Think Pink This October

We’ve heard about it from family and friends from the day we were born, unfortunately. Whether you have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer, it is a word that has come to be used far too often in society today. It is a disease that has impacted so many lives. October is the month we have dedicated to spreading awareness about breast cancer in particular. This month hits home for me, as my mother, grandmother, and some other family and friends have battled this terrible disease. Looking past the difficulties that people (including myself) affected by the diagnosis face, October is a month where I love to celebrate the insurmountable bravery and strength to those who battled all they had left in them, those who are now retermed survivors, and their caregivers/supporters. With more celebration comes more determination to come together and take down cancer once and for all.

Here are some great things you can do this October to make steps, no matter how big or small, to help join the fight and spread awareness!

1. Be aware of YOUR HEALTH FIRST

Yes, all those things doctors say about overall health and wellness is true! Eat your greens, go on a run, do some yoga, mediate the stress away, and trying to remind yourself a healthy lifestyle is as easy as some small changes you can make to not only be a part of the October Awareness movement, but benefit you as a member in society too! The more people who are making conscious decisions to be healthy, the more the whole world makes that change and public health is better!

As far as your own health regarding breast cancer, it's time to get personal. And IT'S NORMAL! Check yourself for any abnormalities and make sure that if anything is uncomfortable or unusual, tell your doctor! Here’s a great link to start learning how to examine yourself. This is important, and it helps you make those steps forward this month! Be proactive about telling friends and family to do the same! Wish health onto others :)

https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam

2. Get Informed!

If you don’t think you know a ton of information about breast cancer, like where the funding comes from, or what exactly a diagnosis means, the best place to start is honestly a Google search. A lot of important things are happening everyday in our society regarding healthcare, and especially that of cancer treatment and statistics.

Reading about a cause before you're proactive about spreading awareness for it is something important to do! Being educated before spreading the word is always something we should advocate. You wouldn’t want to spread wrong news, or share statistics that just aren't right. Being educated about breast cancer is more than just learning what it does and how it's caused, but also the steps we take as a society to prevent and treat it. By doing so, you can also dive deeper into finding more opportunities to get involved this month.

3. And with that being said... Get involved!

Hey, you’re already taking some steps by reading this article to learn how to take even more. If you’re passionate about something, get involved with it. There are plenty of great resources to go to for breast cancer awareness programs and organizations. Getting involved in the events or organizations that keep the fight against breast cancer going is just adding another lovely face to the group continuing to take a stand. The fight on our side becomes a whole lot stronger. If you're lost on what getting involved might mean in terms of breast cancer awareness, you could start by joining a local community walk and bringing friends along, or donate that extra $1 at the checkout. Sometimes hospitals in your area will even allow you to go and keep some of the cancer patients entertained while they’re receiving their treatments. Donating blankets, fuzzy socks or hats to chemotherapy patients is something else that seems small, but it sure does go a long way. These are just a few of the simple, yet wonderful opportunities there are to get involved this month.

4. Wear pink!

Okay, of course you may think that just wearing a pink shirt once in a while won't do much, but even something like this can help! Wearing pink symbolizes that you're standing against breast cancer. It doesn’t necessary have to be pink from head to toe, but wearing a ribbon symbolizing the strength of those fighting the battle and everyone's hope for a cure is something that stands out and gets other people thinking about it too.

5. Talk to someone you know! 

Maybe you know someone who had breast cancer, maybe you only know of someone who did. Sometimes (and really look into this one in order to remain respectful) survivors like to share bits and pieces of their stories. Of course, not everyone does and it should be left in their hands to decide, and for us to respect their decision. Many survivors, caregivers, doctors, and supporters share their stories, personal or not. It's a way to connect to others, and like I said, announce the hope everyone is trying to instill into society for a cure. You can also learn to look up to those who fought against cancer, and find pieces of yourself wanting to do more to help-- which is all we can ask for!

6. Host a fundraiser!

Funding for further research or even helping those pay for their treatments/medications/support during their fight is extremely important. This is a great way to get involved and make a bigger impact along with spreading awareness. Some simple ways to raise money could be selling ribbons for $1, or a bake sale! Try to think of something fun to do in order to catch people's attention!

7. Shop Pink!

A lot of brands in October like to have the addition of breast cancer awareness themselves. A lot of large companies will dedicate portions of their sales to funding research during the month! So, be on the lookout for stickers or ads that include a ribbon during this time. This is just another small thing you can do that makes a difference. Here is a great article about some brands you may use and didn’t even know were helping this month (written by a Her Campus member himself!):

www.hercampus.com/wellness/6-brands-support-breast-cancer-awareness-month

7. Most importantly, have hope.

This means more than just having hope. It's the recognition that people battle this everyday, and they use all their energy to do so. It's being thankful that there are still people researching this, helping with treatments and being respectful to those who are battling and those we've unfortunately lost to the battle. Give praise to our fighters! Sometimes the public can become desensitized to issues that are brought up countless times, and breast cancer is definitely one that has always been prevalent in media. It's important to use October to do more and remind people of the severity of this disease, and the urgency there should be to help as much as possible. Use this month to get involved, and keep it up afterwards! Become aware and proactive about your actions. Even small steps can go a long way, and there are plenty of people who are appreciative of anything you do.

Here's a picture of me and my two biggest role models. They’re so strong!