Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not Enough Pink!!!

The Atlanta leg of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk is scheduled for October 22-24, 2010. As we all know, I have been training for this 60 mile journey and fundraising to meet the minimum requirement for this event since January. I have put myself through dehydration, blistering, walking in a downpour, begging people for money, sun burning, suffering through allergic relations, etc, etc, etc. AND I AM STILL GOING STRONG!!!

I was really REALLY proud of myself....until my husband started questioning my decision to participate in the 3-Day because the 11Alive News Team is advertising another walk that only lasts an hour, has no minimum donation requirement, and no training is required. He wanted to know why I didn't pick that walk instead. So, there I was having to DEFEND MYSELF for walking the furthest distance I can to put an end to breast cancer and help Nancy G. Brinker fulfill her promise to her sister, Susan G. Komen.

Needless to say, I feel defeated!

But, my defeat does not end there...You see, there is salt to rub into this wound. I watched the 11Alive Morning News on a daily basis. I added them as a friend on facebook. I was happy that Donna Lowry spoke about breast cancer often and Karyn Greer read from pink paper. I was even elated to learn that channel 11 has a "Buddy Check Reminder" that can be sent to your cell phone to remind you to check your boobies. I was inspired to hear Karyn Greer is participating in the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" event at Atlantic Station on October 23, 2010....until I realized that not only was the "Making Strides" walk on the SAME SATURDAY I will be walking my second 20 miles, BUT channel 11 is designated as the Official Media Sponsor for BOTH events.

Can you guess which event they will be covering??? I did - it's not the 3-Day!

WHAT THE HELL??? Along with thousands of other walkers, I have been working so hard to meet these huge goals - raising a minimum $2,300 and walking 20 miles in a day only to find out that our media sponsor will be filming AT ANOTHER EVENT! 

I had such hopes that our efforts would be recognized, but no, instead, someone who just gets up on Saturday, October 23, 2010, decides "I'm going to fight breast cancer today," makes a $35.00 donation, and walks a mere 1.86 miles can be on TV and recognized for their contributions to the breast cancer cause by participating in the "Making Strides" event - while the thousands of walkers who have trained since January will walk 60 miles in media silence. How fair is that?

My feelings of defeat got so bad, I called the Coaches and asked them why our media sponsor is not supporting our event in the same way they are supporting the "Making Strides" event - you know: on air interviews with participants, coverage of preview parties, daily reminders of the event, etc., etc. You know what I found out? The contract for Atlanta's market only includes ads shown during the beginning of the year - the very same ads that got me rolling on the whole journey to begin with!!! ARGGGHH!!!

I stopped watching morning news. I now get up at 7 AM purposely missing all morning news. I can't take it anymore.

I have spent too much time, effort, and money training - buying training gear, waking up at 5:30 AM to drive 20+ miles to participate in team walks (on Saturdays & Sundays!), giving up several ENTIRE weekends to fundraise - just to wake up every weekday morning to see the news team blather on and on about how "you too can make a difference in fighting breast cancer by participating in this 3k..." while not even throwing a bone to our event.

I don't think I would be nearly as hurt or upset by this thing (because let's face it, the more people fighting breast cancer, the better) if the newscast would have at least acknowledged that the 3-Day existed or if the event they are promoting was on a different day. But, sitting there fully knowing that we can't get any TV coverage because other newscasts are not going to cover an event that is Officially Sponsored by a different station pisses me off. It angers me every time I see the 11Alive thing on my facebook, the pink boot in Wal-Mart, and hear my husband talk about the weatherman.

Granted, I didn't get into this thing seeking to be famous. I got into this thing to acknowledge that breast cancer needs to end. The whole point of walking this far and this long is to RAISE AWARENESS for this disease. Question is: How are 3-Day walkers in Atlanta supposed to raise awareness if our media sponsor refuses to cover the actual event? Just knowing how much has gone into training and fundraising and what not kills me. Then, knowing people like my team captain Michelle (who is in the process of completing her 3rd event) has raised awareness by flyers, talking to people, signs and banners instead of being able to tap into the greater Atlanta area news media because the 3-Day media sponsors are not as passionate about our 60 miles of walking as they are about their newscaster's 1.86 miles of walking, well that takes killing me with a daily dose of antifreeze to a stab in the heart.

Yet, it doesn’t end there….

There is also the fundraising end of things! I just checked the Making Strides site on Thursday, September 23, 2010 @ 10:18 AM. Guess what? Their reported TOTAL fundraising for this event is just above $130,000. The top 2 (that’s right, that's a TWO) Atlanta based 3-Day teams have risen just above $143,000 (as of Thursday, September 23, 2010 @ 10:24 AM) according to site. Top fundraiser for Making Strides: $ 3,550.00; Top fundraiser for Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure: $12,980.00. My team, (a total of 23 people) have raised just over $52,000 for the 3-Day while Atlanta area Wal-Marts (that’s right Atlanta AREA Wal-Marts!) raised just over $41,000. Oh, and to make matters worse, my understanding is: "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" is an event to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and funds raised, while earmarked for breast cancer, can be used to help fight all cancers not just breast cancer.....

Yet, Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event participants have yet to get major media coverage….. there is no pat on the back for walking 20 miles in a weekend while training. There is no – “wow, look these 23 people raised more money than Wal-Mart!” There is just our communities, our friends, our families, our teams and our blogs telling us how proud of our accomplishments they are. Unlike the Making Strides participants who are highlighted on the 11Alive Morning News on a weekly, if not daily (pink paper anyone?) basis. It completely makes me feel as if the outside world has yet to see the power of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and because of this other event, no one in Atlanta will. In other words, I am completely and utterly defeated.

Nancy G. Brinker wrote a post on September 21, 2010 called “Too Much Pink?” where she gives her views on whether or not there is too much pink in the world. She feels there isn’t enough pink – and in this case, I completely agree. There is pink in the 11Alive Morning News, there just isn’t enough……

Thanks for reading! ~ Deanna