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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Man with the Little Pink Ribbon

[This story's author is unknown. I am posting it in memory of Sharon Gillespie, the wife of 33 years of my old and dear friend, Kenneth Gillespie. Sharon, whom Ken described as "the perfect wife and mother," passed away on November 5, 2005. Her final message was, "God is good."]

A handsome, middle-aged man walked quietly into the cafe and sat down. Before he ordered, he couldn't help but notice a group of younger men at the table next to him. It was obvious they were making fun of something about him, and it wasn't until he remembered he was wearing a small pink ribbon on the lapel of his suit that he became aware of what the joke was all about.

The man brushed off the reaction as ignorance, but the smirks began to get to him. He looked one of the rude men square in the eye, placed his hand beneath the ribbon and asked, quizzically, "This?".

With that the men all began to laugh out loud. The man he addressed said, as he fought back laughter, "Hey, sorry man, but we were just commenting on how pretty your little ribbon looks against your blue jacket!"

The middle-aged man calmly motioned for the joker to come over to his table, and invited him to sit down. As uncomfortable as he was, the guy obliged, not really sure why. In a soft voice, the middle aged man said,

"I wear this ribbon to bring awareness about breast cancer. I wear it in my mother's honor."

"Oh, sorry dude. She died of breast cancer?" "No, she didn't. She's alive and well. But her breasts nourished me as an infant, and were a soft resting place for my head when I was scared or lonely as a little boy. I'm very grateful for my mother's breasts, and her health."

"Umm", the stranger replied, "yeah".

"And I wear this ribbon to honor my wife", the middle aged man went on.

"And she's okay, too?", the other guy asked.

"Oh, yes. She's fine. Her breasts have been a great source of loving pleasure for both of us, and with them she nurtured and nourished our beautiful daughter 23 years ago. I am grateful for my wife's breasts, and for her health."

"Uh huh. And I guess you wear it to honor your daughter, also?"

"No. It's too late to honor my daughter by wearing it now. My daughter died of breast cancer one month ago. She thought she was too young to have breast cancer, so when she accidentally noticed a small lump, she ignored it. She thought that since it wasn't painful, it must be nothing to worry about."

Shaken and ashamed, the now sober stranger said, "Oh, man, I'm so sorry mister".

"So, in my daughter's memory, too, I proudly wear this little ribbon, which allows me the opportunity to enlighten others. Now, go home and talk to your wife and your daughters, your mother and your friends. And here . . ." The middle aged man reached in his pocket and handed the other man a little pink ribbon.

The guy looked at it, slowly raised his head and asked, "Can ya help me put it on?"


Blogger Mark said...

Nice story. How come you rarely see similar stories about prostate cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute:

"In the United States, breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women.
It is estimated that approximately $8.1 billion is spent in the United States each year on treatment of breast cancer.
The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) investment in breast cancer research has increased from $438.7 million in fiscal year 2000 to an estimated $570.0 million in fiscal year 2005."

But the NCI also reports:

"Prostate cancer is the most common cancer, excluding skin cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States.
It is estimated that approximately $8 billion is spent on prostate cancer treatment each year in the United States.
The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) investment in prostate cancer research has increased from
$203.2 million in fiscal year 2000 to an estimated $310.0 million in fiscal year 2005."

The two cancers cause the same amount of spending on treatment but about 1/2 as much is spent on prostate cancer research. Is it politically incorrect?

Sat Nov 12, 03:06:00 AM CST  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

That was a very nice story, Steve, and my wife was especially touched by it; she said to thank you! (She has quite a bit of cancer in her family.)

Wed Nov 16, 05:47:00 PM CST  

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