So, May is up on us.
Spring is coming to my area of Alberta, Canada – finally. It recently snowed, but now is quite warm and the snow is gone.
Overall May will be a quiet month for my. My next Cysto date that I just received is 30 May. I am happy to have the advance notice this time (better than the 3 days notice last time), but the timing sure does suck. I will be unable to attend the celebration of life for an old friend because there is no flexibility with the date.
April was a quiet month for me, a quick road trip home and family visits kept me busy.
But, now we are into May – Bladder Cancer awareness month. This is a month to be doubly aware for me, as it was recently named Motorcycle awareness month in Alberta too. So my awareness is at a high state now.
Awareness is an interesting word when it comes to Cancer and motorcycles. The awareness campaigns have similar goals, but substantially different messaging.
Bladder Cancer messaging is straightforward – we are Canada’s 5th most fatal Cancer, and yes Bladder Cancer is a thing (you would be surprised how much I hear that), but most people do not know about it. It ranks very close to the bottom for research and awareness funding in Canada (the only funding it gets comes from the awareness walk – $600k raised last year across Canada).
Bladder Cancer groups have been told that they are where Prostate Cancer awareness was 10 years ago. I know the goals of Bladder Cancer Canada (BCC) are to not wait the 10 years to get there. There are a few areas that I feel are the challenges with Bladder Cancer awareness, that I will point out:
Demographics – median age of diagnosis is over 70 years old. I know that I and a couple of others are well outside that number – but not enough to drag the average age enough. Many of the patients aren’t online to spread a message in todays digital world.
Location – Bladder is a tough sell, almost embarrassing to mention that you have it.
Volunteer-ism – Society as a whole is seeing less volunteers, groups need workers to help it grow are finding it difficult to build support groups, planning committees etc. This isn’t just for Cancer related groups – this is for everything.
Celebrity – as with the “location” topic – nobody famous has gotten behind the cause, which would make a big difference.
Fundraiser vs awareness – I don’t know why – May is awareness month, but the fundraiser is in September. In May, the walk fundraising website launches ( www.bccwalk.ca – link opens in new tab), but it becomes a challenge for people to build hype around their fundraising for almost 5 months of the year.
Again, this is just my opinion, but I can probably go on for hours giving examples and explanations about how I came up with these responses.
So, I am doing things a little differently. People that watch my YouTube channels will know that I have been fundraising with some upcoming shenanigans with a yellow tutu. Well, I also recently acquired one of the Bladder Cancer Lemon suits, and with a little help from some friends – videos are being recorded. Keep an eye out for that.
Motorcycle awareness isn’t trying to help people know about these little vehicles with skinny tires. This is meant to serve as a reminder to drivers about now that the snow is gone, these smaller vehicles are back on the roads and people need to consider looking in their mirrors, or over their shoulder a little more carefully.
One of the bigger campaigns that is being launched by a local organization in Alberta is helping to personalize that the riders on these vehicles are normal people like you and me, so that extra split second you spend taking a longer shoulder check, could save their life, but also prevent the impacts on families and friends if carelessness resulted in a fatality. Imagine the impact on your family if you didn’t come home.
As much as both campaigns are educational to the public – one campaign is trying to remind people about a known group is returning to the streets in higher numbers, the other is trying to get people to notice that a group exists.
Anyway, this should help you think a bit more about awareness, but I hope you consider volunteering for a local organization, support a BCC walk near you, and don’t tailgate the motorcycle in front of you.
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