Letter re: Komen and Kohl’s campaign imagery

Dr. Judith A. Salerno,
c/o Komen’s HQ,
5005 LBJ Freeway,
Suite 250,
Dallas, TX 75244.

Dear Dr Salerno,

I am writing to register my disappointment that Komen, in their partnership with Kohl’s department stores, has chosen to use the imagery of an elephant for their campaign, in what would appear to be a clear rip-off of the image used for the last few years by METAvivor in an attempt to get METASTATIC breast cancer to be the centre of the breast cancer debate. This is compounded by the campaign making no mention of METASTATIC Breast Cancer which actually IS the elephant in the room, and not the Pink Ribbon form of breast cancer that Komen has done so much to promote over the last 32 years.

It is especially disappointing as those of us who live with METASTATIC Breast Cancer had finally begun to think that Komen was waking up to our existence by becoming a part of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance; the stated goals of which are increasing knowledge and understanding, and making progress with research; though this would seem to be just within the METASTATIC Breast Cancer community. Why is this? For fear of offending or scaring the ‘survivors’? Because it is not good for the Pink Ribbon Image of breast cancer? Because it might offend survivors, or maybe more importantly your corporate sponsors?

Here in the UK there has been a recent campaign by Pancreatic Cancer Action where people with Pancreatic Cancer use the tag line “I wish I had breast cancer” because of the false impression that breast cancer is highly ‘curable’. I wonder how often anyone in organisations such as Komen actually think about those of us with METASTATIC breast cancer; who have to live with a disease that is killing us, and yet is trivialised as a pretty pink ribbon for ‘survivors’. But do we matter to such organisations? Not really, because you know we are going to die and so will not be a problem for too long.

I hope that you will reconsider this campaign, partly because Komen will be accepting Pinkwashed money from a company which stands to make a profit from it, but worse that you are using imagery that is already linked to METASTATIC Breast Cancer which only receives about 3% of research funding, with the other 97% going to early stage breast cancer which does not kill the patient.

Yours sincerely,

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