World Cancer Day is marking its 21st year (Picture: Getty)
It’s World Cancer Day today, the global initiative aimed at raising awareness of the disease across the globe.
This year the day is marking its 21st anniversary, with the first World Cancer Day having taken place in 2000 before being adopted by international cancer organisations around the world.
So just what is the day about, what’s the theme – and how can you get involved?
Here’s what you need to know….
There are multiple ways to get involved this year. (Picture: Getty)
What is World Cancer Day and how did it start?
The idea for World Cancer Day came about in Paris in 1999. It was the brainchild of six cancer experts who were determined that the global challenge of the disease would not be forgotten in the new millennium.
The experts drafted a charter which had a vision for addressing the impact cancer has on life and on the productivity of nations – as well as setting out the idea for an awareness day.
They said in a document at the time that it would be ‘recognising the declaration by all appropriate institutions that February 4 shall be marked as ‘World Cancer Day’ so that each year, the Charter of Paris will be in the hearts and minds of people around the world.’
Their charter has since been adopted by cancer organisations around the world, with World Cancer Day offering a chance for everyone to unite and build an alliance against ‘fear, ignorance and complacency’.
By raising worldwide awareness and improving education as well as encouraging personal, collective and government action, the aim of the day is to work towards a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths can be saved and access to treatment and care is equal for all.
What’s the theme of this year’s World Cancer Day?
The theme of this year is ‘I Am and I Will’.
2021 marks the final stretch of the three year campaign, focussing on small fundraising efforts like writing personalised social media messages and committing to volunteering.
The theme concentrates on international co-operation, too, specifically looking at what groups can do ‘across borders’.
The ribbon has become a symbol of World Cancer Day (Picture: Getty)
How can you get involved in World Cancer Day?
The official World Cancer Day website has a list of ways you can get involved both today and with the campaign as a whole.
There are many ways you can take part, from creating a custom social media poster with your own message, and donating to the cause, to becoming involved in more long-term activities such as helping to translate World Cancer Day campaign materials.
As coronavirus means in-person events will be limited, World Cancer Day are encouraging people show their support online through posting on social media.
The Unity Bands created by Cancer Research to mark the day are also available.
For a suggested donation of £2, people can get one of these polyester bands, which come in pink, light blue and dark blue, from the Cancer Research website.
The money used will go towards research and treatment for the hundreds of thousands of people diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year.
Cancer research promise ‘for every £1 donated, 80p goes directly towards beating cancer sooner (the remaining 20p goes towards raising funds for the future).’
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