We all know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a 30 day period each year that is set aside for the children, or is it?. It’s a chance for us to make the world pay a little more attention to our community, or is it?. Each year in October, we converse among ourselves about how we did not have all of September to ourselves because the breast cancer people took some of it from us. Let’s think about that for a minute or two. Do people actually take some of September away from us? I submit that we may be giving it to them?
Most of our friends and relatives know our personal cancer stories and, for the most part, support us. Creating awareness and asking for support is a lot like selling life insurance, Avon or Tupperware. If you have ever done this, then you know it’s easy until you exhaust your supply of friends and relatives, after that it gets very difficult. For most of us, when our child was diagnosed, our friends and relatives came running to us. Also, for the most part, all of them, because of their close association with us, now know as much about childhood cancer as we do. Here’s our problem. We need to reach outside of our social circles! The childhood cancer community is mostly talking to each other on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are great tools for spreading awareness, but we seem to lack the ability to reach outside our own community or our normal social circles. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats talking to people face to face!
This may help in creating awareness and gaining support. Develop an elevator speech. It’s a short talk that you can give, in a minute or less, to a total stranger. Seek out people you don’t know to get them interested in childhood cancer, tell them your story in a nutshell and then give them your Facebook page to “like.” Exchange contact information if possible. Use business cards (printed on both sides) with your information to pass out. Hand them something! Do not let them go away empty handed!
Take some time off Facebook and go on a shopping field trip! Contact everybody you buy stuff from and tell them how much it would mean to you and your family, child, hero, and or survivor to see GOLD in September. Give them your card. Let them know that childhood cancer people shop in their store and would appreciate some consideration in observing Childhood Cancer Month by posting a sign or making a display. Ask them now. You could even get kids to make signs (they would love to) to give to the merchants. Think about it. How can a merchant turn you down? Think about how many people will see the message if you are successful in getting a sign in that high volume store or restaurant!
When it comes to seeing gold ribbons on store windows, or in advertisements, that’s another story. Sorry to burst anybody’s bubbles here, but the people who make or sell the very stuff you use and spend your money on everyday do not read our Facebook posts. They do not “like” our Facebook pages, much less our posts. They like our MONEY! They are not aware that childhood cancer is a problem because it has not yet affected their business. For the most part, until something has a measurable or perceived effect on them financially, businesses will not act. We must show them with our words and actions that it will have an effect on their future business. If you haven’t done so already, it’s really too late for 2018, but during the September, you can look for opportunities to write to companies (Pampers, Huggies, Enfamil, etc.) who have a vested interest in children and market their products toward them. All the things children use should be targets of contact by email or letter. Maybe in September 2019 or 2020 we can see more gold on the merchandise that is marketed for children. Write them this September and tell them how disappointed you were that they did not participate even though they market to children. We should fully support any business that is promoting childhood cancer awareness.
Companies like FlaVorIce should be supported for their efforts to help increase awareness of childhood cancer. Use them as an example of what we would like to see on products they market to kids. By the way, FlaVorIce does this 365 days a year, not just in September. Why not ask those that aren’t, “Why not?” We need to be heard OUTSIDE of our own community! Read the contact information on their package and CONTACT THEM and tell them to have some gold stuff in SEPTEMBER. Many of the businesses you know well have Facebook pages. Think of the possibilities!
Imagine the impact we could have in September if we learned from the breast cancer people how to get outside of of own community and shout to the world about the number one disease killer of children. Wherever you see pink in October is an opportunity for us to have Gold in September of next year. Let’s work together so childhood cancer owns September each and every year!
Nothing is impossible If we stick together and get loud.
Author: Joe Baber