November 5th, 2010

Orange Goes Pink

by Hilary Price

I like pink and I like ribbons, but I think they have been seeing too much of each other. However, I joined the pink ribbon comics page brigade on the October 10th because it was Breast Cancer Awareness month and it gave me the opportunity to take up the subject of mastectomies without getting run off the comics page.

I got the idea for the gag of my strip from my cousin Lauren, who two years ago, at the age of 30, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted to do a strip that talked specifically about the experience of having the disease. Lauren is a hilarious person, and was very candid about how much it sucked. I feel lucky to share her experience with readers, and lucky that she is alive and healthy and here to see in print.

Many cartoonists “pinked” their comic strips that day. Few actually addressed the disease, but all were hoping to lift their pens in support. You can see all of the pinked strips at comicsgopink.com

There’s one organization not a lot folks know about, and that is The Breast Cancer Action Network, which I highlight in that strip. These folks are the watchdogs of breast-cancer hype and a great resource. Their concern is not only to find a cure, but keep drug companies honest and also to focus on what man-made environmental hazards might bring on the disease. (The link takes you to the on-line Environmental Magazine Grist.org)

Also, in this past Sunday’s Boston Globe Ideas Section, there’s a brief but very interesting article about the differing attitude within the breast cancer community towards corporate pink ribbon awareness campaigns. Referenced in the article is the Breast Cancer Action Network’s sister site on hype in advertising and the media called Thinkbeforeyoupink.org.

Lastly, Lauren pointed me to a very poignant and funny memoir in comics called “Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person,” by Miriam Engelberg. It is very simply drawn but gives you the ins and out of someone dealing and sometimes not dealing with having cancer. I’ve given a link to Amazon, but if you have a local bookstore, they’ll happily order it for you!

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