This week’s post is a reprint of a piece I wrote last October, updated to reflect the means by which I plan to support METAvivor.org in 2017. Breast cancer hasn’t gone away, nor has the blind commercialism of Pink October. METAvivor.org continues to use its resources effectively, with integrity, and in a targeted way to support those living with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
I’ve written here before about my breast cancer inferiority complex, introduced friends I’ve met (and lost) through cancer, and shared the perspectives of Stage 4 (metastatic) breast cancer survivor friends who have the same concerns I do about the commercialism of Pink October.
This October I’m taking action by donating a portion of my upcoming Damselwings Photography Art Show and Sale and damselwingsphotography.com proceeds to METAvivor.org, the sole US organization dedicated to awarding annual stage 4 breast cancer research.
The cold hard truth is, despite all those “think pink” campaigns, only 2% of research funding goes to metastatic breast cancer (MBC) research even though 30% of all breast cancer patients will metastasize.
Even though I “only” had Stage 0 DCIS and even though I’m eight years out from my mastectomy (high grade, aggressive malignancies were found in three quadrants of my amputated breast), I am still at risk.
People do not realize that metastatic breast cancer is widespread and deadly, and that it strikes on whim and takes 41,000 American lives every year. Survivors think they are safe because they are 5 years out … or were diagnosed early … or were told they are ‘cured,’ but MBC plays by its own rules. People diagnosed at stage 0 as well as 30-year survivors can and do metastasize. You feel great one day and the next day learn you have MBC. Your life can change that fast. ~ METAvivor President CJ (Dian) Coreliussen-James
So I guess my Stage 0 inferiority complex is bogus. Time to let it go and do what I can to be part of the solution.
The Ribbon Sealed the Deal
I really can’t stand pink ribbons, for all the reasons I’ve written about in previous Octobers. That’s why METAvivor’s multicolored version pictured above sealed the deal for me.
The pink ribbon is well-known for representing the fight against breast cancer, but many stage 4 breast cancer patients feel that pink does not encapsulate their experience. Metastatic breast cancer may start in the breast, but its spread to vital organs makes the disease fatal. To highlight the uniqueness of the disease and show its commonality with other stage 4 cancers, METAvivor designed a base ribbon of green and teal to represent metastasis. Green represents the triumph of spring over winter, life over death, and symbolizes renewal, hope, and immortality while teal symbolizes healing and spirituality. The thin pink ribbon overlay signifies that the metastatic cancer originated in the breast. Because all stage 4 cancer patients have common concerns and challenges, we invite other cancer communities to overlay their own cancer’s ribbon on this metastatic ribbon base. (Metavivor.org)
For those of you who have been following my journey for awhile, you’ll understand why the focus on the triumph of spring over winter, renewal, hope, healing, and spirituality called out to me when I was researching worthy organizations to which to contribute. That ribbon says it all and includes EVERYONE (even those with less sexy versions of cancer).
Along with the awesome ribbon, METAvivor is run completely by volunteers. All donations (100%!) go toward supporting grants for MBC research. As icing on the cake, the group is based in Annapolis, MD, close enough for me to check my “support local when possible” preference from my northern Virginia perch.
Ways You Can Make a Mindful Contribution This October
1) I will be donating a portion of my Art Sale and DamselwingsPhotography.com proceeds this month to METAvivor.org. By sharing this blog post with your circles, you’ll help boost those proceeds.
2) If you are friends with me on social media, sharing my posts related to this promotion will also help. (If we are not yet connected elsewhere, find me on Facebook at Martha Brettschneider – Writer & Photographer and Instagram @marthabrett.
3) Make your own financial contribution directly to METAvivor right here: https://secure.metavivor.org/page/contribute/
Thanks for your help in supporting METAvivor’s essential work this October and beyond!
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