Awareness

When you find a geocache, you put in a trading item and take one out. Sometimes you find a special item called a travel bug. This is an item that you need to take to a new geocache and log in to say that you have found it and where you dropped it off. Last week Matt was in Arizona on business and went to find a geocache with a travel bug in it so he could drop it off to one when he got home with the kids.

When he showed me this bug, I was immediately intrigued.

Do you see it? This bug is raising awareness for Unite for Diabetes and originated in China. It has traveled over 11,000 miles. Such a simple little thing that is directing everyone who touches it to a web site where they can learn about this movement, diabetes itself, and activities promoting this great organization.

It got me to thinking about how we raise awareness for the causes that are dear to our hearts. I must admit that most of the time when I'm raising awareness, I'm also working to raise funds or donations of items. And sometimes that can turn people off from learning more. Or seriously? How many requests for help in fundraising do you get each week? I get a lot and sometimes it can just be overwhelming. Do you ever gloss over the emails about what the need or cause is and just donate because it's your niece asking? Or do you dissociate a bit because you know the cause is in incredible need but you know you cannot give at that time?

So, how can we raise awareness separate from fundraising? I've been proudly wearing the pink breast cancer awareness jacket me MIL got my for my birthday. Bracelets, bags, jackets, bumper stickers (whatever people see) is one way to just "get the name" of your cause out there.


Online there are a lot of ways to make your favorite causes presence known...change your profile photo in Facebook, add a Twibbon to your Twitter avatar (like mine shown above), add a signature file/link to your outgoing emails.

But I think sometimes simple things make the biggest impact. Last week was MS Awareness Week and as part of that the Chipotles in our area hosted a fundraiser one night where 50% of the proceeds they made that evening benefited the National MS Society. Nice huh? Well that evening we met someone doing a little something extra to help raise awareness! This man was standing outside the doors with a handful of extra fliers (you had to present a flier to have your order count towards the fundraiser)...he approached each person going in and if they did not have a flier, he graciously offered one and explained a little bit about the week. What an awesome idea!!! He wasn't asking anyone to do anything they wouldn't have already done, but I bet at least a few of them made their way to the computer later to find out more about the week or about MS in general. I sure hope so!

Anyway, I'd like to do more of this awareness-raising! (How do you like that? I just made up a word!) Anyone have any other ideas for me they'd like to share/let me steal? :-)

Oh and one last thing before I sign off. I think the best way you can raise awareness is to share your story...tell it like it is. When my dear friend Tracie was diagnosed with MS last July, I had heard of MS. Over the past year, I have learned about MS...or so I thought. Tracie posted this easy-to-understand, honest post about what it's like to live with MS and I realized I know nothing! And I never will know, to be honest, but my eyes are open...and i'm still learning.
tracie @ {tsj} photography said...

or you can blog about it! i seriously love the cyber world! and once again ... THANK YOU for continuing to raise awareness!

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