When I read yesterday that Susan G. Komen has decided to end hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual grants toPlanned Parenthood for breast cancer screening and related services, I immediately thought of two women:
- My mother, Janet Stone, a breast cancer survivor
- @Whymommy">@Whymommy or Susan Niebur of Toddler Planet, whose blogging about life with inflammatory breast cancer is an act of grace and leadership
Every woman in my family eventually gets breast cancer. We're drawn that way. But none of us Stones has ever experienced the excruciating five years of treatment undergone by Susan.
Susan, who blew tear ducts across the Internets with In the Name of Awareness, a post about playing "What Color is Your Bra" on Facebook, post-mastectomy. Read it and open a hidden door into the secret garden inhabited by breast cancer survivors that most people will never visit. (More on one of her awards, here.)
Susan has been a constant drum-beat for awareness about the disease, for identifying and owning the self and the sacrifices of the treatment, for tesseracting fear and pain to care for her family.
Because Susan's complete and utter awesomeness has reached sooo far across cyberspace and beyond, Susan's buddies from The DC Moms would like to extend an invitation to anyone and everyone who has been touched by our pal to contribute to a '@whymommy love fest'...We're making THE most incredible digital card that has ever been made to show Susan just HOW much she is loved."
As Susan blogged her cancer -- as a woman, as a patient, as a mother, as a wife -- others have added their voices as they fight it too, including Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing and 117-hudson. Look at these brave posts, at the work these women are doing to educate other women, to help us be aware, to raise money, to urge us get treatment, to own this disease as a community.
Melissa Ford's piece on Susan's love fest -- an unsung media oddity in the era of headlining Kutcher-Moore messes -- applies to each of these women's offerings for me:
This is the side of social media that almost never makes the news. It isn't sensational, it isn't about celebrity, it isn't about treating each other poorly.
"But it is the story we should be telling: about how one woman is writing about her personal experience with a disease and educating many about the lesser known inflammatory breast cancer. And how the people she is reaching have organized a way to harness that same social media to give her a figurative hug." More
You know where BlogHer stands: We're non-partisan because we exist to create a global stage where our bloggers can be so partisan. And as an American, I'm religious about your right to free speech, no matter what side of the abortion issue you embrace.
That said, I must also share that I am horrified by this turn of events, at a time when America's health care lags at #37 and exhibits dramatic differences based on race and income. Just as women are about more than our breasts, so is health care for women about more than abortions. Especially the kind of primary health care that Planned Parenthood has been providing for years to women and children who otherwise couldn't afford it.
I hope the Susan G. Komen organization is listening. I welcome your thoughts.
RH Reality Check: The Cancerous Politics and Ideology of the Susan G. Komen Foundation
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