Thursday, November 10, 2011

Really? How is this helping?

I was going to write about this last week, but then decided maybe not.  But now, after seeing some of the snarky comments out there have decided to do it anyway.  Sure, some at the time were not too impressed with me, but then I wasn't too impressed with them either and I guess that makes us even...  And I'm okay with that. 

So now before I start I'll just say - sorry girls if I will be spoiling this for anybody...

Right now one of the things I really truly can't stand is a little game on Facebook.  Now it is not so much the game part that is annoying me, but that they are actually trying to say this is more than just a game.  I'm fine with people playing along, but really?  To keep pestering me on Facebook to play along?  That's just annoying.

But before I get all carried away (Terence says it is surprising I still have a mind left because I give a piece of my mind so often :-) ), here is the email that I have been receiving:
It is that time of year again! It is time to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.

Remember the status about our bra color or where we put our purse?? It made more people aware of the problem as it went viral on FB and made the news.

Don't tell any MEN what the status means! Copy, paste and resend this message to all your girl friends, let's see if we can make it work like before, keep them guessing, let's see if we make the news!

The idea is to use you birthdate, month and day only, no year!

Write: "I am going to live in _______ (see below) for _______

Ex. if your BD was on February 14th, then
" I am going to live n London for 14 months!!!!

January - Mexico

February - London
March - Miami
April - Dominican Republic
May - France
June - St. Petersburg
July - Austria
August - Germany
September - New York
October - Amsterdam
November - Las Vegas
December - Columbia

I hope you're in!

So let's look at what they are saying.  They are saying that if I type "I'm going to live in New York for 21 months" as my Facebook status that this is somehow going to raise awareness for cancer.  Now I've read this several times and really, all this does is confuse people.  Unless I'm missing something here...  Nowhere does it even remotely make mention of the word cancer.

Another problem I have with this is that the email very clearly states "Don't tell any MEN".  Now I have a problem with this bit to be honest.  If you are supposedly raising awareness by playing this game, why would you exclude somebody?  As much as people might think that this is some exclusive club where only the very privileged might join, men also get breast cancer (click here).

The thing with cancer (any type of cancer) is that it does not discriminate. It doesn't only choose some people, anybody can get cancer.  Even when people think it will never happen to them.  So if you are truly trying to raise awareness by playing this game, why would you exclude somebody?  If a woman is fighting breast cancer, would she not want her partner's support?  Would she not want her partner to learn as much as they can?  In real life you would not exclude anybody!

The other thing that is making me feel rather uncomfortable about this whole game is that cancer is no game.  There is nothing about it that is fun or funny or should be made fun of. (I actually wrote a whole blog entry on this before, click here to read).  It is traumatic, devastating and likely the most exhausting thing anybody will ever have to do.  And your life will never again be the same.

For me, real awareness is making people aware of the facts.  Teaching them what to look out for.  Sharing with them whatever knowledge you might have.  That is raising awareness.

Sometimes people ask me why nowadays so many more kids get cancer than they did in the old days and this is what I usually say.  Kids in the old days also got cancer, but because kids could show symptoms for other illnesses, if the testing wasn't as advanced, then it could be mistaken for something else.  With Bianca's particular type of cancer, if she did not get treatment she would have died within 3 months.  And the month leading up to her hospital admission and diagnosis she had tonsillitis and that is what she was treated for.  If we did not have suitable testing available to us, they would never have thought she actually had cancer.  But thankfully through real awareness, things have changed through the years and Bianca's chances certainly are far better now than it would have been 50 years ago.

And this is why I am doing things like Funrazor.  This is my way to help raise money so places like CCF can continue doing what they are doing.  This is my way to help spread the word.  That just because your child is healthy, does not mean that kids do not get cancer.  Before Bianca was diagnosed I had no idea that there were different types of leukemia or that treatment for leukemia is as long as it was or that there were other types of cancers kids could get.  Doing Funrazor and through our previous blog - this is my way to raise awareness.  Real awareness.  Trying to make a real difference!  Not a silly little game on Facebook...

Sure, I am happy for people to play along with this little game and to keep the men guessing, but then keep it a game.  Don't pretend it is actually raising awareness.  And please don't send me requests to play along with this. I have no interest in playing along.


Sarah said...

Don't get me started Lea!! The only way it raises awareness, according to the game is if it reaches the news, which is unlikely to keep happening, and even then, it's not exactly saying much more than, oh, breast cancer exists! Any further info will come from the news team who have collated for that section of the news report!!! By all means, fun can be had with the game itself, but it should be kept at that...just a game.

I don't like the date ones much....if anything the ones such as reporting where you keep handbag, without mention of what you're talking about can be fun as they give you something a little more substantial to guess about....but for it to raise awareness, a link to an actual awareness site would be needed :)

So BRING ON the Funrazor, where there will certainly be a few fun-packed hours of awareness :) and that's where the majority of the pieces of your mind have been at the moment!!

Sharon said...

I've also blogged about these "awareness" campaigns! I think they're stupid and pointless and frankly make a joke out of a very serious situation! The other one which irritated me was the fake pregnancies for raising breast cancer awareness - are you serious? FFS!
As part of my attempt to raise awareness I'm taking action! I'm going to have a mammogram in two weeks time and will blog about my experience and results and I've asked my other female friends to do the same!

Paul said...

I can certainly see why you are upset about this game. It trivialises what has been a life changing part of your life. Well done for being proactive about something close to your heart.

Sarah said...

I look forward to visiting that post in your blog Sharon, if that's okay with you....I think it's commendable when people share the reality of their experience, it's incredibly valuable, both for creating awareness, but especially so for others going through the same thing...just as Lea has chronicled her family's experience, it'll help so many people :)

blackhuff said...

I so get you regarding these type of games on Facebook and they also happen on Blackberries. It's annoying and I do not play along. Not ever because of how confused anyone can get for that matter.
I get you.

amanda said...

Lea, you have my wholehearted support. I am very proud of you.
Love, mum

BridgetPirie said...

Good on you Lea. Don't let anyone push you around!

Marcia (123 blog) said...


I think you're 150% right :) and I also don't think these status updates are funny in the least.

if you want to raise awareness do it in a constructive manner like you're doing, Lea, not with a stupid FB update!

Did you post a pic of your hair recently?

Julia said...

Am TOTALLY with you on this one. I HATE those stupid things and I get very annoyed because I cannot fathom how it raises awareness. That is why I LOVE what you are doing with Funrazor and what Sharon is doing by going for a Mammo because THAT is raising awareness. Not these rubbish updates!

Buttons said...

Another reason I don't do Facebook it has very weird things that make no sense to me. You are right Lea. B

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you wholeheartedly.

As someone who has lost 2 x Grannies and 1 x Father to various forms of cancer, this game frankly pisses me off. It has no call to action and raises ZERO awareness.

Thats why I will always support events like Movember and your Funrazor and the Shavathon here in SA - cos these events ACTUALLY help.

Much love

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, it was only because I googled these statuses that I even found your site, so perhaps if you consider that any time the topic is brought to the public's attention, it will prompt people to seek further information, then maybe this 'game' can actually have some benefits too? Good on you for sharing your experience, I know how hard it can be and I wish you all the very best.