You’ll SHARE if you CARE

Today, little hearts have been appearing on Facebook walls. No message, no explanation, just a heart. Apparently this will help the fight against breast cancer. Huh?

Some undoubtedly well-meaning friends messaged me (and probably all their other friends) asking me to post said heart. Instead, I posted this:

Just to save anyone else the trouble of messaging me: No, I won’t post a heart on my wall to fight breast cancer, because hearts on Facebook walls don’t fight cancer. If you want to fight cancer, support a friend who has it and go on the It’s Our NHS demonstration on 4 March.

A month or so back, I had cause to post this:

I need to purge a few from my Friends list to make some space. I’m considering achieving this by unfriending anyone who posts one of those “if you don’t copy and paste this, then you don’t care about cancer victims / animals / disabled children / soldiers etc” statuses. Seriously, poke the coercive, guilt-tripping fuckwittery.

Really, people: think, please. I believe there is one of those modern, urban-dictionary terms for this kind of thing, and I think it is ‘virtue signalling’. Posting, or reposting, or sharing, or whatever, this stuff does not help tackle the actual issue one bit. It may make you feel better, or you may think it makes others think you are a caring person, but it moves no molehills, let alone mountains.

So: share an advert for an NHS demonstration, copy and paste advice on checking your boobs, send a message to a friend who is facing the Big C, or drop an email to your MP expressing your concern about the denial of cutting-edge cancer treatments to patients who need them on the grounds of cost. Or get off the keyboard and get involved in your local NHS campaign group, or phone that pal you’ve been meaning to phone and offer to accompany him/her to the next chemo session.

The sad thing is that I feel that I’m only entitled to say this because I’m battling cancer myself. If I weren’t, then I’d expect complaints of “You don’t understand”, “You don’t know how it feels”, “That post really means a lot to some people”, “How very dare you?” etc. But I am, so I can.

I may also take up a friend’s suggestion and post a breast on my timeline to fight heart disease, though it’ll probably breach Facebook’s community standards. :-)

Oh, and finally – I went to another appointment with the oncologist at Bart’s today. It turned out that it had been randomly generated by the hospital’s admin system and wasn’t really necessary. Looking on the bright side, though, I came away armed with more test results (I am pre-menopausal), some pamphlets, a three-month sick note and an invitation to a free massage whenever I want one. Result.

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