Thursday 4th February is World Cancer Day. I told my 11-year-old daughter this and she looked at me in shock, “why would you want to have a day talking about cancer, isn’t it a bad thing?”
“That’s the thing, cancer doesn’t have to be a bad thing if people can get treatment quickly. So, the more we talk about cancer the more people understand about it, like when you have a worry, if you don’t talk about it, it gets bigger and scarier.”
It is one thing explaining this to my daughter but reading through the resources at http://www.worldcancerday.org I can see just how many lives are lost each year and the stark reality of the second biggest cause of death on the planet.
10 million people worldwide die each year from cancer. 65% of these deaths are in the least developed parts of the World. One third of these deaths are preventable. Another third can be prevented through early detection and treatment. The more we know about cancer, the more lives we can save.
It is important to talk about cancer to make change happen. Raising awareness of symptoms and treatment, removing fear and misconceptions and changing behaviours and attitudes
World Cancer Day is asking all of us to act, spreading the word on social media, talking about your experience, making Cancer discussions normal. It doesn’t have to be much, sharing one small thing adds to the collective global discussion on February 4th.
People with cancer have not forgotten about cancer these past 12 months but in my conversations with cancer charities what is worrying is that referrals from GP’s have fallen greatly. Cancer still exists and we must talk about it, we must seek help if we are concerned about ourselves or a loved one. We can also continue to support our charities directly who face a £10bn funding gap from events not taking place and charity shops being closed. Perhaps normally at this time of year you would have sponsored a colleague completing a run or taken part in a bake sale at school – for now there is no event, but you can still donate to the charity directly and make a difference.
I am proud to say that Pennies from Heaven has raised over a million pounds for UK cancer charities proving that individually doing a small thing, like donating the pennies from your pay each month, does lead to enormous change. ‘I am I Will’ is the call of World Cancer Day and for my part I have committed to cycling from London to Amsterdam, travelling through four countries in four days in June this year raising money for the invaluable Women V Cancer charity trio, Ovarian Cancer Action, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Breast Cancer Now
It might only be a day, but I know that if we all do something small, big things can happen.
I am and I Will.
Kate Frost. CEO. Pennies from Heaven.