I’ve written a fair amount about Rachel in the last year to convey the significance of her life and her work. Not only for the people who still grieve but for social change.
Like many of us Rachel was committed to rocking the status quo. Rachel was tired of the pink charade. She wanted progress. And she knew that millions (even billions) of well-meaning supporters could only get us so far if resources were siphoned into kitschy slogans and awareness campaigns that do more to misinform the public than raise its consciousness. Rachel knew that following the money would lead to key players in the breast cancer game. What’s more, she knew that their interests had a major impact on the rules and the outcomes. With nothing to lose but her life, she set out to expose it for what it was. She became a change agent.
And a lot has changed in the last year. Many have taken a questioning stance with regard to pink ribbon propaganda and the conflicts of interest between industry and advocacy. Organizations, journalists, health practitioners, and social instigators of all sorts have stepped forward to promote new ways of thinking about breast cancer. Rachel would be glad for that. But she would not be satisfied.
Not yet. Not until we know what causes breast cancer, how to prevent it, how to diagnose it more accurately and without undue harm, how to keep it from coming back, how to treat it with less invasive measures, how to keep people from dying from it. She would not be satisfied until the blinders are off for good and the full realities of breast cancer are revealed for all to see.
So today, I am not unlike the countless others who are trying to grasp life without Rachel. I join them in this day of remembrance. And I hope they will carry her work forward. I know I will.