October: It’s Not About Pink…

If you go out in public, then you know October is breast cancer awareness month and it’s all about pink. It’s become the beacon for a worthwhile cause and it’s found its way onto everything from football cleats to hair ribbons and everything in between. But I think pink is just the packaging for something much bigger, much more meaningful.

This morning, I attended the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in San Diego’s picturesque¬†(despite the uncharacteristic drizzle) Balboa Park . It’s the third time I’ve attended and for the third time, I’ve left feeling the same way.

This snapshot of walkers crossing the Balboa Park bridge was the view from my vantage point for over a half-hour after the walk began.

Outlandish outfits bearing creative anatomical slogans, all manner of costume decoration, pink-dyed goatees, and believe it or not, even plain pink t-shirts. But its not about pink.

What I saw and what I left with (again) was something other than pink; Teams of corporate employees marching together, a lone husband and wife, volunteers leading cheers at the start of the route, pink-costumed groups of walkers, a mother with her young daughter, a self-conscious woman who I imagined might be walking for the first time, individuals quietly walking alone holding “In Memory Of” signs bearing the picture of a lost loved one.¬† Each of those “snapshots” probably has a story behind it, along with the 24,000+ other walkers there.

After the walk, through a personal connection I was privileged to meet a family who lost their wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend earlier this year. They wore white t-shirts with the team name of their loved one. There were probably hundreds of similar groups there, but when you’re privileged enough to know part of their story, its indescribably more than a t-shirt. In a word, its humbling and while I spoke briefly with the woman’s husband and parents, anything I said was inadequate. When they walked away, I had a tear in my eye as I marveled at their courage to show up and voluntarily subject themselves to such a vivid reminder of an ugly disease.

No doubt, scenes like this play out all over and for any number of worthy causes. Do you have any “snapshots” that put the meaning behind pink?