There’s a good chance that you, or someone you love, will develop cancer.
That’s not hyperbole, but a reflection of the current stats that say 41 percent of those born today will suffer from the illness, with roughly 1.6 million new cases diagnosed annually. Worse yet, 1,500 lives are lost from the disease every day.
Thankfully, there are countless charities and fundraisers in existence to help fight and raise awareness of this ghastly disease.
And often, it’s PR and marketing firms that are leading the way on these charities.
After all, behind each of the statistics about cancer is a story—of someone’s uncle or grandma, of the student with the bald head who sat next to you in homeroom, of the dental hygienist who wasn’t in the office on your most recent visit. It’s stories such as these that communications shops specialize in telling.
Here are three cancer fundraisers that stem from agencies or their executives, each with a story of their own to tell.
‘Be Bold, Be Bald!’ raises funds, creates empathy
In 2007, Boston-based strategic marketing firm Small Army
launched a nonprofit arm after one of its co-founders, Mike Connell, died following a two-year battle (and third bout) with cancer.
That nonprofit arm continues to tell his story, as well as that of countless others effected by the disease, through its annual “Be Bold, Be Bald!
As part of this daylong fundraising campaign, participants wear bald caps to raise awareness for cancer patients and money for charities. So far, the campaign has raised more than $500,000. Plus, it’s giving people a chance to learn what it feels like to actually lose their hair.
“Too many people see a bald head as a sign of weakness,” said Small Army CEO Jeff Freedman in a press release about the event. “But after watching Mike battle the disease, we view it is a sign of incredible bravery and strength, and wear the cap to honor that.”
This year, the event—now in its fourth year—takes place on Nov. 2. (You can still get involved by visiting “The Bald Shop
” to purchase your very own cap to wear.)
Movember embraces the mustache to fight cancer
One month after numerous brands and organizations go pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, a number of men begin growing their facial hair for Movember
, an effort in which guys (or "Mo Bros
," as they're called) sport mustaches in November to raise awareness and funds for prostate and testicular cancer.
Movember was co-founded by Adam Garone, who oversaw marketing for a variety of companies before launching his cancer initiative.
As the global cause continues to grow, a number of advertising firms have joined the action. In fact, this year’s Movember includes an “Agency Challenge
,” in which creative firms are squaring off to raise money for the effort.
With the help of Melbourne-based creative shop Urichin
and PR firm Edelman,
Movember 2012 adopted a new theme, “Movember & Sons,” to encourage younger men to have a conversation about health with their dads.
According to Adweek
, an estimated 855,000 registrants helped the organization rake in $126 million in 2011, and Movember organizers expect those numbers to reach 1.1 million advocates while raising about $150 million in donations this year.
Related: ‘Movember’ brings awareness to prostate and testicular cancer
Stand Up To Cancer’s motto says it all
For two of the co-founders of Stand Up to Cancer
(SU2C), both of whom hail from the marketing industry, fighting cancer is deeply personal.
Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz helped launch SU2C in May 2008, when it began as an annual star-studded show
more akin to the Grammy Awards than a Friday night telecast for charity. Now it’s a full-blown movement to fund cancer research.
Each woman has seen the ravaging effects of the disease up close. Both their mothers died of cancer, while two of Schwartz’s sisters have survived their own bouts with the disease.
In the marketing world, Robertson and Schwartz are founding partners of Robertson Schwartz Agency
(RSA), which spearheads SU2C’s marketing staff. ID-PR
jointly lead the charity’s communications
SU2C’s mantra is “where the end of cancer begins,” and it not only well represents the charity itself, but also the work of marketers and PR pros who—like both Be Bold, Be Bald! and Movember—continue to unite with supporters and survivors on efforts to fight the disease.