Awareness weeks, truly effective or just another method of fundraising?

Of course, we all know that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, don’t we? So what does this mean? Do we all give ourselves an extra special check this month? Do we only worry about breasts now? Are breasts a conversation piece over dinner during this month? Or is it a wonderful excuse to dip further into your pocket for another fantastic cause?

I must admit to being a Corrie fan, and this week there has been a timely introduction of breast cancer into the plot, with great signposting to the necessary support. Getting the message out there to a mass market. This is certainly awareness raising.

When asked to write this piece, I had recently attended a function in recognition of Lymphoma Awareness week. Apparently it is also Teenage Cancer Awareness Week now. I then decided to check how many awareness weeks etc there were in a year, and the answer is 100s! Many for things I have never even heard of.

So my question is, what is the purpose of them, and are they effective? Certainly the charities get behind them, and I’m sure they receive a much needed injection of cash. I’m also sure that people are prompted to think about those particular issues more than they would normally. But since there are now so many, I wonder if people take as much notice as they did.
When a celebrity is affected, the awareness of that particular issue is heightened. One high profile example of that is the ‘Jade Goody effect’. Once the issues surrounding cervical cancer were in the public domain, so many more people went for screening. However it seems that these situations are all temporary, as that is quickly forgotten, and another issue comes to the fore. Like an ever turning roundabout!

After a great deal of thought about the above question, I have concluded, that we are better off with awareness weeks than not. Even though their effects may have been watered down over the years. I feel also, that they can provide a time for reflection, which is very important, and understated. Naturally they are a massive fundraising opportunity too. I personally believe that all publicity is good publicity, and the fact that we can now talk much more openly about cancer, has been helped by awareness raising such as this.
Thank you to Chris for today’s blog. Chris blogs regularly on cancer and the issues of living with cancer in his blog, Chris’s Cancer Community.

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