Sometimes circumstances call for you to have a conversation you NEVER wanted to have, and truthfully, if everyone treated everyone else they way they would like to be treated, these types of conversation would never come up.
When we set out on creating a website to tell our truths surrounding our experiences, we never envisioned other women wanting to use our platform to share their stories, or how healing their stories would be for us. We never envisioned our connections in the medical community wanting to be a part of this. We never envisioned growth so rapid that we’d need to hire help almost immediately to keep up with the demands of all the content on the backend. And we certainly never imagined negativity from a group in our own community because of some overlap in “similar” content.
Why would we possibly envision a table big enough for ALL of us to sit down at and use our experiences to ‘shed light’ onto a subject that our community knows all too well is not talked about and shown for what it really is for most of us?
Because when you are advocating in a community like the one we advocate for, there will ALWAYS be similarities and differences.
And the reason is literally this SIMPLE: Most of our stories have some overlap. Overlap in treatment types. Overlap in diagnosis. Overlap in the support system we have or don’t have. Overlap in how we feel during the process of treatment and healing. Overlap in procedure types and surgical outcomes. Overlap in essentially every component of what has been tossed in our laps for us to deal with.
And most, if not all, of our stories have differences in all of those same things.
With that being said, we have numerous trademarks in place for all of the work our company is doing, and guess what? We see them used on social media daily. Guess what else? We will NEVER ask anyone to take them down because those trademarked sayings set us apart from other sites. Maybe, just maybe, those words – those sayings, the language most all of us use in this community – they give weight to what that person is talking about within their own story. There’s no bottom dollar big enough to steer us away from showing our breast cancer sisters and brothers love and support. There’s no bottom dollar that will ever stop us from inviting anyone who has been through this experience – whether they were a patient, child of a patient, parent of a patient, spouse of a patient, and/or a caregiver to a patient – to share their story or tell them it would be in their best interest to find their own language when telling said story.
Just today, we witnessed two sisters supporting each other’s sites that damn near mirror each other. The creator of the first site congratulated the creator of the second site, by telling her she was happy to be invited to the site. The creator of the second site is a part of the first site. The exchange went something like this, “I am happy to be here. Glad to be invited. It’s funny, when I created ‘insert the name of her site’, I had been wanting to call it ‘insert name of second site’. All good things come around.” Second site creator “Well it was meant to be then.”
Sisters, THAT is the kind of supportive language we SHOULD be using with one another. We should be HONORED that the language we use to tell our stories touches another sister. We should also be HUMBLE enough to know our language may also be HER language, not because she’s ‘copying’ us but because her story is so similar to ours that those words tell her story also.
We don’t need to be ‘set apart’. We don’t need to try to diminish the work another sister is doing to make us feel better about the work we are doing. We don’t need to be making accusations about sharing similar information.
We chose very early to use our platform to be a safe (judgment free) place for ALL sisters and brothers to share their experiences – no matter the similarities and differences in their stories (and sites, if they have them), because we know you will NEVER make your light shine more bright by trying to dim someone else’s. The truth will always remain that each and every one of us will only truly rise in this life by lifting others.
How do we do that? We band together, we support one another, if need be – we give each other a platform to scream from (even if it means they scream our words!), and we grow into a supportive, KIND, community so big and so loud that EVERYTHING we are all advocating for is heard.
Because at the end of the day, we all want one thing. A CURE. So that our friends, our sisters, our daughters and sons, our spouses, the 800 people per day that are currently being diagnosed NEVER have to feel the pain we have all felt by having this awful disease thrown in our laps.