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A Ribbon at Last

Many people in the prostate cancer community have asked for several years for a ribbon to wear to show awareness and support.
In fall 1997, we reported on the ribbon debate raging online. Should the ribbon be blue or green, silk or denim? Or what about another symbol, notably the gold walnut? Ralph Valle proposed a poll on Prostate Problems Mailing List. Howard Waage conducted it, and the winner was blue denim. We sprinkled this site with blue denim ribbon graphics.
     Michael Milken plus ribbonNow, two years later, CaP CURE has taken the initiative and begun to promote a sky blue silk ribbon. We are pleased and delighted to see them making efforts to ensure that a prostate cancer ribbon will get national coverage. CaP CURE is committing money to publicize this ribbon. They say: "The blue ribbon will gain immediate exposure as part of CaP CURE's Home Run Challenge and SENIOR PGA TOUR for the CURE, programs closely associated with leading players, coaches and fans. Displaying the blue prostate cancer ribbon as part of these public events will lead to wider exposure and personal involvement."
      All the better if it stimulates major corporations to follow CaP CURE's lead. We'd like to see PepsiCo involved (and Pizza Hut). PepsiCo already puts money into prostate cancer research. With the ribbon in their ads, they could get out a message about prostate cancer to people of all ages. We need this to beat the stereotype about an older man's disease.
      Meanwhile, please let's keep the grass roots record straight. "Many leaders in the prostate cancer community," Cap CURE says, "believe the time has come to establish an image that becomes a part of the national fabric and creates hope for those battling the disease." Well, these leaders are catching up with the grass roots and with one or two far-sighted leaders who've worked on this for years - Mary Lou Wright at the Mathews Foundation for one.
      "The sky-blue ribbon will gain tremendous support from leading survivors, scientists and advocates," CaP CURE says. Indeed we hope so. CaP Cure says: "We believe the prostate cancer community will proudly support this image [the ribbon], individually and through public programs sponsored by leading organizations in the fight against prostate cancer." They add: "We believe that the prostate cancer community is full of passion and commitment - we just lack a common symbol to rally around."
      Many prostate cancer survivors and their partners and families already are rallying passionately around the Prostate Cancer Awareness stamp. They're wearing it in the form of a lapel pin (earrings are in the works). They're working strenuously to get posters of this handsome stamp into post offices and doctors' offices alongside breast cancer stamps and posters. Selling out the Awareness stamp is necessary in order to convince Congress to issue a stamp (like the breast cancer one) with a surcharge for prostate cancer research.
      Any problem of competition between these two symbols? Not if we're smart. Wear them together.
More in Rick Ward's column.

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last modified Dec 21, 1999

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