Breast Cancer Meme: Trivializing hardship for no Benefit

Breast Cancer awareness is an important thing to promote. Here are a couple of stats for you:

  • 12% of women in the US will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • In 2019 alone an estimated 268,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected.
  • 41,760 women in the US are expected to die from breast cancer.
  • As of Jan. 2019, there are more than 3.1 million women with history of breast cancer in the US.
  • About 85% of breast cancer occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer

Those are some very sobering stats. If you’d like to find more information, about symptoms, treatment, and how to get involved in a positive manner please visit:


My mother, last year, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She ended up having surgery to remove one of her breasts. It was a very trying time for both my sibling and I, and most of all my mother (duh). The news hits you like a truck. You don’t understand what is happening, what you have to do, and have no idea what the future will bring. Your mind is constantly shifting between despair and hope. Frankly it sucks. You have no control over had happened, but its important to focus on what you can do and just keep pushing forward.

I recently read a case study of using social media though Facebook to help bring awareness to this horrible disease. There were numerous messages sent out to women who were asked to do a couple of silly things.

-Asked females to choose a color based on what bra they were wearing and post a status; Melissa Black for example.

-Change their status to the location where they put their purse: I like it on the floor, bed (you get it).

-Put the number, followed by the word inches, and how long it takes to do your hair.

Granted this message was perfect for diffusing the message, and getting many people to pay attention. But that’s just it. People inquired about it, wondering about the weird messages. Then, nothing. I get that this is a cute way to help bring awareness to breast cancer, but what did it do, other than confuse people? To my knowledge there were no links to places to donate, or an explanation of why they did what they did.  Just another shallow social media campaign that didn’t do anything to ACTUALLY bring about any information, or bring people together for a cause. It one thing to spread awareness, but its another thing to make a difference.

I never knew this thing existed. I like the idea, but the execution was awful. I can almost guarantee that people simply changed their status and then moved on with their life so they felt included. This failed in mobilizing people towards donations, and really understanding how this disease impacts someone.

They could add links to organizations, writing letters to people who are dealing with breast cancer, or even volunteering. Needless to say, none of this happened and it fell on deaf ears which is super disappointing.

Want to know a great cause? Something that ACTUALLY raised money and awareness. The Ice Bucket Challenge.

I live in the Boston area, and saw this evolving and grow. Pete Frates a local Boston guy, and athlete from Boston College was diagnosed with ALS, and reached out to athletes in the Boston area to raise awareness and donate to the cause.

Within a month it became a viral sensation, and raised over $115 Million dollars. The ALS foundation released a chart where the money was distributed;

• $77 million, or 67 percent, went to research.

• $23 million, or 20 percent, went to patient and community services.

• $10 million, or 9 percent, went to public and professional education.

• $3 million, or 2 percent, went to fund-raising.

• And $2 million, roughly another 2 percent, went to payment processing fees.

In 2016 scientists discovered NEK1, a gene which is common gene associated with 3% of ALS cases. This was discovered by 8 researchers across 11 countries. This discovery was significant but not a breakthrough. Needless to say, the Ice Bucket Challenge was successful.

Check this out for more information:

This is a perfect example of a failed campaign, and a successful one. It’s great to raise awareness, but it’s another thing to inspire and mobilize people towards a goal. Posting a Facebook status update does squat. Unless you plan of donating, or organize the efforts, in the end it’s a fruitless endeavor.

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