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Pretty in Pink: State Flags Make a Bold Statement

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. What does your state flag look like in pink?

Submitted by Geoffrey Jackson

One in eight women WILL get breast cancer at some point in their lives. Astonishingly, there are 21 distinct histological subtypes of breast cancer. That is a significant number of people with a lot of different types of cancer to have to try to treat and manage. In 30% of all new cases reported, breast cancer is the leading type of non-skin related cancer diagnosed in women. It is quite likely that each person reading this article either knows someone who went through the struggle or is someone that experienced it.

For me, it was my second wife, Wendy Arehart. She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in January 2009 at 33 years old and passed away 29 months later at the age of 35. As any caregiver will tell you, the breast cancer battle is one that challenges everything from your ability to manage multiple doctors, keep track of an array of prescriptions and other medications, to the emotional support that the victim needs to stay motivated to fight as long as they can.

When I first started the journey, I was completely unaware of the help and support that was available to me. We started the war with very little knowledge and guidance. Fortunately, we had an excellent team of doctors who supported us to the best of their ability, but I still felt like more information would have been helpful. After Wendy passed away, I wanted to do something meaningful for those new women just beginning their own battle. Being in the Dallas area at the time, I worked with a local charity called Susan G. Komen to better understand what was available and what could be done.

In late 2011, I had an opportunity to relocate to New Mexico for work and decided to take it. Within a year, I reached out to the local Susan G. Komen organization and became a board member. Unfortunately, the influence of this particular branch was waning and ceased operations shortly after I joined. This made me begin to focus on how I could show support and increase awareness without being tied to a particular organization or ribbon.

I wanted the message to be more general. And that’s when it occurred to me--a flag. But not just any flag, a state flag. Pink is widely regarded as the color to represent breast cancer so a pink version of a state flag will show support and increase awareness without promoting any specific organization or cause. A pink flag just indicates a knowledge that this disease will impact many, if not all, families in one way or another and that there is help out there for those that need it. The flag does not ask for money. The flag does not promote one charity over another. The flag does not say that other diseases are more or less important than breast cancer. It is a non-political, non-commercial way to say I honor all women and acknowledge that the struggle for those that have to battle the disease is real.

The first state flag designed was the New Mexico flag. I was able to convince the mayors of Albuquerque and Belen and a few local business managers to fly the flag in October. The feedback was very positive. In 2015 I relocated to Phoenix, Arizona and made a pink version of the Arizona flag. The mayor of Litchfield Park agreed to fly it. More recently, business leaders in Texas, California, Utah, and South Carolina have also agreed to fly the flag. Eventually, the vision will be to have pink versions of all state flags flying during October.

A flag is defined as a banner that is designed to represent a group or institution. Each state has its own history and set of values that are represented by the colors and designs of the state flag. The pink versions are merely an extension of that notion. I am very proud that others have been willing to share support and I hope to see dozens of pink flags flying every October around the nation. 

Click here to order your pink state flags! - Can't find yours? Contact us and we'll custom make it for you! 

BRAVE MEANING: noun: brave | 1.a brave person. | 2.to meet or face courageously:to brave misfortunes. | 3.to defy; challenge | 4.ready to face and endure danger or pain 


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