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Why We Should Highlight Social Causes With Commemoration Days

By Sergio Medrano - Be The Match "Latin America"
Regional Director


By Sergio Medrano | Latin America Director - Tue, 02/14/2023 - 13:00

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Nonprofit organizations and altruistic groups have reached an important level of relevance in recent years, with increasing resources, reach, and supporters. As a result, there are now numerous commemoration days for various social causes that help raise awareness of the less-known topics that may need a boost in society. The purpose of social marketing is to attract, capture, retain and keep donors and volunteers who find value in the humanitarian cause of the organization through different approaches.

For this reason, February is a very important month. It is called the National Month for Awareness, Prevention, Detection and Timely Treatment of Childhood Cancer in Mexico, which seeks to highlight the fight against childhood cancer in the country as well as spread data that highlight the importance of this battle that more than 300,000 children under the age of 19 fight each year.[i] The Mexican health sector is a complex and ever-changing industry with various branches, one of them being nonprofit organizations, which not only have the challenge of obtaining resources for their purposes, but also of reaching more and more people in a context of misinformation and myths, such as those around bone marrow donation.

Organic and non-invasive advertising, especially in the field of health, can be achieved thanks to different strategies, such as publishing information that users usually search for on the internet as well as offering valuable data for people in simplified versions. One of the tactics that is also used in these cases are, as already mentioned, the commemoration days that are related to the message we seek to convey.

Childhood cancer comprises many different types of tumors that develop in children and adolescents from 0 to 19 years of age. The most common types are leukemia, brain cancer, lymphoma, and solid tumors, such as neuroblastoma and Wilms’ tumor. In Mexico, more than 5,000 new cases of leukemia are diagnosed each year in children under 19 years of age,[ii] and it is imperative to promote not only information but also alternatives for care and treatment for those affected by it since the disease does not distinguish between economic resources or the different possibilities available to  each family.

Many tasks and efforts are centered around this month, and several nonprofit associations cooperate to catch people’s interest and inform them so as to reach as many people as possible. As an example, Be The Match® Mexico focuses on finding genetic matches between donors and people with blood diseases so that they obtain the transplant they need, representing the largest and most diverse registry of stem cell donors in the world. The February commemorations, such as World Cancer Day on the 4th or International Children's Day with Cancer on the 15th, represent an opportunity to draw attention to this cause, spread information, and disprove myths, among other strategies that help strengthen this registry of potential donors, which represents the only chance of survival for thousands of patients.

Eighty percent of cancer cases are curable if detected early.[iii] Unfortunately, 75% of cancer cases in children under 18 years of age in Mexico are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease,[iv] which considerably increases the time and cost of treatment and significantly decreases the possibility of being cured. In this sense, drawing attention to this problem is the main objective of these commemorations, which play an important role in reaching the public, because without the recognition that these days provide, it is impossible to establish relevance in the social conversation.

Be The Match® Mexico, in addition to being a facilitator between doctors, associations, health institutions, and possible donors of bone marrow and stem cells, provides advice and resources through its Patient Support Center for those living with some type of leukemia and their caregivers. The  aim is to help them  face the process in an optimal and informed way since another fundamental factor to generate greater awareness about cancers like leukemia is to talk about the psychological and emotional impact that it has on those who suffer from it. Facing the diagnosis and, later, the treatment to combat it, can generate alterations in the state of mind, mood and behavior of not only the patient but their family, too, which means that the people around the patient are also affected by a cancer diagnosis.

Commemoration days don’t work just on their own; efforts must be made to get the most out of them. Strategy is a huge part of making this work as great ideas and intentions aren't enough in an age where every space in front of audiences is being fought for, so it's important for nonprofits to keep in mind the constant evolution of advertising and marketing.

Another important resource to highlight is alliances; nonprofit associations are not alone and taking advantage of this is imperative to meet common goals. As an example, to encourage the participation of civil society in altruistic causes, such as donations, Be The Match® Mexico launched its campaign Juntos por Match Vidas (Together for Match Lives), which it seeks to demonstrate that beyond tastes, preferences, lifestyle or gender, everyone may be connected through their willingness to help and their genetics. As another one of our efforts to ensure treatment, reduce the physical, psychological, and economic exhaustion of the patient and their family, and raise awareness in society in general about their active participation in improving conditions in which the patient and his family experience cancer, among other objectives, we created an alliance between three nonprofit associations called Conecta2 Por La Vida, to increase the life expectancy of Mexican children and adolescents who require a bone marrow transplant.

In the last five years, Be The Match® has attracted more than 125,000 individuals in Mexico who want to save lives and we invite others to join our cause. That serves as an inspiration for us to continue working to promote the culture of bone marrow donation and add more heroes to our mission as well as to maintain and grow our partnerships to help as many people as possible, relying on these days that, among other things, help to overcome misinformation barriers and create greater opportunities for our nonprofit and others that share the goal of, ultimately, helping people.

[i] https://www.gob.mx/insabi/articulos/15-de-febrero-dia-internacional-del-cancer-infantil-263815?idiom=es

[ii] https://www.gob.mx/insabi/articulos/15-de-febrero-dia-internacional-del-cancer-infantil-263815?idiom=es

[iii] https://www.gob.mx/salud/prensa/055-la-leucemia-representa-el-50-por-ciento-de-los-casos-de-cancer-infantil

[iv] http://www.ssch.gob.mx/rendicionCuentas/archivos/Cancer%20en%20la%20Infancia%20y%20la%20Adolescencia.pdf

Photo by:   Sergio Medrano

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