Each year, individuals around the globe band together for one day of pure and empowering support for those affected by cancer. That day, celebrated on the 4th of February, is known simply as World Cancer Day. World Cancer Day is a global uniting initiative dedicated to raising worldwide awareness, improving education, and catalyzing personal, collective and government action. Over the past 20 years, this international day of awareness has grown from a quiet message to a booming declaration coupled with hundreds of activities and events across the globe. Watching the incredible transformation over the years has demonstrated one very important message: everyone has a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer.
What started as simply a vision of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) has become one of the largest international health campaigns. Though UICC is responsible for creating the initiative, they credit the success to each and every individual who has participated in World Cancer Day. Whether sharing their story on social media or hosting a participating event, World Cancer Day has thrived due to those individuals. This year, UICC is turning the spotlight on the participants with the theme “I am & I will”. This theme aims to illustrate how each person’s actions, big or small, can make lasting, positive change. This call-to-action encourages everyone to pause and reflect about their strengths, ambitions, and what kind of impact they can make.
UICC has put together tool kits so that each individual or collective can more easily complete the phrases “I am” and “I will”. In these tool kits, readers are coached on how to address each of the World Cancer Day key issues, including access to cancer services, prevention and risk reduction, and government action and accountability. Within each tool kit are dozens of starting points for getting involved in World Cancer Day. You can also download step-by-step guides that make involvement even easier, showcasing how you can take action with your message. The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) on its website www.NFCR.org also has great ways that you can get involved with the fight against cancer—from starting your own Play4TheCure or Arts4TheCure event, to making a gift in honor or in memory of someone you love.
Although globally we celebrate World Cancer Day on February 4, in reality, every day at the NFCR is a day dedicated to fighting cancer. NFCR-funded researchers and scientists are making great progress in their pursuit to explore and defeat cancer. You can learn more about their recent achievements in cancer research by reading NFCR’s 2019 Snapshot.
If there is one thing that the past 20 years of World Cancer Days have taught, it is that there is no individual too small or powerless to make a difference. To get involved in the celebration, check out the World Cancer Day tool kits, plan or attend a World Cancer Day event, spread the word about this worldwide initiative with a custom social media post, or consider donating to cancer research facilities, like the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Great change begins with small steps, and together we can create a future without cancer.