by SealWyf, HSM Editor
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for the occasion Lockwood has gone through its catalog, for store and gift machine, and designated many pink items as free gifts to the Home community. The products being offered are diverse, from pink shoes and dresses, to bright pink glowing eyes, to the classic pink plastic lawn flamingos, a pink milkshake, a pink microphone, and the pink Stitchkins unicorn companion. A full list is available on Lockwood’s Facebook page. There is something here for every taste, even if pink is not your favorite color.
There have been previous breast cancer awareness promotions in Home. The first, in October, 2009, was the Drew Brees black-and-pink football jersey. Part of every purchase went to fund cancer research through the Brees Dream Foundation — as far as I know, the first example of a charitable donation program in Home. This is a classy top, both in its appearance and its associations. It’s still one of my favorites.
The following October saw the “Save the Tatas” logo clothing line in pink, black and white, produced under the auspices of LOOT. It’s still available in the Home store, as single pieces or a discounted bundle. Again, part of each purchase went to charity — in this case, the Save the Tatas Foundation. These items caused a bit of controversy, partly because the name stuck some as disrespectful, and partly because the bikini top seemed to be designed to expose the tatas rather than save them. But you can’t say they didn’t raise awareness — everyone was talking about them.
October 2011 doesn’t seem to have brought any major new breast cancer awareness items to Home, but the Save the Tatas clothing was still available, and many people had the Drew Brees jersey. Extensive activities were organized in Home and reported on the forums. There was also a tie-in with the Folding@Home distributed computing project, whose results benefit cancer research.
This year’s Lockwood promotion is interesting in several ways. First, unlike the previous events, they are not selling themed items to raise money for charity. In fact, you could argue that no money at all is being raised, since items are being given away.
The second way this promotion is unique is that the items being distributed are generic. They were not specifically produced to promote breast cancer awareness. They are simply the pink items that Lockwood already had it its catalog.
A cynical observer might argue that Lockwood trusts that while we are searching the catalog for the free items, we will find others that suit our fancy and purchase them. This is a legitimate point of view, and it may even be true. But that doesn’t make it wrong. Lockwood is certainly allowed to make money, and probably will do so, despite donating a large number of virtual objects to the Home community. And, any who doubt that Lockwood is civic-minded, should remember that last month they raised £1632 for REACT (the Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust) through the sale of the Rare Species Pack.
However, I would argue that this is still a legitimate charitable promotion, even if no money is raised for charity, since the event itself, the giveaway, is designed to remind us about breast cancer and all it signifies — its effect on women’s health, its personal and societal costs and the ongoing research to find a cure. And being reminded of something is, of course, exactly what “awareness” is all about.
As pink items spread through Home, awareness of the cause will spread as well. Soon, just seeing someone dressed in pink should remind people of the campaign. And of course the pink Lockwood items can be combined with the logo items from previous years’ campaigns to make the message more explicit.
Home users can also change the color of their text popup to pink. The pink color choices are all, frankly, rather lurid, but they do get the point across. I will be sporting hot pink text throughout October, before returning to my normal dark blue in November, no doubt with a sigh of relief.
Some may say that an annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month is misleading. After all, mere awareness does not cure a disease. And this is true. But for a disease where early diagnosis can save lives, it is the most effective tool we have to combat the illness, at least until a cure is discovered.
Manual breast examination and mammograms can be a nuisance, and are easily put off or forgotten. I say this from experience. But being reminded of the risk of breast cancer, a disease which on the average will affect one in every eight women in the US, can encourage women to protect their own health with these simple procedures.
In a way, breast cancer stands in for many other kinds of disease. It’s hard to imagine a month openly and enthusiastically dedicated to uterine cancer, for instance, or prostate cancer, or even lung cancer. But being aware of one kind of cancer makes you think about others, as well as the other diseases and conditions that beset us, such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s and AIDS. If medical research continues, someday these conditions may be as rare as bubonic plague and polio are today, or as extinct as smallpox. Until then, one of the best things we can do as individuals is to be aware, to know how to avoid risks, to recognize symptoms, and to offer support to those who struggle with illness.
So, spread the word in Home, whether it’s through wearing pink or breast cancer awareness logo clothing, changing your popup color, or simply being open to friends on Home who are dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses. There are more out there than you think! But there are also many survivors.
Cancer is not just something that other people get. We are all at risk. We should all be aware. In whatever way seems appropriate to you, Think Pink!