Tuesday, April 24, 2012


It's Day 24 of the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. Yesterday's challenge was to write about anything I wanted. And I wanted to write about nothing. So that's what I did!

Today, however, the challenge is thus: "Give your health focus a mascot." I've been thinking about this since yesterday (knowing I was going to be writing about it today), and I had a few ideas, but the most poignant one I could come up with to represent breast cancer is something we actually all possess. It's different for each and every one of us. And yet it's the same. 

So what is it?

It's YOU. As a child. Little you, with a fresh face and creaseless skin and not a care in the world (other than having to stop playing in order to come in for dinner). It's the you that you were way before life's inequities entered the room. Before you realized that life was unfair, and difficult, and oh-so-messy. Well before you had to worry about everything yourself.

The age at which we were this innocent, this unscathed, this scarless varies by person, of course; but we all started out this way — protected from the reality of life and all that can go right and wrong.

Putting a face on my cancer means showing the world the innocence I once knew. That face is the essence of who I was then — but also who I still am now. I wrote some solid advice to my 16-year-old self on Day 10 of this challenge (read that here), and it can easily be applied to a child, any child, at any age. Even the 2-year-old above.

If we view cancer through the eyes of a child (and not through the artificial prism of Pink that has covered breast cancer like, well, like a cancer) we can connect with the need and desire to protect our inner (and outer) child from a similar fate. 

Find a photo of a very young you and make it your mascot. Look in your eyes. What do you see? That's the essence of you. If you have kids, you'll see them in there too. (If you don't have kids, you will see other people's kids.) 

So how do we protect these innocent children from ever having to go through a cancer diagnosis themselves? We can start by being a part of the search for prevention, the search for a cure. Sign up with the Army of Women. You don't need to have breast cancer to join the force. You just need to be a woman. Because that is the one risk factor we all share.


  1. Renn,
    This is so wonderful. Everything takes on a different perspective when seen through the eyes of a child. I love your idea to find a photo of my young self and make it into my mascot. I think I just might do it!

  2. Renn, I agree with Nancy. My profile picture on facebook is a 5-year-old Jan with her older brother Roy. In today's blog I chose my brother for my mascot, but I can also choose myself. What a great idea! xx

  3. I am totally inspired by you, I love the idea of putting a picture of my young self on my sites. Once I am back on Facebook at the end of the month, I am going to post one. I am on a 30 day cleanse right now. Thank you for posting this on your blog:)

  4. Thanks ladies! You all inspire me!

    I never want to forget that sensitive little girl that started this journey with me — ME. ;-)

  5. you were so adorable and you still are...great words...buddy was always my inner child, but i guess i am now my own inner child. xoxoxo m

  6. Thanks M! You were always your own inner child. Buddy simply played you on the big screen. ;-)


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