It’s the color of love, roses, “it’s a girl,” cotton candy, my favorite color, your favorite dress, fuchsia, magenta, hot, bubble gum, baby, and our favorite singer. We wear it in our cheeks, lips, and our hearts.
Some wear it on their sleeve as a symbol of another thing entirely.
Hard to believe two years have passed since my young friend was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Niki Reyes, radio morning show host-rockstar has had a very public experience of what it means to wear pink. On one spontaneous visit to the Niki & Danny Show, in October 2011, I notice a relatively empty box with a few bras in it on the floor of their broadcast studio. I ask Niki “what’s this all about?” We tease Danny about its’ connection to his exploits then have a serious conversation about breast cancer awareness.
Upon returning home I go to the store, fill a box with bras to fit breasts of all shapes & sizes, decorate the box with pink love, and ship it off to “The Niki and Danny Show In The Morning” at KELLY 95.3 in Bakersfield, California.
The following October 2012, I sent another two boxes to show support for Niki & Danny’s effort in raising breast cancer awareness. Only this year, in addition to the bra drive the KELLY 95.3 morning show publicized anyone can get a mammogram for $75 dollars at Kern County Medical Facility.
Niki, 32 years of age, decides to go. She says to herself “it’s a good idea, nothing to lose, $75 dollars, I’ll talk about it live on the air, share what the experience is actually like.” She will get a mammogram and along the way share all of this with her radio family, friends, and audience. Worst case scenario she will have a baseline for future mammograms.
To the shock of all, including doctors, Niki is diagnosed with breast cancer. She takes to the battleground immediately to eradicate her body of cancer, her audience becomes an entire community of love rallying around to give support. She’s diagnosed and treated by the actions of her own health advocacy. Sadly she had to fight cancer. At the same time her willingness to be a public advocate and using her microphone as a magic wand, to share a message meaningful to her leads Niki to save her own life. Most doctors tell women no mammogram is necessary until age 40. Thankfully today she is cancer free.
But the list of Pink Warriors only keeps growing. Just last month a dear sweet friend of mine lost her Mom to breast cancer, gone too soon. We are all so sad about this. She is herself a survivor of breast cancer and we are so thankful for her health. Last night another young friend told me she is to undergo a double mastectomy as soon as possible. Last week a friend had multiple masses biopsied and her tests came back negative.
I have many “sisters” who have had radiation, chemo, lumpectomies, bi and unilateral mastectomies, drains, partial reconstruction, total reconstruction, breasts that refuse to be reconstructed because of previous radiation to the area, one has new breasts but refuses to get nipples, others have breasts that look perfect. They walk around bald, with scarves, wearing wigs, decorating their baldness with henna. They watch their hair start to fall out, shave it and dye it platinum blonde. They watch their hair grow back long and beautiful. One friend’s hair refuses to grow back at all.
Their eggs are harvested, some frozen as embryos, their uterus and ovaries removed. They wear suits, and dresses, they go to the office, they go to court, they go to work, they go to the supermarket. They run companies, households, meetings. They continue to live and love friends and family with grace, and raise their children. Somehow they manage to do it all. These are warriors- Pink Warriors.
We all have stories, people we know, a friend, mom, cousin, sister, aunt. It is scary and there is so much that’s out of our control. The experiences of loved ones has shown me how early detection, awareness, and research are all ways we can do something within our power- where we can make a difference.
This year DJ Danny Hill will broadcast live from Kern County Medical Center http://www.kernradiology.com/archive6.html on Halloween to encourage more women to come down for mammograms. Remember, it is still October so it’s not too late to wear pink and as Niki often says “remember to get your boobies checked.”