It’s Wear It Pink day today – a day when people wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer and the charity Breast Cancer Now. The idea is to wear pink for the day, donate to the charity, and put on or take part in some sort of sponsored event to raise money – like a bake sale or a run and so on. But I do wonder how many people throw on a pink t-shirt and think “okay I’ve done my bit, I’m raising awareness now”. I know lots of people like this stuff and I might be on my own here, but I’m not too keen on participating in these sorts of things – which is why you won’t see me wearing pink today or going to a charity coffee morning in September. There are a lot of emotional aftereffects of cancer, even for years after remission, and if something is going to throw the disease in my face I want it to be really worthwhile. Charities do a lot of good and when lots of people donate money due to the attention the charity receives on days like this, it can really make a difference and my emotional issues and avoidance tactics aside, I think the work charities do and the attention they receive is great and very important.

However, there are a few things you can do other than wearing pink and donating, that could further help the cause for cancer charities. Here are a few ideas for things you could do to help charities and the cancer community today – and they don’t all cost money.

  • Make a one-off donation to charity
  • Set up a small monthly donation to charity
  • Plan to take part in another fundraiser (e.g. a run or a sponsored-something)
  • Create your own fundraiser
  • Donate old stuff to a charity shop
  • Buy something from a business that supports a charity (but make sure they really do support them and aren’t just pinkwashing)
  • Read up on your cancer risk
  • Help someone else learn about their cancer risks – talk to your friends and family, put up posters at your workplace, send an email round
  • Check in with a friend who has cancer – ask how they are, visit them, bring them a gift/food/something else they might need, take them to an appointment
  • Ask a friend who has had cancer how they are doing (it doesn’t just go away – it’s not a cold – the lingering mental, emotional and physical effects are real – see the last nine years of my blog)
  • Check in with relatives of people who have or have had cancer and see what support you can give them – carers need support, too
  • Do something healthy for yourself – make a healthy choice by doing some exercise, eating something good for you, or finding ways to de-stress
  • If you’re a cancer survivor, take time to check in with yourself – how are you doing, what do you need?

How many of these things could you do today to make a difference to cancer patients and survivors close to and far from you (as well as yourself)? Do you have any other ideas for supporting people affected by cancer today? How do you feel about cancer charity days and events – have we reached our limits of awareness, and should we be looking to go further? Let me know in the comments.