By Troy Moon, Pensacola News Journal
October 15, 2015
It’s not enough to have a disease that people hate. If you really want to make an impact, you have to have a disease that people have fun hating.
If you just have a normal serious disease, but your disease doesn’t have good branding, lots of flashy visuals, appealing colors or an awesome dare attached to it, who cares? (Well, we care. But we’ll care more if you raise money by throwing pies in people’s faces. You know, for a good cause.)
That’s why the world is pink this month. That’s why we hang bras on bridges. That’s why we at the Pensacola News Journal will be printing an all-pink newspaper on Oct. 29. Because October is National Breast Cancer Month. Of course, you knew that. Because, you know, pink is everywhere. All month, you’ll see NFL players wearing pink to show they’re all-in in the fight against breast cancer. Even the ones with domestic abuse cases in their past. If you go to a youth football game in town, you’ll see the kids wearing pink wrist bands and shoelaces just like the pros. It’s a cause with a cool color. And a few cool mottos. Who can’t rally around “Save the TaTas?” But who would rally around “Save People From Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease?
It’s all about branding, folks. So while breast cancer has October, don’t fret when the waters of Pensacola’s downtown fountains run purple. That’s because November is National Epilepsy Month, and, well, epilepsy is just trying to keep up. The National Epilepsy Foundation of Florida will be dyeing the fountains at Plaza Ferdinand and Plaza DeLuna purple in November, hoping to raise awareness — and needed funds — to fight a disease that affects one of every 26 people.
But…November is also Movember, when guys across Pensacola and the nation will be growing mustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues, predominately prostate cancer. (I’ve been suggesting a blue newspaper for a while now to raise awareness about prostate cancer, but no one listens to me. And I’m not sure if Jockstraps Across the Bridges will be as well received as Bras Across the Bridges.)
But you’ve got to have something. How many of you folks even knew what ALS was a few years ago? But once people started dumping buckets of ice on their heads, everyone was wanting to fight ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Children were into it. Company bigwigs were daring each other. There were group ALS Ice Bucket Challenges. Everyone wanted in on the fun.
Yes, there are cynics. And critics. Willard Foxton of The Daily Telegraph described the Ice Bucket Challenge as “a middle-class wet T-shirt contest for armchair clicktivists.” Another called it the “Harlem Shake of the Summer.”
I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit cynical about the fads and stunts and bracelets and ribbons too. How much do these reindeer games actually help?
Well, apparently, a lot. In 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought in more than $100 million during the summer of 2014 for the organization, compared to $2.8 million the non-profit organization raised during the same time period in 2013.
Sometimes it involves a stunt. How about the ‘Nad Kick Challenge? You know, to fight prostate cancer.