This past weekend was pure bliss. Vida and I had DW back after a looming deadline, and we took full advantage of family time including a wonderful, long walk on Hampstead Heath.
Hampstead Heath is, without a doubt, my favourite part of London. DW and I were commenting this weekend that over the past few years, we have walked there season after season celebrating, arguing, commemorating, taking moments to breath. If the Heath could talk, it would know our most intimate secrets.
Our little girl loves it too now. She points at the dogs, has long naps while we wander, watches the ducks in the ponds. It has gorgeous wilder bits and beautiful manicured gardens. Even a farmer’s market on Saturdays.
This weekend, the Heath was filled with thousands of people, mostly women, in pink, Walking for a Cure to Cancer. There were older women, younger women, women with bunny ears on, women who had tied themselves together to bring home the message that Cancer affects us all, mothers walking with their daughters, sisters, friends, co-workers. It was quite a sight.
In the past few weeks, I have been excited about the WISH Summit. WISH stands for Women’s International Summit for Health and it was set up by a beautiful vegan, raw foodist Warrior Woman named Tera Warner. She seems to be on a fabulous mission to get us all thinking about ways in which we can improve our health.
While I was really enjoying the interviews she conducted with forty experts in every field of health – spiritual, physical, emotional, social, financial, etc – one thing that really got me thinking was her crusade against the pink ribbon.
As we all know, pink ribbons are the symbol of our fight against breast cancer. How could someone who is so interested in promoting women’s health be so vocal against the research for a cure?
Tera, however, made, and kept making a really great point: it’s all fine and good for science to come up with pills and other technology to help us, but what about helping ourselves? People want some kind of magic pill that will take away the cancer, without taking responsibility and making changes to their diet, lifestyle and state of mind.
At first, I felt her powerful words were quite jarring. Why bash the amazing work of researchers trying to eradicate such a devastating illness? Surely people couldn’t be that callous? Surely they would attack the problem from all angles?
But last weekend, on Hampstead Heath, watching these women who had raised money, who were walking to increase awareness trudge by, I got a clear answer:
The young woman couldn’t have been older than twenty-two or three. She was clearly obese and sweating profusely. Her skin was grey and sallow and she had deep dark circles under her eyes. The pink outfit she was wearing was tight, as if it understood the irony of the situation and didn’t want to give any more than necessary. And, as she puffed up a very small hill, our friend took a nice, long, delicious drag of a cigarette!
Now I realize that breast cancer – the most prevalent form of the illness in women – isn’t lung cancer – the second most common cancer among women. But seriously, who are we kidding here?
Please, people, let’s take responsibility for our bodies, our health, our lives! I’m not saying that science doesn’t occupy a vitally important place within the realm of health and illness, but there are so many things we can do to help ourselves first and foremost.
According to Dr. Dean Ornish (and others), illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease are 100% preventable and even reversible through diet and lifestyle. Other studies have found a 70% inhibition of tumour growth in prostate cancer when subjects made dietary and lifestyle changes alone.
That’s telling us something – and I don’t think magic pills were mentioned.