It's September, at that means it's time again for Lymphoma Awareness Month! Woo hoo!
I always find it a bit ironic -- as if lymphoma patients, their caregivers and loved ones needed to be reminded about lymphoma.
Really, this month is about making others aware -- people who might have it and don't know it (though we sure hope that isn't the case for anyone), people who misunderstand what it's all about, even people who have the power to do something to help us (funders, donors, legislators, voters). It's good for people to know what lymphoma is, and WHY they should know it.
To that end, some excellent organizations have put some things together to help us make others aware.
Patients Against Lymphoma, the good folks behind Lymphomation.org, have posted an updated brochure that provides some basic information about lymphoma -- types, symptoms, treatments, etc. It can printed on both sides and distributed to anyone you think might benefit from the information.
The Lymphoma Research Foundation is again conducting their "Light it Red" campaign, encouraging people to light up buildings and landmarks in red lights to raise awareness of lymphoma (and other blood cancers) and give hope to lymphoma patients. They've got a nice list of buildings and landmarks that will be lit up, including Niagara Falls in New York and Canada, the National Concert hall in Dublin, Ireland, and the TD Garden in Boston, among others.
And of course, the Lymphoma Coalition, made up of Lymphoma research and support organizations from around the world, publishes their annual "Know Your Nodes" quiz. (I got 8 out of 10. Feel free to try to beat me.)
Does "awareness" really matter? Does it make any difference?
Yeah. I think it does. More people being aware of lymphoma means that more people will take it seriously if they think they might have it. (And if you do think so, get the heck off your computer and go to a doctor. Don't trust anything online that says you might or might not have it. Get a medical professional to tell you for sure.)
And, more importantly, in the last month, a whole lot more people became aware of ALS, thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has been spreading all over the internet. (And yes, Lympho Bob did participate.) It not only raised awareness, but also raised millions of dollars for research on the disease. Pretty darn nice.
So take some time to celebrate this month -- our month. Cancer isn't really something to celebrate, but being alive sure is.