The purpose of awareness

Why is awareness important, particularly with something like cancer?

Awareness is the greatest agent for change. `Eckhart Tolle

There are a lot of cancer “Awareness” events and patient empowerment movements. Examples are October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, and February is touted as Cancer Prevention Month.

I’ve written about OVER-awareness before and how that can trigger anxiety in some people when the focus is on fear. When reading that blog post again, I can tell it triggered doubt in me about who was focused on actual research vs just marketing.

Organizations have good intentions but should not create awareness through fear. That’s not effective or inspiring.

Most of us have been affected by a health scare such as cancer in some shape or form…a personal experience, a family member or a close friend. Having that awareness through a personal connection helps get the conversation started faster and can give those that are struggling much needed hope.

Awareness offers more than just hope though. It can lead to action. 

To be effective in our efforts, we need to make sure we help others translate that awareness into actionable items. This can be through helping to change behavior or acting upon beliefs.

An example of an effective effort is the Georgia Day at the Capital in Atlanta each February, sponsored by the Cancer Action Network (part of the American Cancer Society). This motivated me to take action. I signed up to participate and met with legislators a couple of times.

As a resident of the state of Georgia, my story (and other patients) will help influence the elected officials to move legislation that makes ALL Georgians healthier and allows for easier access to care. 

I thank God daily that I’m still here. Being diagnosed with breast cancer twice (8 years apart) and then a rare primary brain tumor in between was the motivation for me to start blogging in 2010. The purpose of my writing over the years is to encourage others to be proactive and engaged with their health. (It’s also a great way for me to stay focused.)

Everyday you wake up is a gift. That’s how I view life and encourage others to not take life for granted. And don’t be afraid to speak up. Every voice can make a difference and lead to powerful change.

​Isn’t it time to take some action?


The latest Real Things Living podcast is a conversation with Grace Charrier.

Listen in full here – We need some inspiration.

Her best is advice is that “mental resilience is key.”  It’s not easy dealing with any type of cancer diagnosis, and Grace was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer in April 2016. That was 4 years ago as of this writing. She has used this time to inspire others and became active with patient advocacy through love and wanting to help others. She also recently published a book about her experience, Impossicant: Quirky Inspirational Tales from a Cancer Survivor

Grace is a Global Goodwill Ambassador, Patient Leader Advocate, Fight Cancer Global Project Leader, and host of Cancer Convos Podcast on YouTube. The objective of her podcast is to provide much-needed information for patients, survivors, and caregivers….and of course some inspiration! She had me as a guest back in March and we focused on Survivorship


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