To everyone fighting, have fought already, or are supporting someone with breast cancer -- many of whom are my family or friends -- I'll start off by saying that I commend you and your loved ones along with your doctors. Really and truly I do, but I won't be wearing pink every day of the month and as someone asks me again to run the Komen or shares a pink ribbon on their social media site or wears pink socks to a sporting event, I will be praying for each and every woman and her family who is affected by this hellacious disease. But you know what? I'll also be praying earnestly for other friends and loved ones who are affected by some equally horrific (if not worse in their eyes) diseases.
Sadly, in this day and age, everyone knows someone who has a 'thing' but many of these hardships that others face on a daily basis; hell, a minute or hourly basis, don't receive the public attention for at least an entire month every single year simply because our "afflictions" aren't as high profile or have yet to affect a popular face. Yes, ALS, MS and Parkinson's have had increased publicity in recent years due to well-known faces becoming their advocates for research and awareness. I'm not begrudging anyone who is able to bring light to their cause ... that is exactly what we need for additional research and cure funding as well as not just tolerance, but acceptance as a general body of humans. The awareness should also bring more compassion and a willingness of inclusion for many who are often left behind in the shadows of a 'dis' ability.
Ability: defined as the skill to do something.
Disability: defined as a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses or activities.
What I find incredibly important to point out here is that not all DISabilities are visible. Not all DISabilities last a lifetime. Not all DISabilities are looked at in the same light. However, each and every DISability is equally debilitating and challenging to the person who has it. Perhaps, with that in mind, we should endeavor to learn a little bit more about others who are affected by a challenging life and change "Pinktober" to "Cause-tober" to give everyone a voice and opportunity to shed a little light on a challenging disease. Again, not trying to ruffle feathers, just pointing out that there are so very many who are suffering/surviving something big and their issues are just as important and difficult to accept.
Off the top of my head, these other illnesses are ones that healing is needed also. Most are noted below because I have a friend/loved one who suffers from the illness and I want everyone to consider what they are going through in their journey. I would suggest that instead of trolling facebook or instagram or a gossip magazine for 30 minutes a day, shorten your time and take a look at a website with information about a specific disease each day. Consider what you read and, at the very least, pray for those with the illness you are reading about, and think of any way you could offer support...oftentimes, a prayer, card, or extra helping hands go just as far as a monetary donation.
- Sarcoma: http://sarcomaalliance.org/what-you-need-to-know/what-is-sarcoma/ and http://www.curesarcoma.org/
- Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: http://mda.org/disease/duchenne-muscular-dystrophy
- Pancreatic Cancer: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pancreatic-cancer/basics/definition/con-20028153
- Cystic Fibrosis: http://www.cff.org/AboutCF/
- Leukemia & Lymphoma: http://www.lls.org/
- Down Syndrome: http://www.ndss.org/Down-Syndrome/
- Autism & Asperger's: http://www.autismspeaks.org/
- Bipolar Disease: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml
- Diabetes: (Juvenile-Type 1): http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/ Type 2 (described as most common): http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-2/
- Drug Abuse: (prescription): http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/prescription-drugs-cold-medicines (other substances): http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction
- Heart & Lung Disease: COPD - http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/; lung diseases - http://www.webmd.com/lung/lung-diseases-overview; heart diseases - http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/
- Obesity: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/basics/definition/con-20014834 and http://www.obesity.org/
- Dimentia: http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp
- Mutliple Sclerosis: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS
- ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease): http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html
- Breast Cancer: http://www.breastcancer.org/
- Epilepsy: http://www.epilepsy.com/
This is very far from any type of comprehensive or medical list. And, obviously, I am not a medical professional by any stretch, nor do I purport to know more than any other average person. I simply want to share awareness of other diseases/long-term illnesses in the hope that everyone who is suffering or has suffered can be supported and have their voice heard.
I am not intending to bash or support one particular illness over another. Nothing is worse than another - to lose a parent, child, friend, spouse, co-worker, loved one to a disease is horrific - regardless of how. To watch any person struggle with the most mundane or 'normal' tasks and have a reduced quality of life...well that just sucks...plain and simple.
In short, breast cancer is horrific - so is every other disease. I'm not 'dissing' awareness for the month of October and I am certainly not trying to lessen the pain for any survivor/warrior of breast cancer. Each and every battle against a life-altering or threatening disease is unique and horrible at the same time. Feel your boobies! I check mine regularly and encourage others to do the same. Visit your doctor regularly for examines and get your mamograms! But, as you fight the fight against breast cancer or dump a bucket of ice over your head for ALS, understand that there are others around us who need the same kind of awareness and support you receive publicly as they go through a similar (yet unique) struggle in life.
I hope you understand my point of view and where I'm coming from. I also hope that you join in learning a little more and offering some support to everyone's personal life journey who is afflicted by some disease. Cause-tober is a great way to extend compassion, prayers and understanding to so many people - and it stretches beyond the color of one ribbon or one cause - to include all - because I do think it is safe to say that everyone just wants to be included and loved and live a good life...
Wouldn't it be great to cure every color of the 'ribbon rainbow'? Some day. Until then, wear your ribbon. Share your cause. Understand other causes and be compassionate. Just remember, we've all got something and it's all important.