An established breast cancer survivor and advocate from the Birmingham community, “B.,” recently passed away from metastatic cancer. She and I first met more than a decade ago when I was invited to present my work to a group of young breast cancer survivors in the city. B. approached me to congratulate me on my talk and to invite me to become involved in some of the outreach efforts in which she was currently participating. We stayed in touch for a short time, but eventually we drifted apart.
Our paths crossed occasionally in the years that followed, but truthfully, B. and I never really clicked. She was a stong and savvy woman, as well as a tireless advocate for cancer survivors, but her efforts were wrapped in pink in a way that I just couldn’t accept. Though she never said so directly, I have a feeling that B. found me a little rough around the edges.
Our differences, unfortunately, led to some troubles between us–as well as between those who knew us both, but couldn’t always accept our divergent perspectives on how best to make a difference in the cancer advocacy world.
At the end of the day, any advocacy movement needs dissent to keep the people engaged in the fight honest and the effort moving forward. B. will be missed.