As we usher in this first full month of fall, awesome colors abound. Vibrant hues of red, orange, green and yellow mix amid the leaf-filled landscape to create a mesmerizing melange of splendor. In recent years, however, bright pink has begun to upstage the traditional autumnal color palette. That’s because pink affixed to ribbons, clothing, banners and more symbolizes the increasingly robust campaign to fight breast cancer in our community and in our nation.
Just how awash in pink is the Mahoning Valley during this Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Consider:
Police in New Middletown sport pink badges as part of their Arrest Breast Cancer campaign.
Members of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority at Youngstown State University are busy planning their Pink Ribbon Cheer competition later this month to raise tens of thousands of dollars to contribute to research, education and awareness of the disease.
The Vindicator, in conjunction with the Humility of Mary Health Partners, is embossing a pink ribbon atop the right corner of Page One daily through Oct. 31. Inside the newspaper and on Vindy.com are daily tips providing facts and prevention tips about breast cancer.
And the list of pink-centric activities in the Valley can go on and on as our region joins the nation in increasing the public’s IQ on breast cancer.
THE PURPOSE OF PINK
Throughout October, pink expresses support for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, recognizes those who survived their fight with the disease, honors those who have succumbed to it and reminds Americans that more must be done to keep breast cancer from striking in the first place. The observance has grown in volume and in passion since first observed some 20 years ago. But just as in 1992, the mission of the month-long movement remains clear: The fight to cure the disease must be won.
About 1 in 8 women can expect to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The disease also hits about 1 in 1,000 men. For some groups of women, breast cancer ranks as the No. 1 cause of death. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the disease kills about 220,000 American women annually.
In the Mahoning Valley, breast-cancer rates remain 19 percent above state and regional averages. That’s why the need for local activism remains critical.
To its credit, the Valley has a long and noble tradition of going all out for cancer-fighting crusades. Relay for Life events here rank among the nation’s largest in participants and fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Late summer’s annual Panerathon foot race ranks as Youngstown’s largest single-day fundraiser and has generated more than $500,000 to support the Valley’s two-year-old Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center. The community also rallied to raise millions of dollars to support construction of that state-of-the-art community gem on the campus of St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown.
KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING
Opportunities abound this month to continue that momentum. Take part in the ACS’ 2013 Making Strides of Tri-County Ohio 3.1-mile walk at Canfield Fairgrounds at 1 p.m. Oct. 13. Donate, then stand up and cheer at ZTA’s 13th Annual Pink Cheer Classic at 9 a.m. Oct. 27 at YSU’s Beeghly Center. Support pink-focused businesses, such as Covellli Enterprises’ Panera Bread, which donates proceeds from sales of its pink-ribbon bagels to breast-cancer research.
These and other campaigns can point proudly to major improvements in early detection, treatment and reduced death rates from breast cancer as achievements of their actions. That’s why we encourage all compassionate Valley residents this month to don their brightest and boldest pink attire and join the burgeoning brigades of volunteers committed to victory over breast cancer’s pernicious war on women.