National Football League Brings Awareness to Breast Cancer

Picture provided by NFL.com/pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and if you are a National Football League (NFL) fan you know happens next.  The NFL, its clubs, players and the NFL Players Association come together and to support the fight against breast cancer. The campaign A Crucial Catch, in partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS), is focused largely on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older. The creation of this great awareness campaign was ingenious as it reaches millions of viewers every year to remind woman to get their check ups regularly.   It also happens to combine both my passions in life, football and fighting cancer.

Throughout October, NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel, play with special game balls and the fields bare the pink ribbon stencils all to help raise awareness for this important campaign. All apparel worn at games by players and coaches, along with special game balls and pink coins will be auctioned off at NFL Auction.  Proceeds benefiting the ACS’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program. The CHANGE program provides outreach and breast cancer screenings to women in underserved communities.

Since its founding in 2009, the NFL has raised over $3 million dollars through A Crucial Catch for the American Cancer Society. All 32 teams are currently participating in the program. Some NFL players even go above and beyond raising more funds by hosting fundraisers through other vaious creative ways. Take Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for example.  Larry lost his mother to breast cancer in 2003 and he uses social media such as Facebook and Twitter to gain followers by donating 25 cents per every new “like” or “follower” he gets during the month of October. For more information on Larry’s personal experience with breast cancer, click here to watch a video on NFL.com.

Reports recently came out by The Huffington Post stating only 5% of the proceeds from A Crucial Catch program goes to the ACS. Although these numbers seem low, millions of dollars have been raised and more importantly million of lives will be saved by having these outreach programs it supports.  Breast cancer is no joke and stastics shows that the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8.  Personally I don’t like these odds so we have a lot more work cut out in the future. My beautiful mother Sandy battled breast cancer and will be celebrating another birthday this November because of great programs like this.  She is now 6 years cancer free.

Me and my mom Sandy

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Social Media Within the Non-Profit World

Photo is from Reach to Recovery site for American Cancer Society

It truly is a jungle out there in the world of social media. A mass of information can be found with a click of your TV remote, car radio, cellular phone, computer, and with the millions of sites that can be viewed can be overwhelming at times. How does social media impact public relations for non-profits organizations?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) uses media and social networking to advocate cancer awareness to reach millions of worldwide cancer survivors, newly diagnosed cancer patients, researchers, doctors, media, and the general public. The ACS utilizes social media to educate the general public on exercise, health, cancer research, assist with funding and much more. On any given day the ACS utilizes and maintains 7 Facebook pages, 9 separate Twitter accounts, a YouTube channel, an ACS app for iPhones, My Space page, and of course their main website at www.cancer.org.  Social media has allowed non-profits to reach a broad audience enabling them to educate themselves on the warnings signs and detect certain cancers before diagnosed to prevent this deadly disease.  This has the potential to save millions of lives.

The ACS also uses social media outlets as a way to fundraise to help in the assistance of cancer research expenses. Personally I have used this method time and again to raise funds within my network of friends and family via emails, texting, Facebook page, and the use of the YouTube videos on the ACS YouTube Channel to share with others to gain interest for potential volunteers and donors as well. Without social media in the non-profit realm, fundraising would be drastically different.  There is nothing like a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting to supplement that personal touch, but by use of social media I can reach 30 people in 5 minutes, share my passion in a quick personal message and link a video to add that extra touch to reel in my audience hoping they will be hooked and donate to the cause. This method has actually worked for me in the past as I gained $75 in 5 minutes by only sending a personal email out to 5 friends. Social media made it easy using the ACS account info to link their payment options all within a click of a few buttons. Who knows maybe those few dollars I raised are the ones that will find a cure cancer one day.

Resources:  http://pressroom.cancer.org/index.php?s=63 ACS Press Room Social Media page