Monday, October 18, 2010

Ribbons for Life

On October 10th I stood in the pulpit and said "For those of you who are liturgically minded and are curious about the color of my stole today, I just want to let you know that as far as I am concerned, Pink is the appropriate liturgical color this month." I then went on to lift up all the football players who added pink to their uniforms that week, saying that I considered every one of them the Most Valuable Player.

It has become a matter of personal pride to add a splash of pink to my outfit every day during October. Oddly enough I haven't had any trouble finding a pink blouse or scarf or camisole to wear. I say oddly because for years, decades really, I didn't wear pink at all. Slowly pink has been making its way into my wardrobe. It started a few years ago when I walked in the Susan B Komen Race for the Cure and was given a "Warriors in Pink" scarf. (For some reason the LA event was held on a Saturday that year so I was able to participate.) And it was important to me to make that walk because that was the year both my niece and my associate minister were dealing with breast cancer. I thank God that both of them are survivors.

Like almost everyone these days I know a lot of women who have had to deal with the reality of breast cancer. Virtually every week I hear of a new woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer or is waiting to hear what the pathologist says. I thank God that there are more and more survivors, that the medical community is getting better at saving lives through early detection and treatment.

The same goes for cervical cancer. People aren't nearly as aware of cervical cancer as they are of breast cancer. In fact, I am a cervical cancer survivor and only discovered it has its own ribbon when I started writing this blog post! Cervical cancer has, of course, received some publicity in the last few years because of the rather controversial HPV vaccine - controversial because it is designed to be given only to young women who have not yet become sexually active. But speaking as a survivor of cervical cancer, I can't tell you how happy I was to see that a vaccine had finally been developed. Prescribed and administered properly it will help reduce the numbers of women like me who develop cervical cancer because of HPV. As with breast cancer, more and more of us are living longer because of early detection through regular pap tests.

To all who have helped in any way to support women's health issues and cancer research, please know you are being lifted up daily in my prayers of gratitude.