The chief enemy of creativity... is "good" sense. ~Pablo Picasso

Steve Jobs will thank you...

If you see a yellow wristband on someone... 
you probably immediately think of LIVESTRONG...

Remember Dorothy's ruby red slippers? 
Nowadays you'd question whether she was wearing red because she was helping raise awareness for AIDS research... 

So what would you think if you saw someone wearing these?

Aside from the shock that someone would actually wear them... ha! You probably don't know....

Just a few weeks ago Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away from Pancreatic Cancer. Although a lot of people changed their Facebook profile pictures to the black apple symbol with his face profile as the "bite" out of the apple... The official color of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness- is purple.

This month especially you're seeing a lot of Pink. 
NFL players are rocking pink socks, pink mouth guards, pink shoes. Race for the Cure 5k's are inundated with pink feather boa's and tutus, and companies from Kitchenaid... all the way down to NASCAR are sporting pink right now.


A portion of the proceeds for most of the specialty colored products go to support breast cancer research. 
We get it! 

Last year my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The only way I found out was because while I was home one day she couldn't go to the lake with me and walk because she said she had a doctors appointment. 

For what I asked?
"Oh they removed some cancerous tumor from my breast a few weeks ago and now I have to go in for radiation. It only takes a few minutes. I'll meet you at the lake"

She was very nonchalant about the whole thing.
 As she walked out the door I looked over at my dad with my eyes bulging out of my head, and a look of confusion on my face...of course his face was all winced up as he held back tears. Hello? Why wasn't this a part of the conversations I'd had with them over the past month? She'd go on and on about the stitching for the new place mats she was sewing for my "casserole night" dinner parties, but failed to mention anything about having cancer. That's my mom. 

I could just imagine what went through her mind when they told her. Here are a few I'm sure would have rolled right off her tongue... or maybe even did...
"Suck it up"
"I'll offer it up for penance"
"Tough Shit"

Well she probably wasn't that concerned, because funding has been phenomenal for breast cancer, and she didn't really have much to worry about...

Well either way, sending her a bouquet of pink flowers to commemorate her being cancer free the following October - wasn't something she'd really be that impressed by. She's too practical. 
"Flowers die.What a waste" 
 So I decided that, thanks to all that research, she was able to fight it... and my way of giving back, was to say "yes" every time I was asked at the grocery store if I wanted to donate to Breast Cancer research. Remember I'm very forgetful, so sometimes I'd find myself at the grocery store more than once a day... and then of course there's the pharmacy, and Target, and every other retailer in the world... I felt pretty confident I did my fair share of funding that month. 

Well, one of my good friends is celebrating a birthday in October, but for her, the month of November is really a month to celebrate.
 Her father passed away from Pancreatic Cancer, like Steve Jobs, just before we became roommates. I was aware of the low survival rates for that kind of cancer, but I was floored with just HOW severe and un-talked about, it really is. 

Luckily, that same year Randy Pausch made a splash in the awareness community when he held his "Last Lecture" at Carnegie Mellon University. But this time, his lecture wasn't for his students, it was for his kids... It was his last chance to give them guidance.
His diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer...was a death sentence.

Then Oprah took notice and the whole world heard his "Last Lecture", and we all lost our marbles.... 
And then, it was etched in history... as it was published in book form as "The Last Lecture". 
For the first time... It brought it to the forefront Pancreatic Cancer - and it's severity... as the deadliest form of cancer out there. 

When her dad was diagnosed...My new roommate had quit her job and moved home to help her mom care for him in his last days. As we talked about it, just a few days after she moved in, I was amazed at how poised and serene she was given that he had died just a few weeks prior. I of course was a teary mess.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when just a few months later she was asking for a ride to the airport. 
Where are you going I asked...
"A meeting at the White House to try and get more attention and funding for Pancreatic Cancer "

Talk about taking matters into your own hands. She was only 27 years old!
She came back with pictures and memories... but more importantly... she was armed with a plan. 
There were a lot of advocates holding events to raise awareness and she wanted to join them. The next thing you know we were at a park on a Saturday morning decked out in purple walking with about 100 people to raise money for research. 
Then I was making curry guacamole in a funny costume to raise money, and she was off to meetings and D.C. again and the next thing you know it's time for our fundraising walk again, only this time... it's at a different park. 
What's wrong with the old one I asked?
Won't hold 700 people she responded... 
She raised $70,000 in money for Pancreatic Cancer research that year at that walk alone.

So what do you get one of the most amazing people you know, who has a thing for purple... and you've promised not to buy anything new for a year?
Well as I perused AmVets the other day (thrift store)... I couldn't help but spot the sparkle of purple sequins on a size 9 high heel. Her size. But there was only one. I had employees looking, kids looking, I was even digging under bowls and other shoes and nothing... 

It was so reminiscent of Dorothy clicking her shoes together, wanting them to take her to a better place...

I wanted those shoes to signify my commitment to my friend and her efforts to get people suffering with Pancreatic Cancer to a better place, a chance for a cure.

I had to get it.
 One is better than none I figured. 

As I checked out, the cashier asked if I wanted to complete the pair as she pulled another purple sequin shoe from a box... :) Everything happens for a reason you know.

It's still October... but it's almost November and as I watch my mom and so many others diagnosed with breast cancer who are greeted with survival rates from 15-93%...

I can't help but think about all those people who hear a Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis... and doctors who can't promise ANY rates of survival. The best they can offer is a max of 5 years
... to live. 

I'm hoping those shoes will remind her to never give up, and I hope this blog will reach a few more people who might think about November as Pancreatic Purple month and help. Randy Pausch, my friends dad - Jerry Vanderkam, Patrick Swayze, and now Steve Jobs....

Maybe K-Swiss could make a portion of the flying purple people eaters go to PanCan...

Or maybe next year I'll be able to order her a purple Kitchenaid Mixer and have a portion of the proceeds go to what matters to her most.... Kitchenaid? are you listening?

1 comment:

  1. Annie! Thanks for making me tear up at my new job! Seriously, that was so touching and THANK YOU for those shoes, I am going to rock them at a PanCan event coming soon. I LOVE YOU!!