Pink is for Everyone

by Sophie Fallen

After what has to have been the busiest but most fulfilling week of my entire life, Pink Week 2019 and my time with it have come to a close. I was a College Rep in my second year, and this year became a Main Week Events Officer. And I have truly loved every moment of it: as my (Facebook) friends know, I live and breathe Pink Week, and I adore everything it stands for. I would apologise for the spam, but honestly who can blame me – the programme this year was insane. But everyone already knows this; most students in Cambridge will have heard of Pink Week if we’ve done our job well, and hopefully the majority attended an event in some shape or form. But behind the Facebook events, the pink jumpers and profile pictures, there is a team of dedicated and passionate students who have put their heart and soul into making it the best and biggest Pink Week yet.

Now that my time with Pink Week has come to an end, I wanted to share why Pink Week means to much to me. I can’t speak on behalf of the whole committee, but I can speak for myself and my experience with this wonderful organisation. My time at Cambridge has had its ups and downs to say the least. Amidst the friends, supervisions, formals and excitement, my university experience has been punctuated with hospital visits and immense loss. My Mum was diagnosed with secondary metastatic breast cancer in 2015, just before I sat my A-levels. She was told she would live a mostly normal and lengthy life, but her condition worsened throughout my time at university, culminating in a terminal diagnosis in June 2017. I took the decision to intermit so I could care for her, and I’m now back in the Bridge for my final year.

However sad times have gotten for me over the last four years, I would still say that I have truly loved my time at Cambridge. Regardless of how disgustingly cliché it may sound, Pink Week has honestly made all the difference for me. In my second year I applied to be a College Rep, and I found that despite the turmoil at home, I was able to throw myself into something that I could be proud of. For once I had perspective on my work-life balance; by helping out with Pink Week I was, in however small a way, making a difference for people currently in my situation, or my mum’s situation, or those who would be in the future. I was playing an active role in bettering the shitty reality that is Cancer, and was meeting some truly inspirational people along the way (Read: Liv Buckland). I still remember telling my Mum how much money Downing raised that week, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget her joy, or the pride I felt.

But it wasn’t until this year and my return to Cambridge that I really came to appreciate the importance of Pink Week in my life. In addition to all the money and awareness we raise, Pink Week has given me an outlet to express my grief. Because of Pink Week, I get to spend time with people who are as passionate about beating cancer as I am, I get to talk about cancer in a positive way, and most of all, every moment that I spend on Pink Week I feel like I’m furthering my Mum’s beautiful and important legacy.

Talking about my Mum doesn’t come easily to me – I treat every day as a new one, focusing on my present and not my past. And if I’m honest that gets me down. I want to talk about her, I want to remember her, and I want her to be part of my life everyday. Pink Week lets me channel my emotions and my memories of my Mum into something positive, something proactive. For this reason, and many others of course, I will be eternally grateful to every member of the committee, every participant in an event and everyone who donated, for making Pink Week thrive. Pink Week isn’t just a fundraising and awareness campaign. Pink Week is a community. #PinkisforEveryone.