When cancer strikes you or someone you love, it is an intensely personal and often isolating experience.
But with 8.2 million people dying of cancer worldwide every year, the battle is far from a solitary one.
World Cancer Day is an annual global event that aims to unite the world’s efforts to fight this deadly opponent. More than just a feel-good celebration that raises awareness one day and then fades into memory, the event provides people with concrete ways to take action at an individual, community and governmental level.
For the year 2016 and through the next two years, the event’s theme of “We Can. I Can” is focused on specific actions that each individual or community can take in order to have a positive impact on the global cancer epidemic.
World Cancer Day was first established in Paris during the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium. That event took place on February 4th, and during the event participants established the Paris Charter, which set out a goal of promoting research for curing and preventing cancer, providing improved services for cancer patients, and creating a global community united in and sharing in the effort. The charter established February 4th as the day on which World Cancer Day would be celebrated each year, and since that time the event has grown to a remarkable degree.
This year there are almost 600 World Cancer Day activities planned, taking place from Hay River, Canada to Auckland, New Zealand. The events range from fundraising bake sales and cancer prevention awareness talks to conferences discussing new treatments and training sessions on how to press legislators to take action and join in the fight.
The organizers have chosen the “We Can. I Can.” theme with the idea that we all have the ability to help and the power to make change. They are encouraging individuals and groups alike to pledge to take action, to make healthy lifestyle choices, to challenge perceptions and to ask for support.
The movement’s goals are both global and individual: the hope is that by raising awareness and inspiring participation, they will build a quality cancer workforce whose goal is to improve access to cancer case and shape policy change as well as to support individuals in their own cancer journey.
Getting involved in World Cancer Day 2016 is easy and has no specific requirements or expectations, as the movement recognizes that no action is too small and that everybody has different resources. Whether you have the ability to organize your own World Cancer Day event, choose to distribute educational information about cancer, contribute funds to the movement, or simply support the efforts by posting the World Cancer Day “Talking Hands” social media campaign to your network of friends or family, every action counts in raising awareness and hope for the future.
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