Unchain my inbox

Dear everyone,

The next time you feel like sending me one of those chains about posting enigmatic stuff on your status to “raise awareness about breast cancer” please leave me out. Even better, please stop and think for a second. Seriously, if everyone did that, chain messages would never have been a thing in the first place.

Let’s just get this straight: breast cancer – or any  kind of cancer, come to that – sucks. We’ve all been touched by it to some extent, ourselves, our family, our friends and colleagues. I don’t need to tell you how much it sucks, you already know.

But here’s what bugs me about those chains :

“Raise awareness by sharing something with a secret meaning.”

Ok, that doesn’t even remotely make sense. Posting hearts, or the colour of your knickers, or “three months in Mexico” on your facebook status does not raise awareness. The people who know what it means already know, and those who don’t won’t know anything more. Do I really need to explain this point ? It makes you wonder if this wasn’t just started by someone who wanted to know about their friends’ underwear choices.

“And don’t tell the guys”

Seriously ? Ok, big scoop here, people: men have breasts (albeit usually rather smaller than ours), and they can get breast cancer too. In fact, the lack of awareness about this means that male breast cancer is often not detected as early as it is in women, and is therefore more often fatal. That sounds like a pretty good reason to include the guys to me !

And you know what, even those who don’t actually get breast cancer are affected by it. Spouses, fathers, sons, brothers – they are among the closest ones there to support those who are battling the crab, holding on with them through the bad times, celebrating with those who are victorious and mourning those who don’t make it. Please tell me how leaving them out is in any way a good thing?

I know these chains will keep going, and I know that many of my facebook friends will join in or send them on with the very best of intentions. Let’s get this straight too: I don’t think any less of you for joining in. My friends are kind, smart and lovely and I love them all dearly. I won’t be joining in that kind of chain for the reasons above, and now you know why.

But if you do a fun run, or a bake sale, or post an article to raise awareness and/or funds for breast cancer research, I’ll join in, I’ll share, I’ll sponsor you and most of all I will DEFINITELY eat those cakes. And I’ll also be there for you if you need support for yourself or a loved one, but let’s hope you never do.


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