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A handsome, middle aged man walked quietly into a 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 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 all the men 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 pink 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 honour.”
“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 boy. I’m very grateful for my mother’s breasts, and for her health.”
“Umm,” the stranger replied, “Yeah.”
“And I wear this ribbon to honour my wife,” the midde 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 honour your daughter, also?”
“No, it’s too late to honour 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 noticed a small lump, she ignored it. She thought that since it wasn’t painful, it must not be anything 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 into 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?”
October is breast cancer awareness month. Do regular breast self exams and have annual mammograms if you are a woman over 40. And encourage those women you love to do the same.