May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month. Last May, this wasn't something I was aware of, but this May is much much different. My Dad was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in August of last year and even though I have quite a bit of medical knowledge, I quickly learned there was a lot I didn't know about Brain Cancer.
I've learned a lot of complicated medical terms, I've learned about different types of treatments and research but there was a lot of basic knowledge that I just didn't have. Towards the end of April I knew I wanted to do something for May, but what? I could donate money, I could do a walk, I could do something myself, but it would be more impactful if I could convince other people to do something too. Since I'm a graphic designer and have a lot of experience working on campaigns, a social media awareness campaign seemed like the perfect choice.
I started with brainstorming, what kinds of things would be the most helpful to teach people about this disease? I narrowed it down to: important stats, research and education/important people. I know from some of the Facebook groups I'm involved in, people like to deliver cold, hard, sobering facts. There are a lot of sad realities to this disease but there is also a lot of hope and a lot of good people working everyday towards finding better treatments. Teaching people the basics first, and also sharing what they can do to help seemed like a more convincing and positive approach that might be better received. In the end, it's about awareness, the more aware you are of a problem, the more likely you are to get involved and/or help.
I quickly learned that facts were all over the internet and were VERY difficult to verify. Putting out accurate information was a top priority, so I started emailing people with more knowledge than me. Three people who were a tremendous help were Dr. Thomas Kaley, a Neuro-Oncologist from Memorial Sloan-Kettering, which is a very prestigious hospital in New York, NY and Dr. Shawn Carbonell who is a former Neurosurgeon turned private researcher who has a pretty big on-line following. I also enlisted the help of my favorite copywriter/editor, Rachel to make sure I didn't embarrass myself with grammatical and/or punctuation errors. These people were so helpful with making sure all of my information was correct.
The campaign went live the last week in April and so far it has far surpassed what I thought was possible, as of May 2nd, it's been downloaded 530 times by people interested in running the campaign on their own Facebook pages. With about 100-500 Facebook friends on each page, that's a lot of awareness. The point of this post isn't to toot my own horn, it's to show that if you really care about something and want to do something about it, nothing's stopping you.
Below is a look at the final campaign, if you hover over the picture you'll see the 'call to action' and link for each post.