My friend Alicia came in to the shop a month ago to get some fine highlights of teal and purple woven into her bright blonde hair. As a successful business owner, she had initially been trepidatious about adding color to her hair, but once she did it, she felt free and enjoyed her artistic flair emitting from her colorful tresses. But she ultimately saw something bigger could be achieved by this hair color trend.
After accepting the ice bucket challenge that was all the rage this summer, she knew the power of social media was compulsively strong. But her cousin Angie passed away from breast cancer, after her third remission. Her family had experienced cancer, her friends had experienced cancer, and the fight remains real to this very day. Alicia contributed to the events that inspired me to join the Follea ICARe team. Her heartbreaking story of love and pain trying to help her cousin as she suffered through the effects of breast cancer, and trying to normalize her appearance; she had to travel 3 1/2 hours away to find someone who could help Angie purchase, cut, and color a wig to feel like she at least appeared normal, even as her body betrayed her. Why was there nothing closer to help? Angie passed away this spring.
In memory of Angie and all of our friends and family we have watched suffer and pass, or better yet, LIVE, we have begun the pink hair challenge. Whether one colors a little or a lot, the pink hair challenge is to remind us that breast cancer affects all of us. With awareness campaigns and fund raising ventures in every sector, people are being diagnosed more quickly and the survival rate has risen exponentially. Yet the cause is still unknown. The treatments are harrowing on the body and soul. A cure is not yet here.
You may ask why breast cancer? There are so many different cancers that are just as bad, and some are worse. This is all true, but because of that, the American Cancer Society has chosen to try to focus on specific cancers to consolidate the financial resources to become most effective for research and development. The choice was made to focus on breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men, because of the inherent taboos associated with these particular body parts. If we make it forefront in people’s minds, they may be more willing to have regular checkups so that abnormalities can be detected earlier and present better survival rates.
I wear pink hair for my grandmother. I wear pink hair for Mrs. Tarter. I wear pink hair for Jennifer. I wear pink hair for Angie. I wear pink hair to show my love and compassion and awe for those who have fought and continue to fight this dreadful disease. I would love for you to join me. Mark your photos #pinkhairchallenge. A little or a lot. Just do it.