I have no interest in wearing one of those yellow “LiveStrong” wristbands that everyone seems to have on today. I support the idea behind the band but what is the point of wearing the wristband? Is it to publicly prove you’re caring and with the “in-crowd” or is there a deeper meaning to it? If there’s magic in the band itself why not just put it in your pocket?

Or is the magic only released when other eyes set upon it? I contribute time and money to several similar charities and causes but I don’t feel the need to take my thank-you letters and staple them to my wrist — though they might make a nice dinner jacket and ascot.

Multi-colored wristbands are the new multi-colored ribbons that each “humanitarian” cause cursed upon us a few years ago. Every cause had a ribbon with a special color. If you wore one ribbon, peer pressure required you wear them all or else you were a traitor to the ribbon cause. At least the ribbons were tiny.

These wristbands are huge in comparison. What’s next? Yellow shoes? Yellow pants? Yellow skin? How far are we expected to go to prove we are members of the “caring team?”

If we truly care about these yellow wristband and red ribbon issues why don’t we show how much we care by remaining private, quiet, graceful and elegant instead of trying to publicly make ourselves feel important by displaying gaudy self-esteem boosters on our wrists?

15 Comments

  1. My husband wears a pink bracelet that his aunt, a recent breast cancer survivor, gave him. He doesn’t wear it to boost his self-esteem. He does so because he genuinely loves his aunt and this is his way of showing his support since we don’t get to visit her often.
    I realize that there are those who might wear these bracelets as a status symbol. I feel the same way sometimes about the WWJD jewelry, but I also understand that there are those who wear these items simply to be fashionable.

  2. This is an interesting comment, Carla, and I admire your husband for supporting his aunt but I don’t understand why the pink bracelet must be worn to show support for her. Isn’t private support enough and more meaningful?
    If she requires him to wear the bracelet because she gave it to him, that seems against the spirit of the support.
    If he feels required to wear the bracelet then that, too, is against the spirit behind the bracelet.
    If he voluntarily wears the bracelet to visually proclaim his support so others can see how much he “genuinely loves his aunt” then we’re back to why I wrote the article.

  3. I’ve seen the yellow and patriotic magnet stickers that tout the slogan, “Support Our Troups” on thousands of vehicles over the past couple of years. But this is the first time I’ve heard of these wristbands.
    I’ll never wear those things, and I’ll never tack a magnet sticker on my car to prove that I’m a caring individual or that I support our troups. This is a stupid waste of time and money, not to mention shallow and fake. I’m speaking about the majority.
    If you’re wearing these bands for an honest purpose (i.e., your aunt is a cancer survivor or your son/daughter is in Iraq), that’s a whole different story. Carla, many blessings to your family.

  4. Deborah!
    The yellow wristbands, I believe, are to support cancer research. Lance Armstrong started it all and you can see him wearing one here:
    http://www.lancearmstrong.com/
    …and that’s where the whole “Live Strong” slogan was born (actually Nike invented it).
    I think the yellow wristbands cost a dollar.
    Pink wristbands are for breast cancer.
    Purple wristbands are for ADD.
    Red wristbands are for juvenile diabetes.
    Green wristbands support the rainforest.
    Black wristbands are against racism.
    Orange wristbands are for cultural awareness.
    Blue wristbands are against child abuse.
    White wristbands are against poverty.
    Blue/White (I guess they’re running out of single colors!) wristbands support tsunami relief…

  5. People wear them to spread the word. Sure the hidden support is necessary. But if one person supports a charity and no one else even knows about it then what good is it going to do?
    The bracelets are a form of viral marketing. The yellow bracelets spread like wildfire. Everybody wanted one, there were huge waiting lists at one point. And now that charity has received a great deal of cash towards research.
    People want something tangible in exchange for their money. There is no giving just for the sake of giving. Or at least it’s rare. When was the last time you donated without getting a receipt for your taxes?

  6. Deborah,
    Thanks for your wishes. My husband’s aunt is doing okay, although she is going through the last bouts of radiation, which is pretty tough. My husband feels the need to wear the bracelet. I don’t necessarily, but I know his intentions are pure and not meant for showing off. I, on the other hand, don’t feel the need to wear it, even though my grandmother is also a breast cancer survivor.

  7. Hi Gwynne —
    Thanks for you comment! I understand everything you say I just don’t understand why one needs to visually publicize a good deed. If wearing a wristband makes one feel better that’s kind of unfortunate that an external public sign is necessary to build self-esteem.
    To start a trend just to raise money is too obvious for my taste but I understand the yellow bracelet virus was an effective marketing tool for Nike and money was raised for cancer research as an aside in the process. I’m just sad it takes someone purchasing a bracelet to wear to be trendy that brings in the money.
    I often donate money without asking for a receipt but I also know a lot of people want the write-off — but that deduction cheapens the gift on a psychic level.
    I have a good friend who tithes 10% of his base salary every month to his church and he has four children and a wife to support and he is the only source of income for the family. Even though the law allows it, he does not take that 10% tax deduction because to do that, feels, is to sully the intent of the tithe.

  8. Carla,
    I’m glad to hear that your husband’s aunt is doing better and that she is on the last bouts of treatment. 🙂 My mom was so glad when her treatments ended. She’s been in remission from colon cancer for 14 years.

  9. Quoted from Gwynne: “People want something tangible in exchange for their money. There is no giving just for the sake of giving. Or at least it’s rare. When was the last time you donated without getting a receipt for your taxes?”
    That’s a shame that people have to be that way. I’ve never claimed charity donations on my taxes because I believe that what comes around goes around.

  10. Blest!
    Nice to hear from you on this topic and you made me laugh about snapping yourself! 🙂
    Hey, I just checked your blog and I LOVE the new header! It works and covers all the safety basis without destroying the idea of your blog. Well done!

  11. I wear a yellow LiveStrong bracelet for several reasons, namely:
    1. My mother died six months ago, leaving barely grown children and we fought beside her for years against this terrible disease.
    2. No one will make a bracelet the color signifying her cancer. There is little attention paid to her cancer, in both publicity and research, though it kills many women each year.
    3. I wore that bracelet for her. She was inspired by Armstrong’s book. She wore hers. Mine was an act of solidarity with her. I see others wearing them, and it tells me that they care about cancer, too–or more likely, are survivors (or mourning those who fought hard and lost) like myself.
    4. You wouldn’t believe how many people abandon you when cancer strikes. You wouldn’t believe how many people tell you to stop hurting once your loved one dies. The bracelet says someone understands, or at very least thinks it’s a worthy enough statement to make to *be* trendy. It means a smile or a sympathetic word when I explain I have no mother. That’s more than I’ve been getting, and good enough for me.
    I wear it for her. I wish you would, too. She fought so hard you should wear ten.