The Scariest Thing I Did At BlogHer'10

I did the scariest thing I've done in years at BlogHer'10. I signed up to run (yes, emphasis on the run) in Ottawa's 5km Run for the Cure. It's Laurie Kingston's fault. She posted on Twitter and Facebook and then posted an open letter on her blog asking if anyone would be up for running on a team called "No Pink For Profit." Laurie would have to put it in a way that leaves me no choice but to say yes.

Some of you may think that this is not a BlogHer post, but it is. Without BlogHer I would not know Laurie. We would not be friends.

A few years ago (2006 I think) I started noticing someone commenting on my posts at BlogHer. Usually the Canadian posts but sometimes book posts as well. I commented back and eventually started following their blog. It was Laurie and her blog Not Just About Cancer. Thanks to BlogHer and our blogs, and eventually Twitter and Facebook, Laurie and I became online friends. I remember the day that she posted that her cancer had returned. I cursed and threw something at the wall. I was pissed. I was mad. I was scared. And at that point I hadn't even met her.

A few years later I ended up moving to the same city she lives in and we became friends live and in person. We meet up as often as our schedules allow and sit in a pub, drink pints, knit and get caught up on our lives. You know, the parts that don't make it onto the Internet.

As I got to know Laurie better I became increasingly aware of how much pink for profit campaigning there is every year. I was aware of it before I knew her. I remember being particularly disgusted by a promotion where if you spent $$$ on a new mattress you'd get a special! limited edition! pink sheep! Of course, a portion of the profits made go to breast cancer research. I was cynical and avoided them, preferring to give my money to actual charities.

I became increasing aware of how wide-spread it was thanks to posts like Suzanne Reisman's, "Pink Ribbon Madness: Say No To Breast Cancer Exploitation for Corporate Profit." Yes, buy a can of soup that we've slapped a pink ribbon on and we'll all be saved. (Oh and yes we'll make money if you buy a lot of them but shhhh let's not talk about that.) I knew that these campaigns often hurt breast cancer survivors but it became more than that -- they were hurting my friend. Now I wouldn't just avoid these pink for profit, I'd swear when I saw them. I've been known to rant occasionally. (Shocking, I realize.)

So yes, when Laurie asked if anyone would sign up for her No Pink for Profit team I couldn't say no. Money does need to be raised for more research, and I'll run to do that. I'm thrilled with the subversiveness of the No Pink for Profit message that will be splayed across my t-shirt as I run to raise money for it.

And that is no small statement. I don't exercise. I like to describe my coordination as that of a dead drunk sloth caught in a wind machine. (Description stolen and always cited to Joshilyn Jackson who said in a blog post once.) I trip over my own feet on the sidewalk. I am, quite simply, not an athlete.

But I am doing this. I am doing this because a friend asked me for help with something that is important to her. I am doing this because I am capable of it. I'm doing this because I'd like to live in a time when breast cancer is not something that can be used as a fear tactic to sell products for a profit.

I'm doing it because I can.

If you feel so inclined you can find out more about the No Pink for Profit team and make a donation on our team page. If you are in Ottawa I hope that you will come out and cheer for us on October 3.