This October, we’re proving that Breast Cancer Isn’t Just Pink
Each year in Ireland, 3,704 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s 3,704 unique journeys, thousands of treatment appointments, countless conversations, emotions and experiences and even more colours. Every. Single Year. So how could breast cancer be Just Pink?
This October, we are continuing a conversation we started last year, opening up Breast Cancer Awareness Month to be inclusive of all experiences and diagnosis, highlighting that it is ok to have good days and bad days, that no journey is the same and therefore breast cancer can’t be just one colour. Like every breast cancer journey, each breast cancer survivor is unique, and so, with the help of our sponsor Roche Products Ireland and partner Fleetwood Paints, we worked with a select group of women to show how a colour can articulate and represent the deeply personal, and unique experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Watch these four brave women , Carly, Pascaline, Barbara and Tracy share their experiences and the highs and lows of their journey with interior designer, colour specialist and Fleetwood Pain ambassador, Roisin Lafferty, to create their true breast cancer colour.
Roisin helped the ladies find their breast cancer colour, but their journey started long before this campaign. Read their full story from diagnosis to present day, and learn what they would like you to know by clicking the images below.
With the help of the fantastic team of Fleetwood Paints, we were able to select bespoke colours for our breast cancer advocates, and now, it’s your turn! Click here to take our #NotJustPink quiz and discover the colour of your breast cancer journey.
Following on from the success of last year’s campaign we wanted to make sure that once again, all experiences and voices were heard. Our CEO and breast cancer survivor Liz Yeates, discusses her personal connection to this campaign.
“As a breast cancer survivor myself, I am deeply aware that the road after a breast cancer diagnosis is very rarely an easy one. More and more people each year in Ireland are being diagnosed with cancer, and with this breast cancer campaign, we want to ensure that those who don’t feel a connection to the “pinkness” of breast cancer are listened to, heard, and acknowledged. To all cancer patients and survivors across Ireland, we hear you, and we want you to know that the Marie Keating Foundation is always here to support you, at every step of your cancer journey.”
While creating space for every kind of breast cancer journey, this campaign also serves as a reminder to look after our health and to be breast aware and the importance of early detection. After the last 18 months of hardship and isolation, Prof. Seamus O’Reilly explains the importance of campaigns like the Marie Keating Foundation’s #NotJustPink campaign.
“Campaigns such as this help to remind the public of the need to perform regular self-examinations and if they are concerned about a symptom or a change in their body then they should contact their GP or a health care professional. Early detection is key in the fight against breast cancer. This campaign highlights the unique journey of every breast cancer patient and aims to assure survivors and those newly diagnosed that, whilst they may be experiencing a unique journey, they are not alone”
#NotJustPink is proudly supported by
Breast Cancer Isn't Just Pink 2020
Breast Cancer Isn't Just Pink.
Breast Cancer Isn't Just Pink, is a new campaign to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month which acknowledges that everyone's breast cancer journey is unique and individual and can, at times be filled, with dark and difficult moments. It's a kaleidoscope of different emotions and experiences so why would breast cancer be just pink?
1 in 10 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and it is the most common cancer in women in Ireland. Each year approximately 3,351 cases are diagnosed, and sadly 728 people die from the disease.
The colour pink has become synonymous with breast cancer, however many patients experience darker moments, have difficulties dealing with the stark reality of a cancer diagnosis and some can feel alienated by the overwhelmingly positive ‘pinkness’ that dominates the movement.
We have listened to your feedback, and so this Breast Cancer Awareness month, we are presenting a new campaign highlighting the realities, and the individuality of our four incredible ambassador's breast cancer journeys and we have asked them what colour represents their breast cancer journey.
One story that needs to be told this breast cancer awareness month belongs to our friend Deirdre Kelleher Dowling. Deirdre was a fierce advocate for breast cancer awareness and a valued member of our Positive Living Family. A loving mother, wife and compasionate nurse for many years, Deirdre sadly passed away before the Breast Cancer Isnt Just Pink campaign could be launched, but we would like to honour her memory and share her story all the same. Please click here to read Deirdre's story in full.
Professor Janice Walsh, consultant medical oncologist at St Vincent's Hospital and Adelaide and Meath Hospital, welcomes this inclusive breast cancer campaign, said “Cancer services have been hit badly by COVID-19, with many referring to it as the ‘forgotten C’. Symptomatic clinics and breast cancer screening need urgent resources and prioritisation to ensure that a second casualty of the pandemic is not needless deaths from cancer due to late detection. I am proud to support this campaign which puts the patient at the centre and highlights the uniqueness of every breast cancer journey. This campaign aims to highlight these issues while reassuring newly diagnosed patients that we are seeing improved quality of life and better outcomes thanks to advancements in treatment and care – but early diagnosis is key."
For me breast cancer is..... Green. Green represents the ongoing growth and progress in breast cancer research.
Liz Yeates, CEO and Marie Keating Foundation, and breast cancer survivor said:“Each patient’s cancer journey is unique, and often a range of feelings are experienced, culminating in an entire spectrum of colours and emotions. Not everyone feels ‘pink’ at all times, and that’s okay! Pink does represent many journeys or moments in journeys, but we have heard at times in response to our own campaigns, that many patients and survivors don’t identify with ‘pink’ and in fact feel it does not represent their experience of breast cancer. With this campaign, we have put the patient voice and experience first, where it should be, and hope it will open up a healthy, needed debate on the ‘colour of cancer’. We know how unique each person’s experience is, and we understand how difficult cancer can be. We are here to support patients at every stage, from bright to darker moments, and everything in between."
For me breast cancer is..... Yellow. Yellow represents the most beautiful, life sized, get-well card I received on the day after my diagnosis - handcrafted especially for me by my amazing colleagues showing support and love and reminding me every day that I wasn’t in this on my own. Yellow was the colour of the stunning sunflowers that grew in my garden that summer where I retreated so often to gather my strength. Yellow represents the light glimmering at the end of a long, long tunnel which initially was pale and weak but steadily grew stronger and brighter drawing me towards it as I progressed through my treatment.
Proudly supported by
Glam Up Your Bra and Support Your Girls 2019
Bras are used for support and are unique to each person, with different styles, shapes and sizes just as everyone’s breast cancer journey is personal to them.
This campaign, in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Roche, is calling on individuals and businesses around Ireland to get behind the campaign and donate €4 by texting ‘Marie’ to 50300* for breast cancer support and awareness services.
Text costs €4. MKF will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider LIKECHARITY. Helpline 076 6805278.
To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month a group of Irish personalities, creatives and breast cancer advocates launched the Glam Up Your Bra – Support Your Girls Campaign in aid of The Marie Keating Foundation to help raise much needed funds for breast cancer awareness.
Proudly supported by
#TakeNotice Campaign 2018
In 2018 during breast cancer awareness month, we put a lump on the world's most touched breast in an effort to bring attention to the importance of being breastaware. Working in partnership with Rothco, the campaign ran throughout the month of October and encourgaed women not to let changes go unnoticed when it came to their breasts.
Never let a change in your breast go unnoticed.
Perform this simple breast self-examination regularly.
Every month, one week after your period is the best time. If you're menopausal, check on the same day every month.
Stand in front of the mirror with your hands raised. Look for puckering, dimpling, redness or any changes in size or shape.
Using your fingers, rotate around the breast. Feel for lumps, thickening or bumps. Don't forget your armpit, as breast tissue also extends there.
Gently squeeze the nipple to check for any discharge, crusting or inversion.
Out the Other Side Campaign 2015
‘Out the Other Side’ captures real life stories of breast cancer survivors. Developed by Roche in partnership with the Marie Keating Foundation, the initiative aims to offer encouragement to cancer survivors and those living with the disease.
There are currently almost 28,000 women in Ireland who have survived breast cancer. Since 1987, the number of women who have died from breast cancer has decreased by almost a third. In women less than 50 years of age, it has dropped by almost half.
Despite clinical advances, breast cancer stories are still often rooted in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. The ‘Out the Other Side’ campaign aims to highlight how advances in treatment are enabling more and more women to survive breast cancer than ever before
This campaign captures the real-life stories and photographs of ten Irish women, who have survived breast cancer. It was initially displayed through a unique exhibition installed in St. Stephen’s Green Park, Dublin, during October 2015, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Watch a video about this moving exhibition, below.
Following the success of the Dublin exhibition, it has been decided to take this unique information campaign around Ireland. The hope is that the stories shared will be a source of comfort and hope to people all over the country at various stages of their cancer journey. It has since been in display in University Hospital Galway and it currently being exhibited in the Whitty Building in the Mater Hospital Dublin until 12 May 2016. Future venues will follow.
Roche and the Marie Keating Foundation hope the Out the Other Side initiative will encourage cancer survivors to seek help and support, understand how cancer has affected them and give them the tools to rebuild and enjoy their lives. If you or a loved one are a cancer survivor and would like support, please see our Survive and Thrive page for information on upcoming free survivorship courses.
About the women in Out the Other Side
All of the ten women featured in Out the Other Side have survived breast cancer and have benefited from the services offered by the Marie Keating Foundation in some way. All of the women featured are also living proof that it is possible not only to come out the other side of a breast cancer diagnosis, but to thrive and grow after it.
They participated in this initiative to help us highlight that beating breast cancer is not the end of the journey for survivors. Overcoming the physical threat is merely the first step. Just as important is the advancement to rise above the psychological challenge, to cement recovery and learn to once again thrive and lead a fulfilling life.
Each story captured in the exhibition comprised of three elements: a shared personal experience of surviving breast cancer; a photograph of each survivor as they are today; and a photograph shared by these women that they feel represents their ‘survivorship milestone’, essentially, what surviving breast cancer has meant to each of these women.
The emotional nature of the survivor’s stories varied from elation to anti-climax, happiness to sadness and were infused with humour and irreverence, guilt, gratitude and confusion. This was an important factor in the concept of the campaign because just like breast cancer no survivor’s journey is the same.
It was therefore imperative that the actual telling of the stories was handled with compassion and sensitivity. The striking images for the exhibition were captured by acclaimed Irish photographer Gerry Andrews, whose personal experience of losing his wife 11 years ago to this devastating disease drove him to get involved.
His outstanding images proved the perfect companions for the vivid words of specialist medical writer, Dawn O’Shea, who helped bring the emotive stories to life in a compassionate manner.
If you or a loved one is a cancer survivor and would like advice and support, please visit our Survive and Thrive page to see if there are any upcoming free courses or workshops in your area.
Breast Cancer Resources
To view our information leaflet on signs and symptoms, click here.
For advice on excerise after breast cancer surgey click here.
Download a copy of our information leaflet on how to understand breast changes here
To read our booklet on information regarding coping with advanced breast cancer, click here.
Download a copy of our breast cancer infographic here.