Pink is everywhere.
From neighborhood run/walks and NFL events to steak knives and scarves, pink has infiltrated every aspect of our culture. We see pink, we think breast cancer, and for the most part we chip in a dollar here, a t-shirt there. We all chip in because unfortunately, many of us personally associate breast cancer with far more than the color pink.
We associate it with the loss of a mother, a grandmother or an aunt. We associate it with hairless scalps, frail fingernails, and challenged breathing. We don’t see pink, we see hospital rooms. We don’t see pink, we see loss. The sad, frustrating truth about breast cancer is that 1 in 8 women in America will get it. Despite all the pink we see and the terrible pain it causes to victims and families, it is still frustratingly prevalent and there is nothing we can do… except that there is. From neighborhood run/walks and NFL events to steak knives and scarves, pink has infiltrated every aspect of our culture.
The sad, frustrating truth about breast cancer is that 1 in 8 women in America will get it.
The problem with pink has absolutely nothing to do with the color or the cause; it is the one dimensionality it has taught us about how everyday people can fight breast cancer. We see pink, with think breast cancer, we give money, we fund research for a cure. What is far too often overlooked in the pink movement is that while a cure may elude us for years to come, prevention can start to save lives now. Breast cancer treatments have evolved and what was certain death only years ago is now very beatable; the key is prevention. With key information too often flying below the radar the direction of breast cancer awareness was ripe for disruption.
Enter Shaney Jo. When breast cancer affected into her life and she couldn’t identify a way to make difference that felt natural to her, she realized that true for so many other young women.
In 1999 when Shaney discovered a close friend was diagnosed with cancer, she set out to make a difference in a way that honored her friend’s passion: art. As a result, Keep A Breast was born as a unique art concept developed to showcase the physical and emotional challenges of breast cancer. Shaney enlisted a group of female volunteers, and wrapped their upper torsos in strips of plaster-soaked gauze. Once hardened and removed, these white plaster forms were distributed to Modart artists like Shepard Fairey, to be used as blank canvases. In that moment, Shaney sparked a new conversation about breast cancer; one that was unique, creative, and relevant to young people.
It wasn’t just how Shaney engaged people, it is what she has engaged them with: prevention. While being deeply invested in finding a cure, she is helping young women make everyday choices that give them the best opportunity to beat cancer. For example, street art all over the world is inspiring young people to join the “Non-Toxic Revolution,” a movement what warns against the dangers of toxic chemicals in their environment and food supply—especially those linked to the initiation of breast cancer.
Over the last 13 years, Keep a Breast has reached millions of women and the work is just getting started. When people think breast cancer, they think Pink; it’s time they thought of Shaney and Keep a Breast.
To learn more and get involved visit KeepABreast.org.
Breast cancer treatments have evolved and what was certain death only years ago is now very beatable; the key is prevention.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis By Race
250K women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year
40K women in the US will die from breast cancer this year