Pass It On: FA and Breast Cancer charity team up to tackle lack of awareness

The fight against the most common form of one of the most feared six letter word in the English language – cancer – steps up in October with international Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But are we doing enough to raise awareness of this deadly and crippling disease? The simple answer is, no.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month gets very little coverage and is in urgent need of support  – a recent poll 73% of Mancunians were unaware it was BCAM.

Most people, who do hear about a cancer awareness push, hear about it through social media over a fixed period of time.

Research Officer for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Christopher Runchel, said: “October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month provides us with a great platform to engage with our supporters, engage with the media and update them on all the work we’re doing in important areas such as research and public health.

“It goes without saying it’s also an important fundraising opportunity for us.”

Last year, the greatest visible effort to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month was the Pink Landmarks event, where the country’s most iconic feats of architecture were lit up in pink.

But the success of these campaigns to make people more aware of the disease is hard to quantify.

Mr Runchel said: “It’s hard to put exact numbers on how successful an initiative such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month is when it comes to educating the public.

“But there has definitely been an increase in the number of women consulting their doctors over the years, so that’s a good thing.”

The #wearitpink campaign calls for the public to wear an item of pink every year in October to show their support and to donate whatever they can. The campaign raised £2million last October alone.

So what else can be done and who else can get involved to help get Breast Cancer the coverage it requires to ensure women and men check themselves as much as they should?

Sports organisations such The Football Association have been doing their part to increase the public knowledge of the often terminal illness.

When charity attempts do come to football, very little warning is given to the public, for example, few main-stream media outlets reported on the rainbow laces campaign earlier this season.

The main efforts made by footballers to promote charitable causes are for Remembrance Weekend. The only other campaigns include the rainbow laces and Nike’s RED lace scheme.

Rarely though do people look at a player’s laces.

But this year The FA is teaming up with Breast Cancer Care, in a bid to raise at least £500,000 through local and national fundraising efforts between 2014 and 2016.

The Pass It On campaign aims to tackle the issues surrounding Breast Cancer awareness by getting football teams to pass on the messages to the men and women in their lives.

Speaking to MM, Andy Harris – Director of Fundraising at Breast Cancer Care – says: “We are thrilled about our new Pass It On campaign with The Football Association.

“Together we hope to reach thousands more people across the nation with our vital breast awareness message, while raising a phenomenal £500,000 to support women and men facing this brutal disease.

“One in eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, so it’s really important that everyone knows the changes to look and feel for when checking their breasts.

“Early detection can save lives and the football community all have friends, sisters, mums and dads who they can pass this life-saving information onto.”

To launch the partnership, on October 1, the Wembley Arch went pink.

And when the England women’s team play Germany on November 23 the teams will put money towards the charity along with a £150,000 donation from the FA.

With the help of The FA, BCC can raise the profile of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and score the ultimate goal of beating the disease. To do your bit click here.

Image courtesy of Mark Menzies, via Flickr, with thanks

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