Cancer is a jerk. We all know that and we’ve all known someone who has unfortunately known it first-hand. In 2014 it is estimated that there will be over 500,000 cancer deaths. That’s over 49 deaths a day. Those staggering numbers are somewhat daunting.
But in light of seemingly terrible news is the very established social media world and people who are willing to go over the top -barely or all the way- to prove their distaste toward cancers of all kinds and to use that negative energy in a positive way. Not too long ago we all saw friends, family, celebrities, and people we didn’t even know existed doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I don’t know about you but that got old the first day it happened.
While the intentions of these campaigns are obviously the best one can’t help but wonder how some people attach their face to them. I suppose it is all for the better cause; bringing awareness to beating cancer.
1.) ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
I will begin with this one to get it out of the way. This was the campaign of the year. But, its beginnings weren’t with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Golfers used the ice bucket challenge as a means to donate to various pet charities.
Previous to the months of July-August of this year, the challenge was used by local charities for a number of different causes. The participant had a choice as to where his or her donation was going after being doused with ice water.
“The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation popularized the “Cold Water Challenge” (Wikipedia) in early 2014 as a fundraiser–taking the idea from the ‘Polar Plunge’ which is widely used by the Special Olympics.
Celebrities and townsfolk alike were all over this challenge once it reached the ‘official’ ALS fundraising status. Ice cold water was being dumped over the heads of anyone who thought they could handle it yet not everyone was donating. This caused an outcry by big names like Steve-O and Bill Gates to back up challenges with a donation and tell people how they can donate–which many Ice Bucket Challenge videos were lacking.
Even though the vast majority of folks who did the challenge did not donate the ALS Foundation raised well over $100 million and spread awareness through good and bad press alike.
2.) The Cancer Talk
I never got the sex talk but for those of you whose parents took the time to give you a rundown of our natural behavior I applaud them. Unlike the sex talk, F Cancer’s The Cancer Talk is much less uncomfortable and way more informational.
Let’s F Cancer’s main message of 90% of all stage one cancers are curable rings true for all of their campaigns. For this one in particular they are targeting the younger generation and covering the basics of family history, environmental risks, earliest warning signs, diagnostics, and diet and exercise. You can even have Fran Drescher (ovarian cancer survivor/nanny), Michael Winslow (motormouth), or Deepak Chopra (Doctor) call and set up a time for you and your loved ones to have ‘the cancer talk’.
Head over to The Cancer Talk to “Find the time, Have the talk, and Share your story”. They have information on different kinds of cancer and talking points on each one.
It is EXACTLY what the title suggests. And it is EXACTLY for the cancer you think it’s for. This campaign started gaining momentum after the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as if it were poised to replace it. Much like any other campaign the intentions of this movement were the best.
The #FEELINGNUTS campaign was founded in 2012 by two sets of brothers who were inspired to make a change after seeing men dying from a very preventable form of cancer. They couldn’t believe so many men were dying of a cancer that is 95% curable if it is caught early. They also understood the attitude guys have with checking themselves. Enter the #FEELINGNUTS movement.
They started Checking One Two with two goals in mind:
- Spread awareness far and wide of #feelingnuts in funny, ball grabbing and pant dropping ways
- Educate men and the women in their lives about how to check their nuts for testicular cancer
What makes this different than the Ice Bucket Challenge, other than the obvious fact that one deals with testicles and the other doesn’t, is that the Checking One Two doesn’t tout itself as a fundraiser. It is simply for awareness of testicular cancer. People like Hugh Jackman, William Shatner, and Will Arnett have all been a part of spreading the word of this preventable form of cancer.
While this gives the opportunity for some men and women (Miley Cyrus) to do the crotch-grab without too much negative feedback, the number of them actually doing it for the cause is the minority.
This is only a short list of the many other ridiculous cancer campaigns out there. As strange as some of them may seem they all have one some core things in common:
- Spread awareness of certain cancers
- Raise money for research and prevention
- Education/Community support for those with cancer and/or cancer survivors
Get out there and find a cause to support. Whether you dump ice on your head or grab your crotch you’re at least helping in one way or another.