Like so many other traveling singers out there, I take to Netflix when I have a free day and feel the need for some good old fashioned rest and relaxation. And probably also like not quite as many of you, I am a documentary junkie. Name a social injustice- the food industry, the banking collapse, the U.S. prison system, animal cruelty, global warming- give me a documentary that tackles the topic, and I’m there. That’s why I’d been telling myself, as the daughter of a breast cancer patient, that I needed to finally sit down and watch Pink Ribbon, Inc.. Well today, on a gray day in Brussels, after a hard week of rehearsals, I finally got the chance.
For the millions of husbands, wives, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, friends and countless others whose lives have been affected by a cancer diagnosis to either themselves or their loved one, the feeling of isolation and panic can be overwhelming. I remember this feeling all too well when my mother received her Stage IIIB Breast Cancer diagnosis- for those of you familiar with the numerical staging system, as far as diagnosis go, this is not a promising one. As compassionate human beings, of course we want to turn our feelings of helplessness and despair into the action of doing something, anything to help the cause, so that our children and grandchildren will not have to suffer through this same fate. This is where organizations and corporations that bear the Pink Ribbon logo step in and make themselves readily available to those of us who want to help. From pink vacuum cleaners, pink golf balls, perfume, lipgloss, pink buckets of fried chicken (no, I’m not kidding), to name just a few of the products sold in the name of breast cancer research, to thousands of annual Runs, Walks, Races, Marathons held to raise money for awareness, to NFL players donning pink shoes and gloves, the Pink Ribbon logo and it's influence are everywhere.
We all know the message of hope that is synonymous with the symbol of the pink ribbon, but do we really know where all this money is going and what these organizations are actually accomplishing? Despite billions of dollars a year being donated in the name of Breast Cancer Research, the incidence of Breast Cancer in the United States since 1965 has nearly quadrupled, and continues to rise every year. Of the 200,000 plus women diagnosed every year, only approximately 20% of these cases can be explained by proven risk factors such as family history, the presence of the BRCA gene, exposure to radiation, etc. So what is causing the other 80% to get sick? And why haven’t these billions of dollars given and the 30 plus years of research that they have funded gotten us any closer to the answers? This is just a small sample of the plethora of questions that Pink Ribbon, Inc. takes on in it's film, and the results are astonishing, riveting, and at times, infuriating.
I passionately urge anyone who has been affected by a Breast Cancer diagnosis, has bought any product bearing the Pink Ribbon logo, participated in a Walk for the Cure, a Race for the Cure, a Marathon for the Cure, jumped out of a plane for the Cure, or just given a few of your hard earned dollars to helping women around the world conquer this terrible disease: Watch this film!
I am extremely blessed to have my beautiful and courageous mother with me today and rest assured she is thriving, enjoying life to the fullest, and doing what moms do best, giving me advice on a daily basis! For those of you who have survived the disease, and especially for those who weren’t as fortunate, I hope that we can strive to do better in prevention and getting to the root of what is causing a rise in ALL types of cancer. If you want to get involved now, here are a couple of organizations that I think are worth taking a look at: