PORTLAND - You see them everywhere – the pink products reminding us October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. A
Timbers midfielder has even unveiled specially designed cleats for the cause.
"Adidas asked me to design them,” said Darlington Nagbe “I was watching the Olympics and thought gold would really make the pink stripes stand out.”
If you’ve wondered about the power of pink and its’ impact on the fight against breast cancer, advocates say it has been huge.
“We think when you look at all the pink, it has helped us reduce the death rate by some 30 percent,” said Komen Oregon CEO Thomas Bruner.
Timbers Goalie Joe Bendik is also putting on the pink.
“Sports are greater than just kicking a ball around. They can also mean something in someone’s life and in this case it’s a person with breast cancer.”
Both Bendik and Nagbe realize that when players wear pink, it gets the fans talking.
"Especially with the kids when they see the boots with the pink they're wondering what it’s for," remarked Nagbe.
Breast cancer survivor Becky Olson knows the power of pink especially when it’s worn by athletes.
"That has really lead the whole campaign to make it acceptable to talk about." Olson has seen the impact in her work as co founder of Breast Friends support group and as a mother of five.
"When I was first diagnosed, it was hard for me to tell my kids and it was difficult for them to really understand but now they're so supportive of everything I'm going through and if one of their friends’ moms has breast cancer they're all over it."
The pink products helping to make the conversation comfortable started to be associated with breast cancer in the early 1990s.
“The pink and the awareness it brings has actually driven more people to the Doctor’s office. They’re diagnosed much sooner and we're able to keep them alive much longer," said the CEO of Komen Oregon.
It’s an impact far greater than the two Timbers probably realized when they agreed to proudly wear pink for the month.
“It’s a way of showing support and when you’re going through a struggle it can help motivate you. You can say it with cleats or gloves. You can say it with anything pink,” concluded Nagbe.