Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Running with Ribbons

In October, the Edmonton Eskimo’s (our CFL team) partook in the CFL Pink campaign, which helps to bring awareness and funds to women’s cancers, so when my friends and I arrived at our local pub we found football helmets with pink screens on every table. A few mug’s in and we decided to try them on and that is when I learned all about the various types of face masks.
Did you know that depending on the player’s position, the helmets are different? I had no idea either, that is until the guy’s started ripping off bars and adding bars and saying things like “that’s a kickers helmet” or “now a running back can wear it.” I’m not even sure what a running back is but I now know what kind of helmet the position requires. While looking at all the little pieces of pink paper on the table I was reminded about how each medical issue has picked up a “colour” to represent their cause. It had me wondering why exactly, or rather who exactly, chose a specific colour to tout their awareness. And because I am curious about EVERYTHING, I decided to do some research and find out how many different awareness ribbons there are.  I found 45. 45!!!!!!!! And I think that was just the tip of the ice berg.  How are we expected to keep them all straight?
Easy, we don’t have to. The ostomy awareness ribbon is nice enough to TELL us what it symbolizes. The brown ribbon has a small red crystal and creamy white lettering saying “IBD & Ostomy Awareness.” It was designed by Lois Fink and Barb Wodzin and is completely perfect in my opinion; however I certainly don’t need a ribbon to remind me of ostomy awareness. Ostomy awareness for me is every day. Every time I empty Oscar’s pouch or hear a noise I am made aware that I have an ostomy.

Colours representing certain causes, gimmicky head gear, days, weeks and even months dedicated to awareness for everything from Cystic Fibrosis month to world purple day are all great and wonderful but are they working? Maybe we all need to take a step back, put down our car magnets, wrist bands, thermal coffee mugs and every other piece of promotional “awareness merchandise” that we have been led to believe will in some small way help with the cause and actually volunteer our time to a cause close to us.

This Sunday when millions of people are glued to their televisions watching the Superbowl, I’ll be sending e-mails looking for more advertisers for our local Ostomy Association’s newsletter.  Thanks to Oscar, I am able to donate more than just money to my cause; I am able to donate myself. Come to think of it, I am also able to tell which position a football player holds all thanks to a wonderful evening with friends and silly paper helmets. Hm, maybe I will try to watch a few minutes of the Superbowl.


  1. I was just researching ostomy supplies in Vancouver when I came across your blog. It is a great post. I like the insight you bring in here. I completely agree that there seems to be a lot of time spent on raising awareness with much less time spent on actually being aware. It sounds like you are doing a great job! Thank you.

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