Don’t Just Talk About It

“Don’t just talk about it. Be about it.“

⁃ my Dad. All my life.

It’s the season for awareness. Aquarius? No, Awareness. The fall months are packed with awareness for the medically fragile in our community. September alone holds the title for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month , Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month, Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, and Sickle Cell Awareness Month!

And then we slide into October bringing us Breast Cancer Awareness Month , Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Rett Syndrome Awareness Month, and Spina Bifida Awareness Month! And November is known for Epilepsy Awareness Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and Prematurity Awareness Month! Our feeds are overflowing with support for these community members during the fall months and it warms your heart.

So we wear our ribbons, change our profile pics, post lots about awareness and support, whip out our wallets, and lace up our running shoes. We hold up our family, friends, and strangers who fight daily to have the best quality of life possible. Awareness months bring these fighters to the forefront of our daily discussions. Their needs for everything from cures to treatments and accommodations are talked about and we raise money and try to make a way! We learn acceptance and how to live with their needs in mind so we can make a more livable, inclusive world. It’s amazing! It’s all the great things about humanity. Every year I look forward to it. Every year!

This year before you bust out your ribbons, wallets, and running shoes- ask yourself if you are doing the easiest part of supporting people during these awareness months. Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated helps ALL of the individuals represented in these months of awareness. Are you truly making the world an inclusive, livable, safe space for all? Because when we cut down the heart of all these diagnoses, we find these people in our community just want to live in the world with everyone else. They fight every day to exist in our world. We cannot provide an inclusive, livable world until we protect this part of our community. They are all at much higher risk of severe complications and death from Covid.

So make sure you support during awareness months by not just talking about it, but being about it. Actions are what it’s gonna take- and they aren’t even difficult actions. Putting a covering over your face and getting a few small needle sticks will save not just you- but our most vulnerable : the little boy fighting cancer, the newborn in the NICU, the little girl with pulmonary fibrosis, the teen living with sickle cell, the sweet lady fighting breast cancer, the kid with Down Syndrome, the toddler with Rett Syndrome, the child with spina bifida, the young woman surviving every day with epilepsy, the grandpa fighting lung cancer, and our premature babies fighting to finally go home healthy with their parents.

I assure you, no one hear your “support” when you post in the void, wave cash, or lace up your shoes unless you are doing it with smiling eyes behind a mask – proudly showing us all that yes, indeed you understand what it truly takes. You know the only support any of us need this awareness season is to make this world one where the risk of living among the community is reasonable and the environment is enriching and inclusive. Ignoring the obvious, small acts of support during awareness months is not a good look. It condemns these folks to a completely PREVENTABLE fate. Posting, donating, and running mean nothing if you condemn the very individuals you proclaim to support to sheltering in place isolated and abandoned by their neighbors. Wear your mask and get your shot; otherwise, no one can see a genuine heart. All that can be seen is someone searching for clout, attempting to cleanse guilt, or being so painfully obtuse lacking the self-awareness to know that they pose a mortal danger to the community they “support.” If everyone supports the upcoming awareness months just by donning a mask and getting a their shot, we just may have a very different looking fall season.

Don’t just talk about it. Be about it. Help our world be a safe, inclusive place for all our fighters. Mask up. Vax up. Go forth and support your community and continue to be amazing. Happy Awareness Season.

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