Due to a knee injury, I’m still on hiatus from running, so I thought I’d write a little bit about attending the LIVESTRONG Assembly.
At the end of March, a group of international and highly motivated LIVESTRONG leaders were lucky enough to attend the LIVESTRONG Assembly in Austin, Texas, to get to know each other, connect with program partners and find out more about LIVESTRONG‘s programs and priorities. For us, it was a wonderful chance to find out how we can make a difference in the fight against cancer in our own communities.
One thing we talked about was advocacy (with an international focus). LIVESTRONG‘s Rebekka Schear told us about the way the foundation defines advocacy (“An organized approach to promoting an issue and motivating others to take action. Advocacy is about changing attitudes, knowledge, practice, policy, systems and services — to benefit people affected by cancer.”). There are two kinds of advocacy, and by sharing my own personal story, I hope some of you will get motivated to do something similar and get active in your own country.
Advocacy- traditional lobbying; targeting decision makers; system change
We worked on getting a law passed regarding the ban of tanning beds for young people under the age of 18. I know quite a number of young adults with skin cancer who used tanning beds. We got together and sent letters and e-mails to politicians and met with some local and regional leaders. In the end, the law got passed, however it’s very complicated to enforce, so now we’re actually working on passing a stricter law, so that e.g. coin operated machines will be prohibited and tanning saloons will need to put up warning signs in all saloons.
- advocacy- education on issues; empowering people to take action; building awareness, networks, and brand; support and services self or other survivors
We also went to tanning bed saloons and talked about skin cancer awareness, prevention and early detection. I’m going back to school to become a teacher, so I combined my two passions and went into schools and university to talk to students, teachers and parents… and everyone loved getting a LIVESTRONG band.
Advocacy can mean anything from lobbying for stricter regulations to writing a letter to the editor (depending on your level of commitment and ability/time to work on these issues). But no advocacy effort is too small, so even writing a short note on any social media site can make a difference.
LIVESTRONG – join us (http://livestrong.org)
Right now, we’re working on our Canvas Project. These are just some of the amazing pieces we created (all benefiting LAF). If you’d like to order a tribute canvas (In Honor Of, In Memory Of, I am a survivor), please check out our blog (http://thecanvasproject.wordpress.com/) or FB page (https://www.facebook.com/CanvasProjectForLivestrong).
If you need an additional incentive to order a tribute canvas (The Canvas Project (benefiting Livestrong)), this might be it: we’ll raffle off a Lance Armstrong signed Newsweek magazine. Everyone who orders a canvas by LIVESTRONG Day (October 2nd, 2012) has a chance of winning 🙂