I lost my twin sister, Tracy Frank, to breast cancer in 2014. After two prior battles with breast cancer, I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer six months after laying her to rest. Needless to say, “I get it.”
My favorite word in life right now is “choices.” I believe we all have choices regarding where we spend our time and money, how we fight for a cause, who we surrounded ourselves with, and what attitude we bring to each day. These are things in our control.
I am deeply disappointed about the choices the METUP leadership has and continues to take. What happened to your original vision?
“METUP was born out of an idea for creating action. We began with strong leadership and have led with it ever since. It’s our goal to continue to inspire others to learn more and do as much as they can; whatever that looks like to them.”
I ceased my participation with MetUp years ago when MetUp stopped inspiring and started criticizing and being divisive. With the “anti-pink” strategy, the MetUp position was that too many funds are going to the early stages and not enough to “us” – those with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. The logo of MetUp remains “Pink is not a cure.” Since pink triggers donations to breast cancer overall, why criticize it? Childhood cancer’s color is gold, Pancreatic cancer is purple, etc. I don’t see other organizations bashing the color of a wrist band or a tutu.
Fast forward to September 2019 and the launch of #CureKomen. I’m disturbed and concerned about your new campaign. I believe it hurts all of us Stage IV ‘metavivors’, all cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and families impacted by cancer. Your spin on the numbers and negativity hurts all cancers, too, not just breast cancer.
- Every major breast cancer breakthrough in the past 50 years can be traced back to federally funded research. The largest funder of cancer research is the federal government. Despite strong public support for cancer research, funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) remains lower than it was before the 2008 recession when adjusted for inflation. Why can’t MetUp use its platform and voice to encourage Congress to increase funding to both the NCI and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)? This is an example of a positive impact; an example of advocacy, not protesting.
- The American Cancer Society is the second-largest source of cancer research. It hosts consumer-facing awareness events (such as pink walks) as well as complex back-end research funding and initiatives. MetUp’s voice-through-advocacy with The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN) can make a positive impact as well. Here in the state of Washington, I lobbied with ACSCan on Capitol Hill and we passed a bill in state legislature raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. We are saving lives.
- Why not an “and” vs. “or”? Why not an “us” vs. “we/they”? Our cancer world needs day-to-day programs for patients and their families AND research to kick cancer’s butt. Are MetUp members using the great programs offered by multiple non-profit organizations including Susan G. Komen, the American Cancer Society and more? Does MetUp see the value of the patient programs for underserved communities and everyone impacted by cancer?
- Why attack Susan G. Komen? Why have an attack strategy at all? Why pick on one of many organizations trying to move the huge cancer needle in very different ways? Susan G. Komen, like so many other non-profits, works hard to improve their impact. They know the pressure they are under and how they are measured. I trust the leadership is taking them in the right direction. Have you studied their new and significant focus on metastatic and the 4 pillars of research, care, community, and action?
I find MetUp’s recent #CureKomen and subsequent protests distasteful and negative. This bullying is the very last thing we need as a cancer community. MetUp is hurting our combined efforts to crush cancer and help cancer patients today and tomorrow.
Yes, Stage IV metastatic breast cancer sucks. I don’t focus on dying; what matters is what we do while we are living. I choose positivity, hope, inspiration, advocacy, fundraising, and volunteerism. What is MetUp going to choose going forward?
3-time Cancer Survivor, Metavivor, currently living with Stage IV metastatic