beyond thinking pink

Please remember to RT this post with the hashtag #pinknetwork !

Saturday marked the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every October, we’re inundated with pink messaging, products and those pesky Facebook status “awareness campaigns”.

Every October, we’re reminded that we’re barely closer to finding a cure than we were in 1991.

The facts:

  • In 1991, 119 women in the U.S. died of breast cancer every day.
  • In 2001, 110 women in the U.S. die of breast cancer every day
  • Breast cancer remains the leading cancer killer among women ages 20 to 59
  • More than 1.4 million new cases are diagnosed annually worldwide.
  • Since 1975, 5% or 70,000 breast cancer patients are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized. Of these patients, 1 in 5 will survive five years out.

Source: Marie Claire

This October, one thing is clear. Women are standing up to breast cancer and their friends are helping them. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about women taking their health into their own hands and learning to perform a self breast examination. It’s about families and friends encouraging their friends to do the same. It’s about continuing to raise money for organizations that help find a cure and treat patients.

Along with TELUS’ annual Go Pink campaign [Click to pinkify your profile photo & donate $1 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation], the company is spotlighting the idea of a Pink Network. They’ve asked a few of us bloggers to participate in a contest by writing a post about our best weekend away with our very own Pink Networks.

As a thank you for participating, TELUS is donating $400 in my name to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (reason enough to participate!). If my post gets the most RT’s, I’ll also win a weekend getaway with my favourite ladies.

As we move through life, we add different friends to our circles who will support us. My own Pink Network is filled with beautiful, fun-loving, intelligent ladies from each stage of my life. This past year, as a student in Humber’s post-grad public relations program, I added a whole new circle of girls to my Pink Network. It started off innocently enough. We were new friends and the topic of skiing came up. We figured – why not – and put together a motley crew of wonderful ladies for a weekend away. Off to Blue Mountain we went! Along with copious amounts of eating, giggling and girly gossip (yes, we talked about boys), we did all the things that any good Pink Network would do:

We tried new things that pushed us out of our comfort zones (Claire’s first Caesar!)

We went out on the town & banded together against a common enemy (frat boys!). We may have told them we were out celebrating Erin’s 30th birthday. “You guys look REALLY great for 30!”

We turned a stressful situation…

…into a hilarious bonding experience. Erin and I both picked up a life skill that afternoon!

And, best of all, we had a fantastic weekend. Even when I took a turn for the “Scenic Caves” route on the way home and took us down the roller coaster-esque Highway 26, we never stopped laughing. That’s what a Pink Network is all about: support, laughter and good advice.

Your own Pink Network can be the friends you’ve had forever, the girls you bond with during a tough post-grad program or that friend at work who’s going through the same experiences you are.  At TELUS, their Pink Network is a group of women and their closest supporters helping each other through the crushing diagnosis and aftermath of breast cancer.

This October, take the opportunity to talk to your Pink Network about breast cancer. Learn to do a self-examination and encourage your friends to do one as well. You could save your life…or theirs.