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Standing Up to Cancer in the World Series (and in Everyday Life)

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Cancer awareness is in the forefront of my mind this week, thanks to a new awareness campaign I just saw. So, I felt I needed to write a few thoughts. You see, my beloved Red Sox are in a dogfight of a World Series, with more twists and turns than the road course at Monaco. But along about the sixth inning in Game 4 of the World Series, Major League Baseball held a very interesting moment to kick off a new campaign for Stand Up to Cancer.

In a very moving show of support, players and fans wrote on a card the name of the person they were standing up for and showed it, quite literally, to the world.

Awareness Campaigns at a Glance

I also happened upon an article in the Huffington Post about one breast-cancer survivor’s opinion of the call for women to go bra-less in support of breast cancer patients and survivors. Without reading it, you can guess that perhaps she was less than enthused.

In addition, I found this haunting set of images as a link in my Facebook feed about one couple’s journey through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Trust me, if you are not ready to shed a few tears, do not look at these images, it is THAT powerful. I am tearing up just writing these words.

And finally, next month, a dear friend’s foundation is about to grant its One Millionth dollar to needy young adults struggling to get back on their feet after surviving cancer treatment. The SamFund has done amazing work with an extremely focused mission. And while their “Million Dollar Milestone” won’t make the same headlines as these other orgs, I know from reading through the grant applications each year, that each dollar The SAMFund grants a survivor makes a HUGE impact on those recipients. Often times it means the difference between staying in an apartment or living on the street.

What Made the Major League Baseball Promotion So Powerful

As I was reflecting on these events, I thought back to this article I wrote in 2009 about Who Really Owns Brand Cancer? What struck me as I re-read it today was just how powerful the MLB promotion really was. By having each individual put the name of someone close to them who has battled Cancer, it brought the individuality of the cause home.

You see, I believe this even more today, now, seven years post-diagnosis, then I did back in 2009. I don’t believe that Cancer is about wearing pink, or even writing a check to your favorite charity each year. Cancer isn’t about walking in a walk, or even wearing a bracelet (though I do).

No. To me, Cancer is about surviving. It’s about doing everything you can to beat it yourself, or helping someone you know or love beat it themselves. Because Cancer knows no “Six Degrees of Separation.” If you haven’t been touched yet, I hate to break it to you, you will be someday. So wear pink if you will, write a check if you choose. Do the walk, wear the bracelet, do all of those things because they are all important in their own way.

I just ask you to promise yourself this one thing: When it’s your time, show up and BE THERE.

THAT is the most powerful thing you can do. I know what it meant to me and my family and I promise you, no amount of walking, or wearing pink or writing checks will ever replace you being there, in that moment, for yourself, for your loved one, or for your friend. And please don’t wait to be asked—they have too much else on their mind. Just show up and do whatever needs to be done.

You may never know how important just showing up will be to those around you, but I promise, you will have a bigger impact than all those other things combined.

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Aaron Dun is vice-president of marketing and strategy at Percussion, a provider of Web content, experience, and engagement software products. Reach him via

Twitter: @ajdun

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  • by Elaine Marquis Mon Oct 28, 2013 via blog

    Absolutely great article, Aaron. Your points are 100% correct.

  • by Aaron Mon Oct 28, 2013 via blog

    Thanks for the kind words Elaine, glad you liked it.

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