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Why Your Breast Cancer Awareness “Games” Aren’t Helping

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While you may mean well with these breast cancer awareness games on Facebook, they're not really helping, and here's why. www.nogettingoffthistrain.com

October is such a great and busy month! There are 4 kids’ birthdays in the family, including Allison’s, and it really starts to feel like Fall. Another big event during October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where there are a lot of fundraisers, 5K races, and anything else you can think of to raise money to support a cure for breast cancer. I see a lot of stuff on Facebook in October about breast cancer awareness, including a few things that just confuse me. You’ve probably seen people post random nonsense like “Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a snail and eat cookies” and when someone Likes the status, they receive a message from that person saying “Hey, come play this game for breast cancer awareness!” and the cycle continues. It never used to bother me until sometime last year when I saw a few of these statuses that were like, really? This is supposed to bring “awareness” of breast cancer? While I truly know and understand that these people just want to help, I’d like to talk about why these breast cancer awareness “games” aren’t helping.

These games aren’t actually bringing awareness to breast cancer.

In 2015, I think everyone knows that breast cancer exists. There are all sorts of wonderful events in October, and even throughout the year, that raise money for breast cancer awareness and these events are promoted like crazy. Chances are, you’ve heard of at least one and therefore know that breast cancer exists! Posting random nonsense on your wall like “Pink” or “Black” to signify the color of the bra you’re wearing may seem funny, but really, you’re just confusing those who’ve never heard of the game. If the goal of these is to promote breast cancer awareness, why can’t you just say that instead of private messaging the ladies saying “Teehee, let’s confuse the boys by posting our bra colors! It’s for breast cancer awareness!” ? Playing little games like that is absolutely fine, but if the goal is to promote awareness of breast cancer, please try to actually promote awareness when you post, whether it’s a reminder to get a mammogram, or even a link to your favorite charity to donate.

While you may mean well with these breast cancer awareness games on Facebook, they're not really helping, and here's why. www.nogettingoffthistrain.com

Along the same lines, what in the world is this?? I’m aware it might be a joke picture, but I’ve seen it posted in all seriousness. If you’re going to do this, still find a place to donate!

These games can actually hurt people.

Sometime last year, one of my friends posted a status that simply said “I’m pregnant!” and of course, there were a TON of Likes and comments saying “Congratulations!”. The friend came back and said “Guys, I’m not actually pregnant. It’s something for breast cancer awareness.” This, understandably, caused a lot of her friends to become confused and even angry. Why would you post something like that? First of all, it ticks off your family and friends, especially if they’re the people you would tell first before Facebook. Secondly, it makes light of pregnancy and those who may be struggling to get pregnant may not be very happy with you for awhile. All around, this kind of thing is not cool.

What can we do instead?

Well, if you do insist on playing some of these games, make sure you post a link to your favorite charity for people to donate! There’s a word that’s recently been popular called “Slacktivism”, and that’s exactly how I see these games. If all you do is post little Facebook games to bring “awareness” to breast cancer, you’re not actually doing anything to help. By giving your friends a direct link to donate, you’re actually making a difference! Here is a small list of well-known charities you can donate to. You should do your own personal research to decide which charity is best for you, as each charity is very different in regards to where the money goes.

Breastcancer.org
Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The Rose
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Charity Navigator– Gives a list of charities and rates them on different factors

If you’re strapped for cash but still want to do something, then volunteer! There are always so many events going on and they always need volunteers. Donate your time to help raise money for these great organizations. Just do a quick search on your favorite search engine to find any events in your area.

Now, since I know I need to put my money (and time!) where my mouth is, I’m volunteered on Thursday, October 15th, putting together Care Bags for those undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. The bags were filled with things like lotion, chapstick, fuzzy socks, and Queasy Drops.

Chemo bags, Queasy Drops.

Chemo Bags, all bagged up.

Chemo Care Bags... writing encouraging notes.

We also wrote encouraging notes to put in each bag. This is an awesome thing that’s done by the Pink Ribbon Girls, and our group of girls had a lot of fun putting these together and getting to know each other better!

Will you do me a favor and share this to those you see posting these Facebook games? In a nice way, of course, because I know our friends absolutely mean well! I would just love to see my feed flooded with friends making a difference in the lives of those struggling with their battle with cancer. I have friends who have either survived breast cancer or are still going through it, and it would be wonderful if our efforts changed lives!

Allie

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

This. All of this. I feel exactly the same way!

Lakisha

Tuesday 6th of October 2015

I thought I was the only one who thoughts those games were pointless and annoying. I'm sticking with the pink ribbon on my clothes.

Jaime

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

I'm doing my best to help educate the people that post these games on Facebook. =)

Deborah

Tuesday 6th of October 2015

Yes! High five! Thank you!! This stuff drives me nuts! I'm even suspicious about breast cancer awareness items that are sold in places like gas stations and Walmart. It may be pretty or funny but unless you show me a report about how much of money from my purchase goes towards BC research, I'm not buying it.

Jaime

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

I didn't even think about store merchandise and how much (or little) money goes toward the charity. Thanks for bringing that up! =)

Just Plain Marie

Tuesday 6th of October 2015

I wonder WHY all of these games have sprung up about breast cancer? Like you say, they're silly, often harmful, and don't do any good. None of the other cancers have silly games. I heavily promote brain cancer awareness in May (I'm a tumour/surgery survivor) but I do it with memes and posts that educate, not silly stuff like the colour of my underclothes.

Jaime

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

That's how we should do it, is with useful facts and information to help people! Thank you for the work you do in May, that's awesome. =)

Becky @ Disney in your Day

Tuesday 6th of October 2015

Thank you for this! It wasn't as bad when the games were like posting a random color and it was the color of your socks or bra or something, but the stuff like I'm Pregnant takes it too far. I have a friend on facebook who got married at age 17 and was divorced less than a year later. She's 19 now and posted "I'm getting married!" and so many people freaked out about it - and it was for "breast cancer awareness." No, that's not really helping with breast cancer awareness.

Jaime

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

That's crazy! It's so weird what people do in the name of "awareness".

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