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Pink & Purple

sur·vive v. sur·vived, sur·viv·ing, sur·vives

1. To remain alive or in existence.
2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere.
3. To remain functional or usable.
4. To live longer than; outlive.
5. To live, persist, or remain usable.
6. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.

Survive. I had never really thought about it. We survive so much in our day to day lives, but in 1997 I finally understood, in no uncertain terms, the definitions listed above.  It was the year I became very aware of Breast Cancer. I survived it, yay! and was “given” the label survivor.  Never one to like labels or being labeled, this time I understood the positive undertone that label gave, the strength it conveyed, the hope for others it exuded. So I embrace the label, and as a survivor I embrace the month of October, which is known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). I also embrace the color pink, because it symbolizes the fight to eradicate this horrible disease.

In 2009, I became very aware of Domestic Violence (DV), this time not because of a personal situation, but because I began volunteering at A Woman’s Place (AWP). I was surprised to learn that October was also Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), that the color chosen to symbolize DV and the fight to end it was purple. Purple just happens to be my favorite color. My childhood bedroom was painted purple, an ex-boyfriend painted his car metallic purple in hopes of winning me back, my wedding colors were shades of purple, we have a purple pumpkin on our porch for Halloween (see photo) and all the flowers planted around our house are … yes, purple!  Allstate has created a website Purple Purse, which is an online shopping magazine, but its real purpose is to encourage people to talk openly about domestic violence and financial abuse. I created a “virtual” purse on it that can be tracked, but if you see someone carrying a real purple purse it might just be me!

Domestic violence, just like breast cancer affects mostly women, but also some men, and yet many like me pre 2009 don’t know or are not aware that this month, October, is both Breast Cancer AND Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  If you watch football this month you may see some NFL teams wearing something pink to show their support of NBCAM. Why can’t they wear both pink AND purple? Come on NFL, you can do it!

When I think about the definitions of survival, I also think of the courage it takes to survive. I think of the courageous people AWP serves, and believe they not only deserve to survive but they also deserve to thrive. It is our vision at AWP to help create a society where all individuals are safe in their relationships and can flourish. We are On the Road to Flourishing and we hope you join us on it too.


Courage: A Woman’s Place acts bravely and boldly, not withstanding fear.
*excerpt from the Values Statement of A Woman’s Place

Jacalyn A. Hartzell
Communications Manager

P.S. If you send me (jhartzell@awomansplace.org) a photo showing “your true colors” I will post it on our Facebook page (or you can post to it) to show your support of AWP and DVAM.  Let’s turn Facebook Purple!

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