Each year, individuals around the globe band together for one day of pure and empowering support for those affected by cancer. That day, celebrated on the fourth of every February, is known simply as World Cancer Day. World Cancer Day is a global uniting initiative dedicated to raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalyzing personal, collective and government action. Over the past two decades, this international day of awareness has grown from a quiet message to a booming declaration, coupled with hundreds of activities and events across the globe. Watching the incredible transformation over the years has demonstrated one very important message: Everyone has a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer.
What started as simply a vision of the Swiss-based Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) has become one of the largest international health campaigns. Though UICC, of which the Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) is a proud member, is responsible for creating the initiative, they credit the success to each and every individual who has participated in World Cancer Day. Whether sharing their story on social media or hosting a participating event, World Cancer Day has thrived due to those individuals. This year, UICC is turning the spotlight on the participants with the theme “I am & I will”. This theme aims to illustrate how each person’s actions, big or small, can make lasting, positive change. This call-to-action encourages everyone to pause and reflect about their strengths, ambitions and what kind of impact they can make.
UICC has put together tool kits so that each individual or collective can more easily complete the phrases “I am” and “I will”. In these tool kits, readers are coached on how to address each of the World Cancer Day key issues, including access to cancer services, prevention and risk reduction, and government action and accountability. Within each tool kit are dozens of starting points for getting involved in World Cancer Day.
You can also download step-by-step guides that make involvement even easier, showcasing how you can take action with your message. The Asia Fund for Cancer Research on our website also has great ways that you can get involved with the fight against cancer—educating yourself about the disease, making a one-time donation or monthly contribution, gifting in honor or in memory of someone you love, or signing up for our popular mailing labels.
Although globally we celebrate World Cancer Day on 4 February, in reality, every day at the AFCR is a day dedicated to fighting cancer. Our organization’s funded researchers and scientists are making great progress in their pursuit to explore and defeat cancer.
If there is one thing that the past twenty years of World Cancer Days have taught, it is that there is no individual too small or powerless to make a difference. To get involved in the event, check out the World Cancer Day tool kits, plan or attend a World Cancer Day event, spread the word about this worldwide initiative with a custom social media post or consider donating to cancer research programs like AFCR. Great change begins with small steps, and together we can create a future without cancer.