From the Editor: A Day for Every Cause
There's nothing wrong with dedicating a day or month for your cause, but the question should be: What else are you doing?
My mother celebrates her birthday right around Election Day every year. Heading to the polls always helps me remember that I need to get her a gift.
It's easy to forget all of these important days. Your wedding anniversary. Kids birthdays. When is Christmas this year?
It all becomes even more overwhelming when the days, weeks and months are dedicated to specific causes.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That's a biggie. Breast cancer affects a lot of people, and it's hard to escape the perpetual presence of pink during the month.
October comes after Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma Awareness Month in September.
September is also Ovarian Cancer Month.
November, meanwhile, is Pancreatic Cancer Month. It's also Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.
April is Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Month.
I think there's a theme here.
There are months for other conditions including heart disease (February), diabetes (November), lupus (May), spinal cord injuries (September), cleft palates and craniofacial disorders (July) and childhood obesity (September).
These are all important causes, but you have to wonder whether all of these designated days just end up drowning each other out.
Quick: When is Immunization Awareness Week? It's in August. You missed it.
The National Health Information Center actually keeps a list. There are 188 months, weeks or days set aside for awareness of health-related conditions. And there is some overlap. For instance, October is Eye Injury Prevention Month. But it's also Home Eye Safety Month.
And it's not just medical conditions. There are months and days to raise awareness about hunger (September), terrorism (August), gay pride (June) and gay marriage (July) and left-handedness (August 13).
Sept. 29 was International Coffee Day (Isn't everyday coffee day?).
I missed National Grilled Cheese Day on April 12. Did you remember National Guacamole Day on Sept. 16?
If you're a history buff, there are plenty of days to celebrate or pay respects. Aside from our national holidays, there are unofficial days to celebrate the legacy of just about every president.
Here's one blogger who's tried to dedicate an entire week to the appreciation of Millard Fillmore, our 13th president.
Fillmore was president shortly before the Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg has its own day, on April 29. So does the Battle of Antietam (Sept. 17).
If you're from the South, you might celebrate Confederate History Month in April.
Unless you're from Arkansas, which celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Robert E. Lee Day in January. (Seriously.)
Keep in mind that very few of these days are officially proclaimed by any government. Usually, it's a non-profit group that comes up with the idea, and sometimes it's just a local or state thing.
And there's nothing wrong with having a day or month. But the question should be: What else are you doing?
If you're the promoter of Juggling Awareness Week (not a real thing, as far as I can tell) what are you actually doing to celebrate? Is there a juggling festival? Are you giving out free lessons?
Health-related causes need to work especially hard here. Proclaiming something to be Achy Back Month (also not a real thing) is fine, but what are you doing to actually combat achy backs? Are there events throughout the month? Is there a website where people can donate for research?
Before you label me as cynical, let's give a shout out to the cause of the week: Bones and joints. Yes, it's Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week.
I asked an older gentleman who I see every morning whether he knew about this, because it was news to me.
"Sure!" he said. "I'm 75. I've got bad knees. I know all about that."
So, there you go. Not everyone is getting drowned out, after all.