Last Sunday I had the immense pleasure of walking in the Odyssea march against breast cancer.
October is often referred to as "Pinktober" among us breast cancer sufferers/survivors. Lots of manifestations all over the world to raise awareness and money for research into better treatment options. The marchers/runners/walkers dress in pink (not my favorite color) to show their support for the cause.
It is a cause that is more controversial than you might think. As one blogger put it, "cancer isn’t cute. It is a mortal illness. It disfigures. It kills." There are also criticisms of just how useful raising awareness is (mammograms don't necessarily mean higher survival rates). There is also some anger on the part of those facing Stage IV (late state breast cancer) because the research (and the money) tend to be devoted to treating and curing the earlier and more easily treatable stages . Very little, they say, goes to the treatment of breast cancer that has already spread and is complex to treat. Scorchy over at The Sarcastic Boob is boycotting the events and will not discuss them on her blog.
And I just read this extraordinary post up on Considering the lilies - lessons from the field called Booby-trapped this October. Read it and you won't be able to look at those pink ribbons in quite the same way ever again.
I'm aware of all this and even agree with most of it. Nonetheless, last year a group of people marched for me and others and they even sent me a picture when I was doing chemo. This year I'm just so grateful to be able to walk and to have my hair and fingernails back. So to celebrate being alive, and in the spirit of service and of giving back, I agreed to be "pinked" and to get out there with the other 30,000 people that Sunday at the Chateau de Vincennes.
We had a wonderful time. I participated in the 5 km walk with a group of Franco-American women. the organizer of our group came with ribbons for our hair and flowers for our lapels. A few minutes into the march a women's percussion group called Zalinde was performing and they were HOT! To give you some idea of their style, here is a video of one of their performances:
I was dragging at the end and it took me two days to recover - deep deep fatigue. I now know my limit and it is 5 km.
Still, I'm very glad I went and I want to thank all the ladies I met, and the organizer of our group, for making it such a special and festive occasion and for giving me the opportunity to be a "fashion victim."