Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Karaoke for a Kure."

I have two last nights in Roanoke before I begin the Yervoy trial in NYC. Since Mr. Spots is working, my sister and I planned to spend some time together. She had already agreed to attend a function downtown called "Karaoke for a Kure" which is a local fundraiser for Relay for Life. (And yes, they spell Cure "Kure" for this event. It is not a typo.)  Apparently last year the event was a huge hit, sold tons of shirts that had the expression "I <3 Boobs (that's why I'm fighting to save them.)"

It got me thinking...what about all of the other cancers who do not have fun slogans to help promote them? Think about lymphoma...My friend, who has lymphoma, has said quite a few times that she wishes there was a fun way to promote awareness about lymphoma. "Pay attention to your lymph nodes"  is not nearly as catchy as "Save the ta-ta's!" 

Breast cancer gets a lot of attention because who does not love boobs? I mean, really? We all do. Look at the football players and their pink gear, the cool shirts you see, there is breast cancer awareness gear EVERYWHERE. The grocery store here in town even carries special pink socks that are covered in pink ribbons.

Call me bitter, but if melanoma had half as much money going towards it as breast cancer, maybe we would be further along in finding a cure. I remember when I was first diagnosed, numerous doctors told me that the tricky thing about melanoma is there is no true standard protocol like there is with breast cancer. Right now, it's a "well, this might work. Or how about we just wait 6 months and see what happens?" I guess I am jealous that there is more proof of what works against breast cancer and what does not...I think my doctors feel the same way. The lack of information is frustrating to everyone.

The positive side of this high awareness is if we continue to support breast cancer, maybe they will find a true cure. I know too many people who have been affected by this horrible cancer. No matter how much awareness breast cancer gets, you can't change the fact that it continues to devastate families. It ruins lives. It takes mothers, sisters, friends through not only a battle against the cancer, but a battle against themselves. Society loves boobs. What happens when cancer takes them away from a woman? It adds a whole other stress factor: a loss of confidence.

Yes, I may be fighting my battle against melanoma, but others around me are fighting for their lives against breast cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer, etc. Research occurs because of money. If I have the opportunity to add a few dollars towards a good cause, I will.


Rich McDonald said...

Great post. Melanoma's my game, but I agree that everyone touched by cancer of any brand should band together to find better treatments for all. Let's climb out of our silos.

Kate said...

I completely agree. Yes, we need a cure for ALL cancer and at the same time I completely understand the frustration in knowing melanoma has only a fraction of the awareness, research money, protocal, treatment options, etc, compared to say, breast cancer. Also, think about childhood cancers - all childhood cancers combined only receive less than 3% of all cancer research funding!! It's a crime. And yet cancer is the #1 disease killer of children - over asthma, CF, diabetes, HIV combined. In the US, 12,500 children are diagnosed each year! I am particularly interested in your blog because like you mention, there is such little awareness of melanoma. I knew nothing about it before becoming a blog follower and supporting you in your fight. Thanks so much for educating the public and gaining awareness for melanoma. You are truly an inspiration and seem to take everything in stride, with courage and grace.

Chelsea said...

Kate, thank you so much for your lovely comment. :-) I fully admit that prior to being diagnosed I knew nothing about melanoma. I had heard the term thrown around a time or two--especially when my older sister was lecturing me about why I shouldn't use a tanning bed...who cared if I was pale for prom??--but besides that, no one had ever discussed it with me. I find myself learning so much! What I learn, I share..the good, the bad, and the ugly!

I had no idea that childhood cancer received so little funding! That shocks me! I don't know how people determine what brand of cancer should receive the most money...A part of me thinks "well, such-and-such cancer needs this money because they are closer to finding a cure" but how can the other researchers work on cures if there are no funds available? I don't understand the whole network.

Last night I supported breast cancer. Before long I will be asking others to join me in a race for melanoma. Then who knows what will happen next! :)

Again, thank you. Your comments are always so sincere, Kate. I truly appreciate you following me and supporting me.

Al said...

Great thoughts Chelsea, and you know my stance via Black is the New Pink. I agree that all cancers need funding and am somewhat frustrated by the intense focus on breast cancer research and the lack of focus on others. Throughout May, I see ads from one local TV station to support their team in the Susan G Komen Race for the cure....all through May, nothing but breast cancer awareness. I emailed the station a few times with "hey, what about Melanoma Awareness?"

Again, I'm not dissing the pink ribbon program...I'm envious of it. I hope one day us band-o-bloggers will create enough awareness to at least have others take notice.

On the brighter side, when "Melanoma Girl" first announced she might have breast cancer (since has been idagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian), she solicited ideas for some melanoma/breast catch phrase. I never had the chance to respond before she announced her ovarian discovery, but I thought a good one might be "Fighting by the Skin of My Teets"...

One more comment. I think that because boobs are a more lighter and playful body part, that skin cancer will never have the opportunity to find cute phrases. I have to wonder if a campaign similar to the TRU tobacco campaign would be more effective...more of a shock value. The "Dear 16-year-old me" video was great...I think we might just need more "scared straight" campaigning. Just my thought.

Keep up the great work...and fingers crossed for your Yervoy trial!

Kate said...

Hi Chelsea, I would guess that medical research dollars are allocated to cancers that are the most common as they prove the most profitable and give them the most return on their dollar. Childhood cancer and melanoma are relatively rare, than say breast cancer, so pharmaceutical companies do not have a vested interest in spending their money in developing drugs to treat them. So sad to think about but I would guess it's very much driven by profit. Grassroots fundraising is huge though, and we do have power if we work hard to raise awareness and research funding through our own efforts :). It's a start atleast!