One thing I know for certain is that things have changed as a result of my surgery. Let me explain. Before the double mastectomy and before anything ever happened with my breasts, people looked into my eyes when they greeted me. Since then, friends and acquaintances have looked down at my breasts first and then looked up to meet my eyes. Some may think I am being overly sensitive or paranoid, but I’m not. Trust me, as a small B cup before surgery, my breasts weren’t a source of interest to anyone. But now they are, and that makes me feel uncomfortable and different from before. I even notice close friends paying extra attention to my chest at times. Most have embraced me and been elated and encouraged by my strength during this journey. But I wouldn’t be totally honest if I didn’t say, in some cases, that when some people greeted me, it seemed like they felt sorry for me. And this created anxiety.
The first organized effort to bring widespread awareness to breast cancer occurred as a weeklong event in the U.S. in October 1985 through a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of Astra-Zeneca). The mission was to educate and empower women to take charge of their breast health. In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation first handed out pink ribbons to participants in its NYC race for breast cancer survivors. Two years later, Evelyn Lauder, SVP of the Estee Lauder Companies, founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and established the pink ribbon as its symbol.