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Pink Elephants – A Symbol for Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink elephants may be real or symbolic signs for breast cancer awareness; either way, their appearance means so much to many women affected by…

Pink elephants may be real or symbolic signs for breast cancer awareness; either way, their appearance means so much to many women affected by breast cancer and those who support them.

An albino elephant calf was recently seen roaming freely in Kenya and is reported to be doing well, despite its pink skin colour. Wildlife photographer Mostafa Elbrolosy captured images of this rare sighting near Maasai Mara National Park and believes its pink skin may have resulted from environmental factors rather than genetic conditions.

Dumbo, Disney’s animated 1940 film about an elephant who hallucinates dancing and singing pink elephants was inspired by real-life experiences of those living with Encephalitis Pigmentosa (EP), commonly referred to as Pink Elephant Syndrome or EP for short. EP is a genetic disorder affecting only 1 out of 4000 individuals; symptoms resemble Alzheimer’s Disease with memory loss, depression anxiety and seizures common symptoms of EP.

Pink elephants may be used as an euphemism for hallucinations caused by Delirium Tremens (DTs or alcohol withdrawal), which dates back to the 1700s and may have been popularized by showman P.T. Barnum when billing his white elephant as “sort of pink” when in reality. Furthermore, this term was often referenced when discussing alcohol-induced hallucinations – it can even be found in Jack London’s 1913 novel John Barleycorn!

The Pink Elephant Project is an organisation with a mission to end miscarriage’s stigmatisation by offering women and men alike a more positive and healthier experience after miscarriage. According to them, current miscarriage experiences are shaped by outdated science, misguided perceptions, and social anxiety; their goal is to alter these narratives.

Studies have demonstrated that an online educational series called The Shady Pink Elephant significantly increased participation of younger breast cancer survivors in end of life (EOL) discussions and planning discussions through palliative care and EOL wishes curriculum implementation for participants, with pre/post designs featuring surveys administered before, at each event in the series, and six months post intervention as evaluation criteria.

Dr Lisa Pearce, Professor of Primary Care Research at the University of Manchester and Dr Sarah Walsh, Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist of Gynaecological Oncology for Liverpool Clinical Trials Unit led this study which was supported by funding from both Medical Research Council and NHS Blood and Transplant Trust.

We are excited to present a guest post from Laura Stack, Productivity Pro(r) and author of Pink Elephants. Laura writes about using mindfulness techniques to accomplish more in less time, as well as applying these practices in her business writing career. Check out Laura’s blog here.