Awareness campaigns are an indelible part of the health landscape, vying for our attention to support causes as well known as breast cancer and as obscure as Cornelia de Lange syndrome. They compel us to buy pink stand mixers and update our Facebook status in hopes that others will notice these worthy groups. On a list of 2011 national health observances on the National Health Information Center website, 33 groups alone had claimed all or part of the month of May.
But does any of this really translate into more women getting mammograms or extra dollars donated for research? We have to wonder how seriously anyone takes this when we get releases like the one today about orange being the official color of COPD awareness, and the fact that Indy car driver Danica Patrick is going to announce it on Capitol Hill next month — COPD awareness month. Stop the presses.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a serious lung disease that usually manifests as chronic bronchitis or emphysema, both of which can cause breathing difficulties. Why is it associated with the color orange?
"Orange is known to represent energy, enthusiasm, and success," reads the release. But wait, that's not all: "Orange also happens to be a color top of mind for fashionistas this Fall."Patrick's grandmother had COPD, and Patrick is the "campaign ambassador" for a public health initiative campaign called DRIVE4COPD, whose founding sponsor is a pharmaceutical company and whose logo is a blue-and-orange pinwheel.
We know what you're thinking: "Orange? How in heck am I going to carry that off?" Worry not. According to the release, Patrick may get some help from a stylist to "showcase some hot orange pieces your readers can wear November 4, and how to keep the orange look hip throughout the season."
Well, thank God, because wearing orange will not only be chic it will also compel at-risk people to get a COPD test.
Yes, we're cynical, but there's something about October that brings it out in us. Oh, right, it's breast cancer awareness month, when we're inundated with reminders to wear pink and buy pink things, and it's all supposed to fund studies and remind women to get checkups.