I understand why these walks are so successful: They give people a chance to feel like they’re doing something to fight diseases and problems that are scary and complex. The Komen walks feature a parade of survivors that brings to mind veterans of foreign wars marching in 4th of July parades. I’m sure it feels good to march in those survivor parades. I bet you feel victorious, triumphant. How great it must be to have people clap and cheer for you after you’ve suffered in obscurity for months and years. But I’ve never signed up for a breast cancer walk.
First of all, I don’t want to wear ridiculous pink stuff. But more than that, I don’t think cancer is a reason to celebrate. I think the whole “celebrate breast cancer” strain in our culture distracts us from the reality that women still die from this disease. All the time. More than 40,000 a year in this country alone. Sure, I’m a survivor now. But for how long?
…. I’m not saying the walks are bad, only that we should have a discussion about the real tragedies that the walks claim to fight. We should talk about how the money raised could be most efficiently spent. We should applaud survivors, but not forget those who have lost the battle.
So, tell me, why do you walk? And if you don’t, why not?