Monday, February 4th was world cancer day. But I want it to last longer than that.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t aware what day it was until I saw posts on Facebook and Twitter. There were a lot of great posts and reminders from fellow warriors, blog posts by celebrities like Brooke Burke and Katie Couric, but most of all I enjoyed the Stand Up 2 Cancer posts. In those posts, you saw real, everyday people holding up signs provided by the SU2C website, proudly naming those for whom they stand.
It’s one thing to see beautiful celebrities on TV talking about doing things to help cancer. It’s another thing to see someone who could be your neighbor or your brother proudly making a statement for those they love. The ones who touched my heart the most, were the children. No, not the children who were standing up for someone they love- that is sad enough- but the ones who were standing for themselves! When you’re 37 and you feel you’ve been dealt a bad had because you were diagnoses with cancer, that’s tough, it’s terrifying. When you are 4 and diagnosed with cancer, that's just damn unfair.
I made this mural from pictures on the SU2C Facebook page.
The brave little smiles they were wearing in the face of having to be so strong, stronger than most are asked to be, it touched me deep into my soul. I thought what Marlo Thomas says at the end of every St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital- Give thanks for the healthy kids that are in your life and give to those who are not. Which I do. I give regularly to St. Jude’s because I am truly grateful for my healthy kids and wish I could save eevery child who is not. But there is more than just giving money.
Katie Couric wrote a post for Huffington Post Blog onMonday. She wrote about things you can do- yes you, the one reading this with very little time and even less funds-to make a difference on World Cancer Day and EVERY other day of the year.
The tips are Katie’s. The descriptions are a take on hers with my influence. :)
1. WE ALL HAVE A PLATFORM, USE IT WISELY.
Even if you only have 10 Twitter followers, that’s 10 people you can possibly influence. Use your voice to educate, to inform, to encourage whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google +, Instagram, etc.
2. THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL.
Small is good, and as you have probably witnessed, small things usually grow into big things when we nurture them and encourage them. Have a bake sale, a dance off, an event to benefit cancer research, participate in a run/walk, throw a read-a-thon or dance-a-thon. Your community will thank you for it.
3. EDUCATE YOURSELF & OTHERS.
Find a way to bring it up or slip it into conversation! I am currently working on some informational cards with skin cancer facts and tips on how to protect yourself. I plan to pass them out at my son’s football games. Sure, I may soon be known as the "weird SPF freak" mom, but if one mom protects her children and teaches them how to be sun safe because of what I did, then my nickname was well worth it.
4. CHANGE MINDS.
Cancer is not always a death sentence. It is a battle, one that will be fought hard, but can be won. Reach out to others. Learn about what they are going through and ENCOURAGE and support them through their battle!!
5. STAND UP FOR THOSE YOU LOVE.
We never know what to say or do when someone we know has been diagnosed. I absolutely HATED when my friends said, “Oh. I am SO sorry this is happening to you.” I felt like they were sentencing me to death or at the very least, a miserable future. But I know they didn’t mean it that way. I mean, that is EXACTLY what I say when I find out that someone has lost someone they loved to death. “I am so sorry.” No, it doesn’t help, but at the very least it is my way to express that I feel for you, and I am here for you. Be open to talking about whatever they want to talk about. Send cards. Call to say hi. Make them laugh. I know that always helps me.
My challenge to you:
I challenge you all to come up with ideas, suggestions, tips (the more unique the better) and SHARE THEM HERE or on my Facebook page, or on my Twitter. Let’s think of things that are so easy for us to do with just a little effort to stand up for cancer and those who have fought it, who are fighting it, and for those who will fight it one day. I will follow up with a post sharing as many ideas as I can. If we can get those ideas out, maybe, just maybe, some people will run with them.
I look forward to hearing from you all.
Thank you for reading. Until next time, practice safe sun.