How to Be a Bladder Cancer Advocate
I often talk to others in the bladder cancer communities and people are always curious how I became a bladder cancer advocate. The answer is a lot simpler than one might think.
You see, many people have a certain idea in their head that being an advocate means that you must be marching on Washington and speaking to Congress and doing big things. They assume you are constantly making national news. Well, the real headline is that this simply is not the case!
Yes, the people marching on Washington and speaking to Congress are advocates. However, that is not the only way to advocate.
Bladder cancer advocacy
My story is a bit different from most because I was exposed to various kinds of advocacy at a very young age. When I received my diagnosis, it was natural to become a bladder cancer advocate. I had a head start.
What you can do right NOW
For most, though, the single thing that anyone can immediately do to advocate for bladder cancer is to speak up! Share your personal experience! Do not hide the fact that bladder cancer has invaded your body. Your voice matters. The people that you love and care about are your audience.
There are reasons that bladder cancer is consistently in the top 10 most common cancers in the world, according to the World Health Organization statistics. Most people who get diagnosed with bladder cancer have never heard of it until the moment they are diagnosed with it. Do you know what that reason is?
It is because no one is talking about it!
Spreading hope and awareness
People cannot learn the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer if they don't know it is even a thing to worry about! You cannot know to learn the signs and symptoms if you don't talk about them.
Bladder cancer survivors have been in silence all these years. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's shame or embarrassment of having a "below the waist" cancer, but there is no reason for shame or embarrassment.
Advocacy starts in the heart
Advocacy is not something that needs to be big, complicated, or political. Advocacy starts in the heart and builds and blossoms from there. It is a way for people to share their experiences to educate the public, inspire others going through similar experiences. Motivate those in positions of power to incite change to improve people's lives experiencing the conditions.
Small acts = bigger impact
Some people have small conversations with individuals or small groups within the confines of their already established lives. Some start blogs or speak at conferences—some march on Washington and petition politicians. Small acts combined add up to big impacts.
If you are unsure how to start sharing your experience, you can submit your bladder cancer story here. Your story is worth sharing!
If you're looking for other ideas on what you can do, please comment below - we can keep the conversation going.