Keep On, Keeping On To #StayHomeForCancer
Who could have imagined that Easter and Passover celebrations would take the shape they will be taking this weekend? Extended family potlucks have morphed into more intimate dinners with immediate household family or housemates, perhaps connecting via video with loved ones from afar. I saw some virtual Seder posts in my feed last night. My heart goes out to those who live on their own and I’m hoping they can connect virtually in some way—and maybe receive a door drop of festive food. I’ve heard the Easter Bunny has been deemed an “essential service” but neighbourhood Easter Egg hunts are obviously a no-go.
Some have been finding their groove in this new way of isolated living (is “TikTography” really a word?) or at least bonding over the human element that is today’s Zoom work meeting with wee ones at home. That said, this first big holiday weekend during COVID-19 will likely make us all a little more restless, a little more frustrated, with many asking how much longer, asking if it’s even working. Yesterday, was Ontario’s biggest single-day increase so far with 550 new cases.
It’s hard that it is the very implementation of harsher social distancing measures combined with testing that result in a spike of cases. But, it’s an expected part of the process. It gets worse before it gets better. We just have to look to China and South Korea to see that over time, these difficult restrictions do work and flatten the curve. We are seeing progress in B.C. and if we want to see more progress across Canada, we need everyone to participate in local and federal recommendations on social distancing.
Knowing that things are somewhat in our own hands, it was upsetting to see the recent results from Leger, an extremely reputable market research firm, showing that one in seven Canadians still feel the COVID-19 pandemic threat is being blown out of proportion. What I found almost worse is that 61% of Canadians said they have witnessed an event in which people did not respect measures put in place to fight the COVID virus. To me, that means that even many of those who do understand the seriousness of the pandemic threat are still struggling to act.
I’ve always tried to avoid fearmongering at Rethink. I’d rather inspire positive change than shame people or scare people. But things are scary right now and we have a sense of urgency. Cancer patients of all ages are at in increased risk of complications should they get the virus. We’re talking life and death type complications, and that’s really frightening for our community. The fears are varied and many—fear of delays in getting treatment, fears of going to the hospital to get treatment; and, for our metastatic community, serious fears that our healthcare system will become so overwhelmed that they might not have access to treatment for COVID-19 should they fall ill with it. They fear because of their advanced stage of cancer, they may be deemed not worthy of a ventilator. It’s chilling.
I feel like I’m preaching to the converted here. Rethinkers are the ones that have been so helpful in spreading our #STAYHOMEFORCANCER message. Many who’ve participated in the campaign are sharing thoughts and feelings that get to the heart of their current anxiety when it comes to cancer and COVID. The posts are bold. They’re real. And, we need you to keep it up and keep spreading our campaign. It’s reached Australia, New Zealand, Germany and even Kuwait and that’s amazing. That’s the power of you mobilizing your network of family and friends. I think our message now needs to be “Keep on, keeping on.” As social distancing fatigue sets in, we need you and yours to be all over social media with us, helping to continue to inspire and motivate everyone to be vigilant and continue to stay home for cancer.
Can you help us push it out today? I think it just might help, as we head into a very new and very different version of a holiday long weekend, to have a chorus of your voices and faces all over social feeds with a reminder that staying home saves lives. -MJ DeCoteau