There seems to be a new trend on social media. I believe it started with Twitter, which is a form of social media I have no truck with, so I didn’t see it until it arrived on Facebook. It seems to consist of women posting a ‘selfie’ of themselves with no make-up, and it’s supposed to raise awareness of cancer. Oh, and some men are getting into the act by posting a picture of themselves WITH make-up, which is interesting.
Raising awareness of cancer is a laudable aim, but there are two problems. One is that no mention is ever made of cancer when the pictures are posted, and the other seems to be that nobody is actually donating anything, either time or money, to any cancer charities, hospitals or individuals*. Nobody even seems to be dedicating their selfie to someone they know who has cancer.
My selfie is up there, taken with my Macbook Air. You won’t notice much difference between this selfie and any other photo you may have seen of me, because I very seldom wear make-up anyway (unless you count nail-varnish which I do wear when my nails are not broken and flaking), but there it is.
I’d like to dedicate this selfie to a very sweet woman who died recently of brain cancer, very young. I didn’t know her terribly well, because she was largely an internet friend, but her lovely, sparkly personality and infectious sense of humour made a huge impression when OH and I did meet her in person and we are both very saddened by her loss.
I’d also like to dedicate it to my sister-in-law’s brother who has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour. He too is a lovely person. He has a wonderful, dry wit and is kind and gentle. I won’t ask why it is that both these lovely people were afflicted with this particular illness. It seems a cruel joke, but let’s face it, that’s life. It’s the luck of the draw.
These are not the only people in my life with cancer. I have a cousin with some type of Hodgkins – or non-Hodgkins, I can never remember – lymphoma, at least two relatives who’ve had breast cancer, and I’ve lost a brother-in-law with cancer of the prostate which ended up in his liver, and a friend of the family with lung cancer. OH and I have both had treatment for cancers of differing types. A friend’s father is being treated for melanoma.
My point is, surely these days we all know someone who has, or has had cancer – or at least know of someone? Surely there is no point is saying ‘let’s all be aware that cancer is here and can strike at any time’ without also saying ‘… and here’s what you can do to help’?
So how about this: Let’s begin to change this fairly meaningless meme into something which has a point.
If you have read this or seen a ‘selfie for cancer’ or two, why not donate something? It doesn’t have to be much, and it doesn’t matter which cancer charity you donate to. Or you could donate your time to visit someone with cancer, either just to chat or to help with shopping, cooking, transport or gardening. It doesn’t even have to be human cancer, because all animals can get cancer. Go sit with a friend’s dog who has recently had surgery so they can go shopping or something.
Drop a pound into a charity tin when you see one. Write a card to someone who is in hospital, a hospice, or simply home alone recovering. Do anything … but don’t just post a picture and forget it.
*Babs tells me that there should indeed be a link to donate with each selfie, which makes so much more sense! She tells me that the information which should be included is: Text SELFIE to 70330 for a Â£3 donation.
In the absence of this knowledge, I donated to the Marie Curie Foundation.