“Sometimes you get sick and you don’t get better/
That’s when life is short even in its longest days.”
Each October our industry puts its best foot forward, taking part in Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is highlighted by the QVC/FFANY Shoes on Sale extravaganza in New York. This expansive effort to raise awareness and much-needed funds is actually a year-round drive, and I’m proud to be associated with so many compassionate and committed individuals who are doing whatever they can to help treat and find a cure for this deadly disease.
It wasn’t until this past summer that a person close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s when I got a firsthand education on just how indiscriminate, scary, painful and relentless this form of cancer can be. And then there’s the treatment process, which in our family’s case has been a cauldron of pain (both physical and emotional), exasperation, confusion, humiliation, desperation, and insensitivity—and sometimes ineptitude—on the part of doctors.
It’s easy to tell someone that they just have to fight the disease, but I’m not the one who, for years, went for regular mammograms and was always told everything was fine. I was not the one who, out of the clear blue, was informed that I needed a double mastectomy immediately, followed by months of chemotherapy. I was not the one who was initially assured by a surgeon that the disease had been caught early and treatment would be minimal, only to learn after surgery that the disease was further advanced, the outcome less predictable and the necessary treatment much more intensive. I was not the one who, after undergoing painful reconstructive surgery, was notified that all of the progress could be ruined by the months of radiation treatments that would be needed post-chemotherapy. It was not me on the receiving end of news from doctors whose one-time confidence gradually disintegrated into tight-lipped uncertainty. Finally, I was not the one gallantly masking suffering and anxiety with a warm smile whenever a beloved 7-year-old granddaughter was in the room.
So now I know more than I ever wanted to about the toll breast cancer inflicts on a human being and the importance of raising awareness and funds to combat this disease. To that end, Footwear Plus will continue do whatever it can to support our industry-wide efforts. For starters, keep sending us news of your cause-related marketing initiatives, beginning with calls to action and success stories. Coverage of such efforts will hopefully prove contagious—in a good way—and spur others to join this worthy fight.
As we all know, most women adore shoes. Their ongoing love affair accounts for billions of dollars in footwear sales year after year. Supporting efforts to find a cure for breast cancer is the very least we can do for our most loyal and profitable customer base. I mean, just where would we be without women? If I’ve learned anything in my
40-plus years, it’s that this question goes way beyond shoe sales. —Greg Dutter