By Lariena Nokes

Getting a cold shows you who your friends are and who just talks to you to be nice. Being diagnosed with breast cancer teaches you who truly values your friendship and cares about your well-being. In those serious times of life true friendships are proven.

Wearing a pink ribbon might give some people reason to think they are doing good or being supportive, but they have the same effect as fair-weather friends when you truly need help and support.

The first time my life was turned inside out with a diagnosis of breast cancer. The fair-weather friends in my life exited and the friends who genuinely cared about my well-being became my support network.

One of those amazing people is my friend Virginia, she made time to talk to me everyday, sent care packages to cheer me up and visited when she could. Her supportive compassionate friendship was always something I could count on.

When my physical and emotional strength were at their lowest Virginia was my ray of sunshine ready to motivate me or to just listen to me vent and process what was going on in my life.

Awareness ribbons give people a banner to fly, when getting excited really does no good. After surviving two rounds of breast cancer I learned just how useless those pink ribbons really are.

The feel-good rallies and fundraisers are not truly supportive to women fighting for their health and struggling to live.

The negligible emotional support is not a factor in recovery and rebuilding your health.

Now as I find myself on the other side of the equation my friend Virginia is fighting breast cancer and I have taken on the roll of being totally on her side calling her everyday, texting multiple times a day and sending care packages.

I know first hand that breast cancer awareness is not about ribbons or fundraisers it is about being there when the women in your life needs you.

True friendship and support do more for the health and recovery of those dear to you. Wearing a pink T-shirt or buying products with pink flags is pure vanity.

Before you ‘Think Pink’ remember that hollow, meaningless gestures are a waste of time and effort and an overwhelming number of charities have too much overhead to actually benefit women fighting cancer.

Trusting a system of seeking a negative and chasing a forgone conclusion never works out well, so why do people get excited about ribbons, rallies, and fundraisers? When you go in search of a negative result you are likely to find it.

This October, gracefully ignore the breast cancer awareness pink and the ribbons and choose to seek health and support those looking for their strength.

Donating money to any charity is a risk so be sure to investigate how and where the money is used before you extend one cent to a cause. By looking up breast cancer on you can investigate the 14 chartered charities that seek donations from the general public.

Out of the 14 charities listed, only two reflect positive results and score well. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is able to raise $100 with only $5 output and earns an A+ rating for its efforts. The National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund can raise $100 with $8 output and therefore earns an A rating.

The poorly rated charities such as the American Association for Cancer Support are only able to raise $100 with $90 output due to high salaries and overhead.

When we look at the Breast Cancer Society raising $100 with $84 output it becomes clear that their F rating is fair.

I have personally fought the cancer battle and won twice and there was never any T-shirt or product with a pink ribbon that helped in that effort at all.

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