PINK MONDAY

putting our money where our heart is


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Isn’t Everyone Already “Aware” of Cancer?

cancer_more-than-ribbonA good friend of mine posted, “Everyone is aware of cancer!” She was reacting, as were countless people, to trends that have been proliferating through social media under the guise of cancer awareness. In the case of the No Make-Up Selfie, even the guise was lost as the campaign morphed from cancer awareness to a celebration of natural beauty. Are people getting so caught up in acts of “awareness” that they are ignoring the reasons behind it all?

Have you ever wondered what percentage of men who grow facial hair for Movember have actually contributed to any funds raised for the cause or to an increase of men going in for prostate exams? Or should we move our scrutinizing eyes over to that other now famous campaign involving such clever placement of men’s socks? And as entertaining as that is, there are so many more campaigns and fundraisers vying for our attention through their swag and humour. The “sexy” cancers are perhaps the biggest examples of this – anything involving a taboo area is bound to be treated with irreverence. Have you heard these clever taglines, “Save a life, grope your wife,” “Save Second Base” or “Save the Ta Ta’s?”

With so many attention-getting gimmicks, clever word plays and excuses to see men and women in and out of their underwear, I can see how these campaigns would not only get a giggle but raise a lot of money too. So what happens in September during Children’s Cancer Awareness Month? I bet the laughing stops there.

In fairness to the North Americans who confused the trend, the No Make-up Selfie originated in Europe benefiting Cancer Research UK. There are many different months in the Cancer Calendar and they vary around the globe. As campaigns go viral and international, it makes sense that something might be lost in translation.

I too thought the No Make-up Selfie was just a new trend of women who were being dared to show their natural face, just for the sake of it. When I saw an article that urged women to “put their faces back on,” I had to find out why the author was discouraging women from showing their natural selves. When I learned the reason, I thought it was fantastic that someone went out of their way to remind us that the point had not only been lost but that an important cause was being forgotten along the way.

After reviewing a series of eye-opening reactions, enlightening images and informative websites, I did eventually learn that the No Make-Up Selfie was actually an incredibly successful campaign, having raised £8m in six days.

Obviously, it’s great that people participate in discussions, awareness campaigns, events and fundraisers – even if they are silly and saucy – just don’t forget to give if you can.

It’s not hard to find a cancer organization to support but in case you’re looking – I’d like to recommend two of them. I’m currently working as the Special Events Manager at InspireHealth – Integrative Cancer Care. In describing what we do, staff have talked about the difference between treating the cancer itself and treating the person’s whole health so that they are strong enough to support the process of fighting the cancer and healing from it. In addition to supporting whatever treatment the patient is going through, we have doctors, nurses, nutritionists, exercise therapists and counsellors who are able to offer a full compliment of care.

A story that helped me to understand how our centres (there are three) help people, was about a young couple that came in together for support. They were married and just had their first child. The young wife had received a terminal cancer diagnosis. She was facing the fear of her own death. He had to come to terms with raising their child without his beloved wife. Together they feared for their daughter who would grow up without her mother. Their experience, and understanding the many ways InspireHealth is meeting their needs, beyond the immediate medical concern of treatment, was what really brought it home for me.

Donations are very welcome and we have a lot of opportunities for you to have fun and help raise money at our events in the months to come – starting with Inspire Health in April on April 5th.  A percentage of sales from our “Inspired Shopping List” at seven Choices Market locations will go to InspireHealth.  I’ll continue to share news of our events as they happen.

Earlier this year I worked for the Canadian Cancer Society to help recruit volunteers for the April Daffodil Campaign. Volunteer canvassers will be hitting the pavement all over Canada collecting donations. You can give at your door or online. I’ve started my own virtual canvassing and you can even make a donation on my very own page.

Happy Pink Monday!
Theresa


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Yellow Monday in Honour of the Daffodil Campaign

online picI’ve been making calls for the past month to recruit canvassers for the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual Daffodil Campaign in April. I decided to sign up as an Online Canvasser and encourage my friends to make donations. If you sign up in a hurry, you’ll see your name as the top online canvasser!!!  Mine was the only name in the list when I signed up. I think it’s because I was the first person to make a donation.  🙂 Pretty cool.

One of the things I love about not just having one cause to support is that you just never know what your friends will respond to.  One of my friends has signed up to take a kit to work to collect donations from her co-workers (Thanks Tracy ;). One of my co-workers has pledged a donation already. I have a third friend who I forgot to call back (and I’m going to do that tomorrow!) because she indicated she would also be interested in supporting the campaign.  Cancer is just one of those things I guess. It’s touched all of us and many of us know cancer survivors.

I live in a condo and I’m not super keen to knock on doors myself (I know, how can I talk other people into it???) so I decided to become an online canvasser instead.  It’s great that the campaign has all these options and that some are less pressure. I mean, not everyone is up to it but I’ve talked to people who really like going door to door every year and they enjoy connecting with their neighbours.  I talked to a woman last week who doesn’t want to fundraise but she said she really hopes her neighbour Mike is going to do it again because she really looks forward to his visits!  I haven’t successfully signed Mike up yet but I left him a voice-mail to let him know Margaret said to tell him she is really proud of him. It’s moments like those that makes all the hang-ups worthwhile!

But if you’re not like Margaret or Mike and maybe you’re a little more like me, check out my page for starters and maybe make a donation while you’re there or get yourself registered and start inviting friends and family.  My goal is $100.  Care for a little friendly challenge?  Think you can raise more than me?  I’d love to see you try. Sincerely!

Happy Pink Monday!

Theresa


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Consider The Gift of Encouragement

goodtimes

One of the many ways supporting the Daffodil Campaign makes a difference – summer camp for kids with cancer – Camp Goodtimes!

I’ve started Telerecruiting for the Canadian Cancer Society and have decided never to hang up on a telemarketer/recruiter ever again! It’s true, I’ve just dropped the receiver many times as soon as I realized the person calling me in the safe haven of my home was not a friend or family member. I feel no guilt when I hear the pause-click of an automated dialing system which is a recording anyway half the time, but hanging up on a real, live, actual person – that’s cold isn’t it?

We’re calling people who have fundraised in the past for the Daffodil Campaign – raising money that will go towards research and support services to people fighting cancer and to their families as well. There are some pretty amazing programs like –

  • the Peer Support Service where you can connect with someone over the phone and talk about what you’re going through. This service is available online as well.
  • There’s a wig bank – and if you have 8″ of hair to donate, imagine what a treasure that would be to someone who’s gone through chemo and lost their hair.
  • Patients who must travel to receive treatment can apply for financial help for travel and accommodations.
  • There are volunteer drivers who can take you to appointments if you don’t have someone else available to help.
  • There’s the Jean C. Barber Lodge offering accommodation for patients and family at a reduced rate compared to hotels – it includes nursing supervision, 3 meals a day and is walking distance to treatment.
  • Imagine if your child had cancer? There’s a safe summer camp with medical supervision where kids and teens can enjoy some summer fun.

Can anyone really argue that these services aren’t worth funding? I don’t really think so. But I too have felt invaded when someone calls my home and don’t even get me going on someone who knocks on my door, but at the same time, I feel pretty strongly that there’s a difference between selling products and fundraising.

Besides the feeling of invasion, sometimes it’s just about dollars and cents. For me personally, I really do wish I could give every time I am asked, but I just can’t. We’re only 12 days into the new year and I’ve already been asked to support 5 charities. I want to give to each and every one of them! Instead, I will pick and choose as I have a budget to adhere to, not to mention I think I have SAD and really need to save up for a sunny vacation!

So today, besides my usual recommendation that you donate to or volunteer for worthy organizations, I’d like to suggest another way to contribute – by boosting the morale of those tele-recruiters out there! I called about 100 people on my first 4-hour evening shift and most either weren’t home or said they couldn’t help but I did reconfirm two past volunteers and signed up three brand new ones who had never done it before. I sincerely feel it was worth my time to accomplish that. So next time someone calls you at home, consider this – we don’t mind if you interrupt us to say “no thank you” but wish us luck and tell us if you appreciate the work we do. It puts a smile on our face and gives us that little extra boost of encouragement for the next call we’re about to make. In this small way, you can still make a difference! Believe me!!!

Happy Pink Monday 🙂

Theresa


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Where is your heart today?

Image

My dad, who we lost to Cancer on November 27, 2001.

Since I started this blog I have been keeping notes on news and information about various charities and this week there were so many things to make note of!

Just now, I read that the remaining members of the band Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were released from jail.  They weren’t due out till March so it is possible this is being done to improve Russia’s public profile in advance of the Winter Olympics in February.  I’m happy for them and I can’t help but wonder, will they continue to express their political views?  Will they stay in Russia?  This article on CBC’s website said that, ”Tolokonnikova said that she and Alekhina will set up a human rights group to help prisoners.”  I am looking forward to hearing more about them in the future. What does this have to do with Pink Monday?  Well, I was thinking about Amnesty International and all the work they have been doing to help political prisoners including Pussy Riot.  Quite worthy if you are looking for a charity to support this Christmas.

Yesterday I volunteered at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre with my friend Angela.  We set up a Christmas crafts table and were there for 2 hours.  About 7 women came and went from our table.  Some sat wordlessly and colored.  Some didn’t stop talking!  I helped one woman make a Christmas card.  I helped her to spell “Year” and “Daughter”.  She broke my heart a little.  While I was there, a woman came into the centre wailing and needing comfort from the staff.  From what we could glean, she had been threatened by a dealer who was going to cut off all her hair as punishment and to send a message to others about not paying back your drug debts. The workers there really are on the “front lines”.  The centre has a shelter and showers.  I saw meals handed out.  I saw a mountain of gifts in the office downstairs, and was told another truck-load was coming for the women on Christmas day.  I saw a table full of loaves of bread for the taking and another full of scarves and hats.  A truck came by and gave out winter coats to anyone who needed them.  I had to tiptoe down one hallway because there was a room where a yoga class was in session. At our crafts table, I made origami Christmas boxes and Angela colored a mandala.  I thought about how the crafts were meditative and calming and how maybe just a few minutes of that could be enough to offer a bit of peace to someone who was having a bad day. If you’re interested in supporting them, check out their website. They may still need food items for the holidays and you can call them at 604-681-8480 x 226 to find out what hasn’t been donated yet.  If you keep receipts, you’ll get a tax receipt for spending over $20.  They are also trying to build up contacts in the food industry who might be willing to donate so if you know anyone, ask them if they’d be interested in connecting with the centre.

Perhaps you heard a news story last week about Tom Christ?  He’s from Calgary and he won $40 Million dollars last May and he’s donating every penny! He’s kept it quiet till now, he didn’t even tell his kids, but Lotto Max wanted their publicity so the news is out. He was golfing when he heard the news and he said he knew immediately where the money was going. Two years ago, he lost his wife to cancer.  She was young and fought cancer for 6 years but in the end it took her from Tom and their children. It was difficult listening to the emotion in Tom’s voice as he talked about losing his wife. He never wanted all this media attention.  He said there were a lot of charities he wants to give to and get his kids involved with. He plans to give most of the money to the Cancer Society because of how close he is to the cause.

It’s a cause I’m rather close to myself. I’ve lost many family members and friends to cancer so I guess it’s appropriate that I’ve recently signed on to a new temporary part-time job at the Canadian Cancer Society.  I’ll be telerecruiting volunteers for the Daffodil Campaign in April. I’ll also be supporting them with a donation at that time.

Today’s post is dedicated to the loved ones I’ve lost: My dad, Willard Olson, my Grandma, Dagmar Hermanutz, my Auntie, Phyllis Dzus, friends, Tim King and Rona Castagnier, and to all the wonderful survivors I have in my life who might not be here today if it weren’t for the research dollars donated by people all over the world. Thank you!