This Breast-Cancer Ribbon Has a Different Take on Pink. Here’s What It Means

Another difficult fact in life in 2020: Pretty much all of us love someone who has had breast cancer, and too many of us love someone who has metastatic breast cancer (MBC). It also means that the disease has spread to other organs, typically the liver, lungs, brain, or bones, and patients have an average life expectancy of just 24 to 36 months. While 30 percent of early-stage breast cancer patients find their disease metastatic at some point, and 115 people die from MBC every day - like a plane falling from the sky - less than 5 percent of the total raised for breast cancer goes to research into treatments for metastatic breast cancer .
Metastatic Breast Cancer Ribbon Charm from Metavivor, $ 5.
With kind permission of Metavivor.
This frustrating fact is why more and more people are adopting a Breast Cancer Education ribbon that is more than just pink. This instantly recognizable pink ribbon was created by Self in 1992 and is often associated with early detection and celebration of survivors - but there are no surviving or "beating" MBCs. A newer tri-color MBC tape is designed to alert people to the need for more funding to develop life-extending treatments. Green stands for the triumph of spring over winter, life over death; blue-green symbolizes healing and spirituality; and a thin overlay of pink bands indicates metastatic cancer originating in the breast.
“There is often a misconception that breast cancer can be cured. We want to share with all who will listen that there are none. "
Part of the reason the MBC tape went mainstream is because of a creative initiative that sheds light on the tri-color tape and its cause - literally (and beautifully). It's called #LightUpMBC. On Tuesday, October 13th, more than 115 landmarks around the world will glow in green, pink and teal, symbolizing the more than 115 people per day who die from the disease. Illuminated landmarks range from towering skyscrapers (like the One World Trade Center) to natural wonders (Niagara Falls) that span all 50 states and beyond. And this year you can see the sights from the comfort of your home thanks to #LightUpMBC Live, a virtual benefit that takes place on October 13th at 8 p.m. EST on @METAvivor Facebook Live and on
Some of the landmarks that lit up in green, pink, and teal at previous #LightUpMBC events. Click here for a full list of participating attractions in 2020.
Harrisburg, PA: Main Building
Tiffany Eckels O'Donnell / Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
Charlotte, NC: Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center
Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
New York, NY: 230 Park Avenue
Tami Eagle / Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
Philadelphia, PA: Boathouse Row
Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
Grand Rapids, MI: McKay Tower
Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
Fort Wayne, IN: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge
Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
Eagan, MN: Sperry Tower
Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
Canada: Calgary Tower
Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
Portsmouth, NH: Memorial Bridge
Shawn Pierce Photography / Courtesy of #LightUpMBC
The benefit will include inspirational stories from patient ambassadors like Chawnte Randall, raising awareness that the death rate for black women with MBC is 40 percent higher. Adiba Barney, author of the upcoming book If Life Gives You Cacti Make Margaritas; and Dee Lakhani Shravah, who found a lump during a self-exam and was diagnosed with MBC just before her 40th birthday. Veteran Kirby Lewis will talk about his mastectomy (because yes, men get breast cancer too), and Eva Crawford, mother of three, will talk about why pink isn't enough. The event will also feature musical performances by John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls and David Bryan of Bon Jovi, who won a Tony Award for the Broadway musical Diana. In addition to tune in, you can show support on social media: share a photo and / or story of someone who inspires you and add the hashtag #LightUpMBC and this donation link: By nominating friends to participate, you can help spread the word and raise funds for MBC research.
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