthday and many more. We say it so lightly. We plan milestone birthday celebrations well in advance of the actual event. We look forward. When we are young, we answer the question “What do you want for your birthday?” with a shopping list of objects that we think will make us happy: a new phone, an iPad, clothes, shoes, dinner at a favorite or new restaurant, or other tangible symbols of happiness. Unless you’re Miss Whatever and you just want world peace. When we become parents, we want our children to be happy and healthy. At some point, we parents want to be healthy for our children.

As I adjusted my pink ribbon pin for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), I thought of a special woman in my life whose birthday is in October. If I asked her what she would like for her birthday, she would probably answer among other things, “To be cancer free. For good.” That’s my prayer for her, too. That’s my prayer for all of these brave women. For the ones who just received their initial diagnoses (who don’t know how courageous they are yet), to those who have been through treatments and faced the scary times with dogged resolve.

Like ‘T’ who underwent surgery to remove a lump in her breast recently. We kept a prayer on our lips then rejoiced when she reported that the surgery had been successful.

Like ‘A’, cancer free for 5 years, a woman of unshakable faith and a wide, easy smile. She’s planning to complete the Susan G. Komen for a Cure Walk in 2012 for the second time. If I can’t join her, I will, of course, support her.

Walking pin

Like ‘R’, a former coworker, whose story I read in the local newspaper last week. Looking beautiful in a short hair style, she told readers of her journey on the rough road of breast cancer treatment. She lost her 32-year mother to cancer when she was just 11 years old. Now in her forties, ‘R’ battled back from her own diagnosis.

Hard Rock pin

Like ‘S’, a mother in her early forties who, like all of the women who will sit in doctors’ offices praying for a clean slate, doesn’t deserve the ravaging battle thrust on them by this indiscriminate enemy. No woman deserves to hear those ominous words.

Payless pin

When I wear my pin, it’s for cancer awareness, not just breast cancer, even though the pins are pink. I think of the faces. The faces of pink. There are many now, so many more than when I went to my first Squash Club appointment, dreading the cold, metal jaw that would press my flesh into a pancake in order to take a digital image of a private part of my body. I would (and still do) encourage women to have regular mammograms, do monthly self exams, and be aware of the changes happening in their bodies. As the years marched on, more “faces” have been added to the list. I hear their stories in meetings for women. I read their stories in magazines and newspapers. I see their pictures on Survivor Walls. Some of the faces are familiar. We pray together, laugh together and support each other.

My pin is not an accessory. My pin from Hard Rock Café always attracts attention and gets comments, but it’s more than a glittery pin. It represents a face of a beautiful woman—mothers, daughters, sisters, friends—whom I honor and remember. Someday someone may be wearing a pin for me.

Tonight while I write this post I’m watching Five on Lifetime. Five short stories exploring the impact of breast cancer on women and their families. Five stories directed by five women: Jennifer Anniston, Demi Moore, Alicia Keys, Penelope Spheeris, and Patty Jenkins.

I intended to watch only half an hour, maybe an hour of the program because it ends at midnight, way too late to be up watching movies on a week night. I know how I am; I’ll look haggardy in the morning from lack of sleep and it’s hard to face a full, busy day when your brain hasn’t had time to rejuvenate. Nevertheless, it’s 11:45 pm now so I may as well continue. The last of the five films is playing now, so I’ll end with this: listen to your body and be informed.

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