Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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Breast Cancer: There’s Nothing Sissy About Pink

Posted on Oct 17, 2010 by Lisa Ricard Claro   9 Comments | Posted in breast · cancer · Diana M. Raab · Komen · pink · ribbon
I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN (  The book includes Diana’s experiences, reflections, poetry and journal entries, in addition to writing prompts for readers to express their own personal stories. A survivor of both breast cancer and multiple myeloma, Raab views journaling to be like a daily vitamin–in that it heals, detoxifies and is essential for optimal health.
Diana, the author of eight books, spent 25 years as a medical and self-help writer before turning to poetry and memoir. She teaches creative journaling and memoir in UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.
If you comment on today’s post you’ll be entered to win a copy of Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. To read Diana’s post about breast cancer and a list of other blogs participating in Diana’s Blanket Tour visit The Muffin.
The Power of Pink
The pink ribbon is ubiquitous.  Perhaps its likeness adorns your car’s bumper, or maybe you wear it on a tee-shirt or pin it to your jacket. If not, I bet you know someone who does. It symbolizes the fight against breast cancer, and the tags that accompany it are myriad—Fight Like a Girl, Walk for a Cure, Find a Cure, Big or Small Save Them All, and my personal fave, Save the Ta-Tas—to name only a few.

So where did the pink ribbon originate? I Googled “pink ribbon” and the first website to pop up was Pink Ribbon International.  Here’s what they say about the origin of the pink ribbon as it pertains to breast cancer awareness: 

“The first chapter in the history of Pink Ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer awareness can be found at the Komen Foundation’s Race for The Cure, on the 16th of June 1990. At this race, held in Washington DC, the Komen Foundation handed out pink visors randomly to the 8,529 walkers. A year later, in 1991, Komen distributed pink ribbons to participants in it’s New York City Race for The Cure. As from this year, the pink ribbon became the symbol for breast cancer awareness.” 

That information raised another question. Who is Susan G. Komen? Her name is as well-known as the pink ribbon. 

In brief, Ms. Komen was a 36-year-old woman who, in 1980, lost her life to breast cancer. Her sister, Nancy Brinker, founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure in her honor. Its mission is lofty: eradicate breast cancer.  

1 in 8 women will face a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer at some point in her life. 1 in 8. The statistic caused me to catch my breath. I thought of my nieces, whose mother has bravely fought the disease and, thank God, is winning; I thought of my own daughters, whose amazing and much loved grandmother (my mother-in-law) died over a decade ago from breast cancer. What does this statistic mean for them? Genetic risk factors increase their likelihood of a breast cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Does this scare me? You bet it does. And that is why I believe in the Power of Pink. That ribbon symbolizes my daughters; it symbolizes my nieces; it symbolizes dear friends who have fought the disease with success. . .and those who did not. It symbolizes the woman who is that 1 in 8. It stands for strength, determination, courage, spirit and a motivated drive to eradicate a widespread killer.

That’s a lot of punch packed into a little pink ribbon, and it proves what every female has known all along: There’s nothing sissy about pink.

God bless –

    For important information regarding risks and prevention of breast cancer, please visit this link:  Koman–Lower Your Risk

    9 Responses to "Breast Cancer: There’s Nothing Sissy About Pink"

    1. Comment by Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy
      October 17, 2010 at 10:04 am  

      Hi Lisa, thanks for this very interesting post. I did not know how the pink ribbon came about, but it sure has done a great job of raising awareness about breast cancer.I always wonder what it is about our environment that contributes to the 1 in 8 statistic. It is the one thing that everybody shares, even though we do not all share the same environment. The WHY, and the WHEN did the increase in breast cancer begin? I am so proud of the women who have fought the big fight, and who have helped others through their own struggles with this disease. I look forward to enjoying reading Healing with Words sometime soon.Have a fun day today!Kathy

    2. Comment by Tammy
      October 17, 2010 at 10:08 am  

      Thank you for this wonderful and informative post! One thing that scares me is that neither of the last two people I've known who were diagnosed with it had any family history of breast cancer. We're not immune just because we don't have a blood relative who's had it!

    3. Comment by Sioux Roslawski
      October 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm  

      Pink is definitely not a wussie color. Thanks for sharing the history behind the pink ribbon. Fortunately, I have not lost any relatives or close friends to breast cancer…yet. The insidiousness of the disease is that it could be lurking in us, right now, waiting for the right moment to rear its ugly head. I worked with a woman who fought a valiant battle. She had breast cancer, and when they did the surgery, they took out some of her stomach fat to reconstruct the breast. (I generously offered to grow my belly even bigger, so I could donate MY fat. Curiously, she did not take me up on it.) She was one of the most beautiful women—inside and out—that I've known. Sadly, she did not win the war… I remember somebody (I think they were on Oprah) who was fighting for their life. They watched the movie, Kill Bill, every day, and imagined that instead of Bill, they were killing the cancer cells…An interesting way to keep a positive outlook.

    4. Comment by Lynn
      October 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm  

      Thanks Lisa for this post. Since I lost my mom to breast cancer over 40 years ago, I'll have to say that they've come a long way for awareness, prevention, etc., and you're right – there's nothing sissy about pink!

    5. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      October 17, 2010 at 9:17 pm  

      Hi Kathy – My husband believes the environment is somehow a contributing factor and I can't really argue. BC is one disease that crosses all lines. Thanks for your comments.Hi Tammy – You are right. Having a relative with BC increases one's chances, but is not the only deciding factor. Any one of us might be that 1 in 8. Hey Sioux – I've never seen Kill Bill, but the scenario you set is an interesting one and makes me want to watch the film. I suppose when faced with one's mortality, strength derived from even the oddest of places is embraced. I'm sorry about the loss of your co-worker. It sounds as if she gave a valiant effort to the fight.Hi Lynn – Thanks in large part to the Komen organization, prevention of BC is much better understood these days. Regular self-breast exams and annual mammograms are strong aids in early detection. The number of cases in women under the age of 50 is surprisingly high, as well. So many breast cancers are found with routine exams. Your mother didn't know that 40 years ago, and my mother-in-law didn't adhere to it either. In this decade we are better educated in breast cancer prevention, and can only pray it makes a difference for us and our daughters.

    6. Comment by Elephant's Eye
      October 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm  

      First I got sidetracked by your microfiction ;>)Most women who get breast cancer don't have a family history. (And even if you do, 7 out of 8 women still don't get it) What's the cause? Maybe environmental toxins building up in our body fat as the decades pass. Maybe hormones fed to dairy cows, then eaten by us, one way or the other. Maybe Light at Night affecting melatonin levels. Lots of maybes. Last Friday in Summer Gold I wrote about my strong family history.

    7. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      October 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm  

      Hi EE – Thanks for reading and commenting. You've provided interesting information. I'd like to read your Summer Gold piece. Can you provide a direct link?

    8. Comment by Anonymous
      March 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm  


    9. Comment by Muhammad Amir
      July 17, 2013 at 11:01 am  

      The number of cases in women under the age of 50 is surprisingly high, as well. So many breast cancers are found with routine exams. Your mother didn't know that 40 years ago, and my mother-in-law didn't adhere to it either. In this decade we are better educated in breast cancer prevention, Silent Auction

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