Monday, June 18, 2012
This image has been appearing as a status update all over Facebook. It really bothers me, and I can't even really articulate why. I think part of me just finds it silly - do we really all think that 97% of our friends won't repost and that only 3% will.?Where do those numbers come from?
The message also implies that if you don't repost, it's because you really don't hate cancer - that you are apathetic or worse. But posting a statement that cancer is bad, is not an act of activism and affects no real change.
In addition, I'm bothered by the statement "all someone battling cancer wants...". Really? You think that's true of every single cancer patient? As an individual person living with cancer I have wanted a new mobile phone and dreamed of fixing up my house. I've also wanted a dog, for my kids to do more around the house, to travel and be able to watch something good on TV on a Friday night. While I've struggled with my health, I have remained a whole person with complex wants, needs and desires. The illness hasn't changed that.
Finally - and I know this doesn't apply to all of us with cancer - but I don't like the "battling" and "war" analogies, especially when we go on to say someone has "lost" or "won" the war. It's not true that only the fighters and the strong survive. And it's certainly not through that those who pass away just didn't fight hard enough.
I know that the people who post this status update have big hearts and are very well intentioned. I don't want to sound mean-spirited or ungrateful. I just want to let you know that this cancer patient would prefer you did something else. Something real. Something more.