Every year in October, we take nominations for our Cowgirls vs. Cancer retreat. October is breast cancer awareness month. This year, I've felt a bit less enthusiastic about shouting that out from the rooftops. Don't get me wrong - it's not that I am any less passionate about what we do here. I chose to focus our giving back efforts on breast cancer for many reasons, some of them very personal. I've been both praised and criticized for that.
This year I've seen what appears to be a bit of a backlash against breast cancer awareness month, pink ribbons, the like - the main objection being, does all the pink branding really help increase awareness, or contribute to definitive action to fight this disease? Furthermore, do companies exploit it for profit, or even worse, to cover up their unethical business decisions? "Pink washing" is the rebranding of products that contain known carcinogens. What about the ongoing debate on mammogram guidelines, when to first get one, how often? Or lastly, where does the huge amount of money raised in the name of breast cancer actually go? (Visit Think Before You Pink and read Breast Cancer Awareness Month Plagued by Controversy.)
These are questions I can't answer, and these are beyond a doubt valid concerns. My role in all this (not to mention my love of good marketing) may make me somewhat guilty of loving pink. And in the end I am proud of that, because I know what we do is making a positive impact. That was my goal for Cowgirls vs. Cancer: amidst all the bad news, all of us - I mean ALL OF US - being touched by cancer in some way - I wanted to do something that had a positive impact. I'm not a dr., a scientist, or a philanthropist with bottomless pockets - so that something ended up being providing a healing experience for women with breast cancer. I am part of the pink.
What we do each year involves bringing together people and businesses who are passionate about health, well-being, yoga and horses to give their time, products, kindness, compassion and talents; to provide a retreat experience for breast cancer "thrivers" that offers healing with horses, yoga, and each other. After six years of doing this, I can honestly say that it is one of the most rewarding events of my life. And I'm going to keep doing it, and there will be some pink involved. Without apology.
So, all that said: we are now taking nominations for our 2016 Cowgirls vs. Cancer retreat. If you or someone you know is a breast cancer "thriver", nominate her to join us for healing with horses and yoga in Montana next year.
Yeehaw & Namaste.
Labels: Cowgirls vs. Cancer, Horses, Montana, MT Yoga Photog, Yoga