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Will You Wear Grey?

By Stacia Wagner
Sunday, October 2, 2011

 

Today, October 2, the LiveStrong organization asked people to make a pledge to wear yellow to bring awareness to the global cancer crisis. In working with brain tumor survivors for the past five years, this makes me wonder how many of the survivors I know will be wearing yellow?

Some brain tumor patients have non-malignant brain tumors. Therefore, despite the fact they receive the same treatment as cancer patients (radiation, surgery, chemotherapy) and often face a very scary prognosis, they are not part of the cancer community.

The larger reason I feel I will not see many brain tumor survivors wearing yellow is because they do not embrace the word survivor as many in the cancer community do. They often feel they are treated differently when people know they have had a brain tumor.  Although there have been no surveys as to the reasons why this is so, I have heard several reasons from my group. Once they tell someone they had a brain tumor others may think they are not as smart, they are unhealthy, look at them as if they cannot believe they are alive, and may not understand the many complications which come with a brain tumor diagnosis.

One time, while sitting on a plane, the person next to me asked me what I did. I said I work with brain tumor survivors. The person said “Wow, I didn’t know people survived brain tumors. “

People do survive brain tumors and need to have the strong voice so many of the communities have. Today I wear yellow not only as a survivor, but also to help be a voice for those who don’t survive. One day there will be a day to wear grey so we can celebrate the special community of brain tumor survivors. Will you wear grey on that day?

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