Blog Contributors

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Kate-Madonna Hindes is an industry leader and national author and speaker on emotional integrity and authenticity in today’s online media. Her columns are regularly published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Women of HR, GirlmeetsGeek, Brazen Careerist and JobDig. With 15+ years of combined, published, experience for news media, state government and Fortune 500 businesses, she regularly covers national Social Media Technology events from an HR / Recruiting perspective. “

{ReThink Your Pitch}” was originally published on GirlmeetsGeek on September 24, 2011. With permission, Pink Ribbon Blues is honored to publish a shortened version of the essay here.


Lani Horn (a.k.a. Chemobabe) is a social scientist in her “regular life.” She created ChemoBabe as a persona who could “talk back bluntly to the euphemistic ways people skirt the horror of cancer in everyday conversations.” Lani has shared her experiences and concerns about pink culture, the breast cancer Cause, and the industry that sometimes seems to focus more on reproducing itself than eradicating the disease and attending to the needs of the diagnosed.

Pink Ribbon Blues republished her essay Attention! — a commentary on Komen’s role in the cancer landscape and the “wee bloggers” who seek to hold the organization accountable. She also shares a video recounting the day she found out she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. “The calendar comes back to it each year.”


Following press coverage of Sarah Horton’s honest, opinionated diaries during her treatment for breast cancer in 2008, Sarah then began writing a book about her experience. Opinionated, outspoken and life-affirming, Being Sarah is also a protest call, angry, and questioning of the pink culture around breast cancer. In 2011 Sarah was recognized by an invitation to Her Majesty’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, and her book Being Sarah was Highly Commended by the British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Book Awards, calling it “well-written and intelligent.” Sarah is an experienced media commentator, and has spoken widely about her personal experiences of breast cancer; choice and control; the politics of the disease; and is a campaigner for more research into prevention of cancer. She also writes a blog where she shares her experiences of life after breast cancer treatment, the ups and downs, milestones and lingering fears, as well as joy in life, including photos and film. When she is not writing, Sarah is an artist, a film-maker, a knitter, a gardener and a runner. She lives in Liverpool, UK. Being Sarah by Sarah Horton is published by Wordscapes (£9.99, 272pp) and is available online at www.beingsarah.com or to order from bookshops.

Sarah Horton wrote an essay for Pink Ribbon Blues titled, “There Is More That Unites Us” and the Pink Ribbon Blues series “30 Days of Awareness” also includes, Excerpt from Being Sarahwhich explains how her participation in a dragon boat team 18 months after her diagnosis clarified for her that she would not be ‘branded’ by breast cancer.


Ronnie Hughes is the partner of Sarah Horton, author of ‘Being Sarah’ and a contributor to the Pink Ribbon Blues Blog. Together, in Britain, Ronnie and Sarah have run their social enterprise ‘a sense of place’ for nearly seventeen years. They’ve also spent the past five years in cancerland, as Ronnie has cared for Sarah throughout her treatments for breast cancer. Ronnie graduated from Liverpool University with a degree in Sociology, and then spent twenty years working in social housing. A place he has never really left. ‘If you get born, the least we grown-ups can do is provide you with a home. A decent shelter to build your life around,’ he says. Ronnie has become increasingly involved in his partner Sarah’s blog, co-editing and contributing articles, about his role as a care-giver, but also around his particular enthusiasms of walking, running, music and his beloved Liverpool.

Of late, Ronnie has been intrigued by the growing critique of pink ribbon culture and industry in the United States, a topic gaining worldwide attention particularly with regard to the most recent missteps of the largest breast cancer charity in the world, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. With a wicked sense of humor, Ronnie writes about Komen’s damaged reputation. Published simultaneously on Being Sarah, here is Ronnie Hughes’s satirical comment, “Has Komen ‘Lost the Brand’?


Breast Cancer Action’s executive director Karuna Jaggar has a vision for health equity in which every woman affected by breast cancer has the power and knowledge to make informed decisions that enable them to take control of their healthcare. This includes a woman’s right to access affordable treatment options, to create individualized treatment plans that reflect personal values and priorities, and to avoid involuntary exposure to environmental toxins. Karuna is an unapologetic patient advocate for close family members who have undergone treatment for breast cancer and is the parent of two young daughters.

With permission, Pink Ribbon Blues republishes Karuna Jaggar’s essay, “Connecting the Pepto Pink Dots: Why Pink Ribbons and Screening Are Not Enough,” which examines the difference between symbolic gestures of pink support and the federal responsibility to address women’s health in concrete ways.


erika.jahn's pictureErika Jahn graduated from Harvard University where she studied religion and politics. Her intellectual interests range from philosophy, politics, and law to queer theory and feminist ethics. She is actively engaged in activism related to food security issues, animal rights, literacy, and the environment, and she is a passionate vegan cook. Jahn is a Projects Coordinator for Breast Cancer Action Montreal working on issues of women’s environmental health and is also a writer for Kickaction, “an online community space for girls and young women who think for themselves, take a stand and act creatively to bring positive change to their communities and across the globe.”

On March 17th, 2011 Jahn posted the essay “Pink!, (Red), and Green: Impressions on [Sl]activism, Fem(in)ism, and Where that Leaves us on Environmentalism”on Kickaction as part of the Girls Action Foundation’s annual blogging carnival. The Pink Ribbon Blues Blog republished her essay under the title “ACTIVISM-[SL]ACTIVISM: An Essay by Erika Jahn.”


Marianne Joyce No Maam cropMarianne Joyce is a graduate student in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is currently working on a project that explores the experiences of women who choose not to have breast reconstruction after cancer treatment.

Pink Ribbon Blues is pleased to publish Marianne’s essay on yet another recent breast cancer awareness phenomenon called “mamming” – when people take pictures of themselves placing their clothed breasts on a flat surface to signify the act of getting a mammogram and post it on a website. What does this accomplish, and what’s missing from the message? Here is the essay, “Yes Mamm?”


Kirsten Kaae, RN, BSN, LPC, M. Ed. has been serving the needs of the terminally ill and their families since 1987 when she started her career as a hospice nurse. Ms. Kaae has pursued extensive post graduate work in child and family therapy and rehabilitation. She holds dual licensures as a registered nurse and as a licensed professional counselor. She is a regular guest lecturer at Texas Woman’s University and University of North Texas, and is frequently called on to speak on a variety of topics relating to her fields of expertise. In 2008, Kirsten was the recipient of the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation’s Pat McCue Palliative Care Nursing Career Development Award. For more information and resources, go to Kirsten Kaae’s website: It’s About TIME: Straight Talk About Aging and End of Life at www.kirstenkaae.com.

Pink Ribbon Blues is pleased to publish her article, The Cloud that Doesn’t Go Away.


KomenWatch (www.komenwatch.org) was a public service website aimed at “sharing information and generating critical discussion about the largest breast cancer fundraiser in the world, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.” The KomenWatch website includes a large, searchable database of news sources and other articles – dating back to the 1990s – that highlight public concerns about the Komen organization and/or its role in contributing to the splintering of the breast cancer movement and to the overt commercialization of the cause itself. It also published occasional editorial analyses. Unfortunately, this useful resources was short-lived. The website’s creator died from metastatic breast cancer. In addition to being the only source for ongoing monitoring of Komen’s activities, the closing of the site raises important questions about what happens to online materials in perpetuity.


Kathleen Kolb is a home care physical therapist, artist, and writer. She was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) in May of 2008 and began writing a blog about breast cancer about six months later called The Accidental Amazon. Kolb’s blog received the 2011 Royal Purple MAAM Award, in which her nominator wrote that, “The Queen of Snark is ‘informative, funny beyond words and just the most beautiful person, evah!'” Sure enough. Her motto: “A little skepticism is healthier than a lot of disillusionment.” Pink Ribbon Blues echoes the sentiment, and republished two of Kathi Kolb’s essays: “Hubris for the Cure” about the Komen trademark feuds and “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” about the untidiness of breast cancer, the power and emptiness of symbolism, and the realities of living and dying with the pink ribbon disease.

In “Daring to be Powerful” Kathi describes the influence of feminist author and activist Audre Lorde, and the legacy she left to other women, and “Broke: The Cost of Breast Cancer” considers the far-ranging financial and other tolls stemming from a cancer diagnosis. She’s also got a Pink Peril archive that documents various aspects of cause marketing and “ill-informed malarkey” disguised as awareness.


Lori Marx-Rubiner is a social worker, writer and breast cancer coach. On the national level, she is involved in advocacy and serves on peer review for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Project (a Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program). Locally, she coaches women through their diagnoses and into treatment, and has led in-treatment support groups. She is  interested in working with young mothers who are parenting through cancer. Lori was first diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in 2002, at the age of 35, and nearly ten years later was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She writes and speaks on issues from “The Pinking of America” and the marketing of breast cancer, to the importance of science-based evidence in treatment decision-making, to what we can each do to make a difference. She lives in Los Angeles with her support team: her husband John and her 13-year-old son Zach. Lori’s blog can be found at www.regrounding.wordpress.com.

Pink Ribbon Blues publishes her essay on Being a Change Agent With Clinical Trials.


Last Spring, Bill Noren sent me some news stories about a young woman, Heather Bayer, who had recently died at a young age from metastatic breast cancer. He told me how her story represented for him a turn in public culture that not only glorified survivorship but actually hid the real difficulties people faced. I said: “Why don’t you write about it for Pink Ribbon Blues?” And, he did. The essay, “Loss and Remembering: The Story of Heather Bayer” speaks to the complicated aspects of cancer, survivorship, friendship, and the pink culture that many people worry is more focused on celebration and profits than anything else. Bill Noren lives in New Jersey and works for an insurance company. He is also a professional musician. He can be found jamming on his drums nearly every weekend somewhere in New Jersey with his jazz group, The Bill Noren Group.


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