Looking Back on 31 Days of Pink

October has come and gone, and I'm proud to say that I really and truly turned my world pink for 31 days in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. On October 1, 2 and 3 I walked 60 miles as Energizer's Keep Going Blogger in the San Francisco Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I blogged about products and companies that support breast cancer research on my review blog. And I wore pink every day in October in an effort to raise awareness for this terrible disease. Here are a few of my pinkest moments from last week:

I bought this $2 Susan G. Komen bracelet at Payless, and I like it so much, I see no reason to take it off even though my 31 Days of Pink are over.

I met a lady at the 3-Day for the Cure event who actually dyed her hair pink to help raise money to fund her participation in the walk. I don't have the guts to go that far, but streaking it pink was a no-brainer.

I love dressing up for Halloween, so I didn't need much of an excuse to buy a new pink witch's outfit to wear on October 31!

Today is November 1, which begs the question, Now What? It seems kind of lame to let the whole thing die down and stay quiet on the issue until all the pink signs go up again in October. If this is truly a cause I believe in, I ought to be passionate about it for all the rest of the months of the year; otherwise I'm just another "pinkwasher" who jumps on the breast cancer bandwagon. Now, as much as I love pink, I have no intentions of wearing pink every day of the year! So

* Get a mammogram.

* Commit to monthly self-exams.

* If you don't know anyone affected by this disease, Read a book written by, or talk to someone who has had breast cancer. That might sound weird, but hearing a survivor's story really personalizes the disease and makes the need to find a cure so much more urgent. I recently read the memoirs of a breast cancer survivor, Nicki Boscia Durlester, and it was truly a touching story. She has even more of a family history of breast cancer than I have, so I instantly felt a connection with her; her story could easily be mine someday. Her book, Beyond the Pink Moon (Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of the book), serves as a great reminder that breast cancer doesn't just happen in October; it happens throughout the year, and it happens way too often to way too many people.

* Make your voice heard by letting members of Congress and other key policymakers around the globe know that timely, affordable and high-quality breast cancer (and other cancer) care and prevention is important to you. Sign the Breast Cancer Bill of Rights petition and the Include Cancer global petition, and check this page for upcoming legislative measures impacting breast cancer in your state.

* Make a donation to organizations dedicated to breast cancer research and advocacy, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Breast Cancer Network of Strength, or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation .

* Participate in events like the 3-Day for the Cure or other fundraisers for breast cancer organizations.

* Support companies that support the fight against breast cancer -- and I'm not talking about companies who "pinkwash" their products in October just to drum up sales. I'm talking about companies with a demonstrable history of donating cold, hard cash to breast cancer charities.

One final reflection: did my 31 Days of Pink make a difference? Well, Googling the phrase "31 Days of Pink", produced 78,900,000 (up from 49,500,000 when I last Googled it on October 23), and my Week 3 Update post is #11 in the results (still on the second page, but I've climbed 3 places from the #14 I got last time). So it looks like some people read my Pink Posts! In any case, it has certainly gotten me resolved to think and act more on behalf of this issue -- and I did say at the start of this campaign that if I get even one person to change their behavior or become more aware, I'm counting it as a success!

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