Cancer Awareness or..Get Over Yourself

general awarenessI was caught in one of those innocuous Facebook Cancer Awareness games. Rarely, do I ever follow these games but this one struck me as funny and as Facebook is a “social” network, I played along with this one. It led to a discussion with a friend who declined to play, as is her choice, as Facebook is a “social” network. She mentioned a friend who hates nonsensical posts like the Awareness Game and how his response was to post a picture of his hairy ass, urging other men to do the same in order to raise prostate cancer awareness. He was being less than sincere in his post, it was simply a response based on his personal view of the awareness games. Apparently taking the holier than thou stance that fundraising and awareness activities are the only legitimate path toward awareness of the disease.

That’s a crock of what is expelled from his hairy ass.

I don’t think there is a person in the Western world and beyond who has not lost someone, for whom they cared, to the disease. Or we have stood by someone battling the war of their lives. It is a horrible blight on us all. It robs family and friends, co-workers and neighbours, of their health, their dignity and ultimately, their lives. It is a constant dark cloud that floats above us all; if we aren’t hearing about someone newly diagnosed, we are hearing about our chances of contracting the scourge, and we live with the little thought, in the backs of our minds, that little constant itch that one day, we too, will be told we have the Big C.

Awareness campaigns do not require everyone to give money toward fundraising. In fact, many people are very wary of fundraisers at this point in time. Too many fraudulent campaigns have used our darkest fears, our deepest sadness to steal from us. I give to various fundraisers; in fact, I get downright testy when someone tells me that I MUST give money, I MUST participate in some event to raise money. What and when I give my money is nobody’s business and I dare say, I’ve given my share and then some, thank you very much. The definition of “awareness” is not – open your wallet and give money. Awareness campaigns of any sort should be based in developing a wider concern for the subject.

By and large, people are fed up with the constant demands made through fundraising campaigns; the sick child on the poster, the woman in the midst of chemo, the sad eyed puppy in a cage. The emotional pain becomes too much, people will, in general, shut down and the topic will be pushed aside. The human psyche can only take so much sorrow before it reacts and refuses to acknowledge the object of that pain, thereby rendering campaigns useless.

The savvy fundraising team is aware of this. You do, indeed, catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Adding humour relieves some of the frustration found within any cause, be it disease, abuse, cruelty or some socio-political cause. The mind, when amused, will record the object of the amusement and store it for future reference. Associating a cause with some degree of humour along with the need, will result in better awareness because the mind will not shut the cause out as the source of unhappiness and pain.

Very basic psychology – Psychology 101. Now, like it or not, when the topic of prostate cancer comes up – this man and his over-the-top irrationality toward a game will surface in my mind. I will associate the cause with pomposity. When advocating, it is extremely important to have a base knowledge of human behaviour and thought processes.

So you don’t like the awareness games; you are just too much of all of that for such nonsense. Fine. Don’t play but don’t criticize those who do because I would bet dollars to doughnuts, the people who do play are far more aware than are you. They probably participate and give far more than you as well. They are part of a positive branch of awareness and the positive always outweighs the negative.

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