19/03/2014

How is taking a no make-up selfie helping to cure cancer?

‘How is taking a selfie without make-up on helping to cure cancer?’ is one of the many questions I have seen people asking on social media over the last 24 hours.

Social media crazes come and go - last month was ‘NekNominate’, now we have make-up free selfies.  A couple of days ago, I saw a post on Facebook where a man said he would donate 25p for every woman who uploaded a selfie of themselves without any make-up on.  36 hours later, women of all ages from all across the country are getting involved.

Last night and this morning my news feed was filled with pictures of naturally beautiful girls, posting their bare faced selfies in an attempt to raise awareness for cancer charities.

My news feed was also filled with those questioning the point of this whole thing.  People saying that rather than posting a make-up free picture, people should be donating to cancer charities and arranging fundraising events.

But are these people not missing the point slightly?  The whole aim of this was to raise awareness of cancer charities and campaigns, not money.  It's a huge bonus that it has managed to raise so much money; and that has only come from the fact so much awareness has been raised.  By all these females posting their selfies, and all those slamming them for doing so, it is getting people talking about cancer.  It is raising the profile of all of the charities, campaigns and fundraising events that are out there.  

I wonder how many people donated to cancer research, and other cancer charities, last night after seeing all the conversation on social media?  Where most people wouldn't have thought twice on a Tuesday evening about donating any money to cancer charities, I suspect an awful lot did last night.

A lot of females who uploaded photos also donated, I certainly did.  It was as simple as texting BEAT to 70099.  This donated £3 to Cancer Research.

Whilst I am glad that this new craze has encouraged people to donate to cancer research, it also does need to increase awareness.  Raising awareness isn't about letting people know that cancer exists, everyone knows that already.  

Raising awareness is about bringing it to the forefront of people's minds; encouraging them to do something to make a difference.  It's about making people aware of all the charities that are out there; the different types of cancer; the ways to check yourself for any signs; the incredible survivors' stories; the fundraising events people can get involved in; the campaigns people can join and so much more.

Last weekend, a 19 year-old girl lost her life to cervical cancer.  Sophie Jones suffered with severe stomach pains for months.  She was refused a smear test by doctors because they said she was too young to have the disease.  By the time they detected the cancer, it had already spread to other parts of her body and there was nothing doctors could do.  Before her death, Sophie uploaded a photo of herself before and after the cancer took hold.  The difference was astounding.  It was this image which encouraged people to begin uploading their own no make-up selfies in memory, support and honour of Sophie; as well as to, of course, raise the profile of cancer charities and campaigns.

Attached to my no make-up selfie was a link to the petition that Sophie’s friends and family have started; demanding that there be a change to the age restrictions on smear tests.  Currently, it is 25.  Sophie’s friends and family are campaigning for this to be lowered, so that more young women have the choice of a smear test and less young women lose their life as a result of this horrible disease.

If you are reading this, I ask you please to also sign the petition.  Not just women reading this, but men too.  It will take just a few minutes of your time.  Please also share the link to your friends, family, work colleagues etc.  The petition currently stands at 200,000 signatures.  It needs at least 500,000 to be heard and 1,000,000 to stand any chance of making a difference.  The link to sign the petition is: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/62385

If anything is to come out of this new ‘no make-up selfie for cancer awareness’ social media craze, I hope it will be that more awareness is raised as to what people can do without donating huge amounts of money.  Of course, fundraising for cancer research is vital and I think everyone should text BEAT to 70099, but raising awareness for campaigns such as ‘Sophie’s Choice’ is just as important.

I would see this social media campaign as a huge success.  I’ve seen people donating, signing petitions, survivors thanking those for joining in, and the subject of cancer being at the forefront of everyone’s minds for a prolonged period of time.  

In the 48 hours since the #nomakeupselfie campaign started, donations by those involved, and those spurred on by it, have managed to raise over £2,000,000.  No matter what side of the argument you are, or were, on, you cannot deny that this social media campaign has done amazing things.

If raising awareness and money in this way gets us one step closer to a cure for this horrendous disease, I would go make-up free for the rest of my life.




47 comments:

  1. I agree! At first I was sceptical about how it would actually help, but I've seen so many people donating today it's actually working!

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  2. It's amazing how much of an impact it has had. Cancer Research said their website was having problems cos so many people were logging on to donate. I think it's proved a lot of people wrong :)

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  3. Well if you actually read it natalie it's to make people aware that's why they are doing it as people do forget to check themselves, and as most women I know have actually donated money too

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  4. Actually if you read the people statuses it mentions they are making people aware of cancer and to make sure they are checking themselves as they do forget, and infant most women I know have actually donated to cancer research.

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    1. I know, that was my point :) I am all for it, I think it has done amazing things! The amount of awareness this has all raised and the amount of money, too. I wasn't genuinely asking 'how is taking a selfie without make-up curing cancer?' I was providing an answer for all those who have been asking that question :)

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    2. I don't think we would all be putting ourselves out if we wasn't aware !! & from what I've seen there have been loads of donations with a selfie including myself , in my eyes this has been a great shared effort in helping .

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  5. The fact its made SUCH an impact just shows the benefit doesn't it.
    I donated and I think its a brilliant thing to do.

    Kelly from | Daydreams & Daisychains

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  6. I have noticed it is getting more people interested in how to prevent cancer through dietary and lifestyle change which is a whole new subject.

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  7. As soon as a female becomes sexually active she is at risk of cervical cancer. Therefore females should have access to to cervical cancer screening from a much younger age..How many women wait till they're out of school before having sex? Even if they lower the age to 20 ,as is the goal of one campaign, it still wouldnt have saved Sophie Jones therefore it should be lowered MUCH further

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  8. People aren't sharing the number that's why nobody is aware of how the no make up and man make up selfies are helping.. I am bombing all of my friends list though. Text to donate and help beat cancer sooner.
    For the quickest way to donate, text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3.
    PLEASE SHARE WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! #everylittlehelps

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  9. if the age of consent is 16 then why isn't the test for smears the same age, on 13 March 2009 government health ministers agreed to review the NHS's policy of not offering screening for cervical cancer until the age of 25 in England (it is 20 in the rest of the UK). so why are young women still waiting for an outcome 5 years down the line prevention is better than the cure R.I.P Sophie jones

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  10. Thanks - interesting piece, and well-argued. I was very sorry to hear about Sophie Jones, but I disagree about cervical screening. Science can sometimes seem heartless, but we have to make decisions about science based on head, not heart.

    The current NICE guidelines are there partly because under the age of 25, there are things (that I don't know really understand - I'm not a doctor) which mean that if we DID screen, lots of girls would be diagnosed with it who didn't ACTUALLY have it. This is what's called a "false positive" (I am a scientist). Those girls would go through lots of trauma, undergo risky procedures, and in the words of NICE, it would do more harm than good. This explains it...
    http://cks.nice.org.uk/cervical-screening#!scenariobasis:4

    That may mean accepting that a very very small number of people die, but the AVAILABLE EVIDENCE suggests that it would be worse to screen younger. As I say, I really don't want to sound like I don't care, and if you have more evidence than the doctors in charge of making the decision, do share it. Otherwise, callous though it may seem, we have to keep making decisions based on evidence of the entire population, not one person's (admittedly tragic) story.
    In context - 5 people die on the roads EVERY DAY, but there are precious few initiatives out there suggesting that we sort that out.
    Again, sorry if I sound heartless. My sympathies go out to Sophie's family.

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    1. Thank you for your comment :)

      I completely agree with what you are saying about lowering the age too much. Girls bodies develop and change at different rates, and I personally think 16 is too low. But for 18-20 year-olds I think the option should be there, and be more accessible. Most young girls now will have had/will be getting their cervical cancer jabs anyway, I know I've had mine. I believe there is a vaccination programme in place in schools, so hopefully the problem shouldn't be as big in the upcoming years; especially for younger girls (fingers crossed!)

      You don't sound heartless at all, I know exactly what you are saying and completely agree that lowering the age too much would cause more harm than good.

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    2. (I've just spoken to my wife, who IS a doctor, and whose opinion seems to mirror yours. She said let's not focus on screening age, but let's give out more HPV vaccines...)

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    3. Screening in previous years did not, to my knowledge, prevent more harm than good? Women were screened and therefore the disease was prevented in many before they had the chance to even become a statistic. Interestingly, 'cervical cancer incidence in Great Britain decreased by nearly half between the late 1980s until the early 2000s, but the last decade has seen an increase of around 15%' according to statistics provided by Cancer Research. Could it be that the so-called 'harmful' and 'traumatic' screening process had a positive result in encouraging prevention? Could it be that the subsequent refusal to screen a huge percentage of UK women is mirrored by the increase of the illness during the exact same time-frame?


      I wouldn't agree that the decision is based entirely on science and would suggest it has somewhat more to do with NHS budgets and a perceived lower threat to younger women, enabling opportunity to cut costs. There is relatively little trauma endured in having a routine test when compared to that endured by women who suffer cervical cancer, the impact of which is irreversible. Most women would happily take the risks associated with screening as opposed to the risk of potential cancer. Perhaps the right to individual choice would be an improvement on the position we are in currently.

      Awareness of the disease and its symptoms should be promoted and at no point should any women be refused a test, regardless of her age yet unfortunately, this is still happening to many women.

      I'm fairly sure I can speak on behalf of the vast majority of cancer patients and their friends, family and anyone with any human empathy at all when I say that, to improve just ONE family's chance of a healthy, happy life with their loved one, we would all bear the cost and supposed 'trauma' involved.

      In order to minimise the risk of developing the disease, screening could and absolutely should be available upon request. The refusal to administer an AVAILABLE test, allowing other young women and their loved ones to experience the immeasurable pain and suffering of a preventable cancer is a disgrace.

      The 'very very small number' to which you refer lose their life to this PREVENTABLE illness is likely not to be as small as you think and equally does not include those who survive with devastating physical and emotional life-long side effects. Again, consequences easily avoided with the correct screening and preventative methods. Statistics on the Cancer Research website states that, on average, 8 women are diagnosed per day in the UK.

      That's 8 daughters. You might not think they're significant, but I can guarantee their Dads do. Their brothers and sisters probably think they're alright too! And their children? If they were lucky enough to have babies before their opportunity was taken away, well, that woman is their world. Or at least she was...

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    4. Sophie DID have the HPV vaccination and still ended up with the cervical cancer. The petition is not to lower the routine screening to 16, it is to give young women the CHOICE if they want a smear, they can have one. Doctors are NOT ALLOWED to order routine smears for under 25's, which is completely wrong and even if they did manage to order one and send it off, the labs reject them and do not test! I was also told yesterday by my doctor that if you have a smear anything up to 3 months early before you are due, the lab will also refuse to test! I think the law needs changing to allow doctors to send tests, no matter what the age of the patient and for it to be accepted by the labs and tested!

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  11. http://news.uk.msn.com/selfie-windfall-for-cancer-charity

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  12. It's just lovely to see the Facebook community using Facebook as a means to bring something positive for a change, my news feed has been flooded with photos of beautiful bare faced women, and of course make-up wearing men (myself included), all in support of a great cause. I've also signed the petition because I was sickened when I read Sophie's story the other day, if only the doctor's had listened to her when she said something wasn't right, it may have been prevented, such a sad loss.

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  13. I have also signed the petition for Sophie. . I have also bared my naked face online FB & Twitter..scared a lot of peopke eek! But what an amazing cause and the response has been phenomenal. . Well done to all who have donated to this worthy charity.. god bless you all xxx

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  14. How many people have died or become seriously ill after the neck nominations ?? How many women have died or become ill through not wearing makeup ???

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  15. I don't like the photos.
    I didn't donate.

    Am I bad person?
    No.
    This entire thread is bit subjective anyway and biased. The question wasn't really answered rather it went off track towards how someone died and suddenly asking people to campaign for law changes. It never addressed the fact that many are just doing it for the likes and because it's a trend. I've seen people nominating "naked-faces" with no relevance to cancer at all.
    If you wanted to raise awareness, post a symbol of some kind. A symbol that can apply to males so they can feel a part of this too rather than just the females. A symbol that can't be misunderstood and shows true equality where no one can be judged on appearance. It's too late for common sense now though....

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    1. Thank you for your comment :)

      I agree, some people are missing the point and are doing it for the likes or the comments saying 'omg you still look beaut you don't need make-up'. But they're a minority, thankfully.

      People always miss the point, though, and do it for the wrong reasons. Movember is a fine example - how many men do that with the genuine intention of raising money and awareness? I suspect now that more do it to show off who can have the strangest shaped and most extravagant moustache; and of course demonstrate they can actually grow facial hair ha!

      I'm sorry you didn't agree with my points and don't agree with the campaign, but it's raised an awful lot of money so far - so at least something good has come from it all, no matter what your views on it.

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    2. some people have forgotten to mention cancer people the movement wasn't originally linked to the cause, there was no "copy & paste" this info along with this photo given to donate, so raising awareness was the simple message. Of course there are women using it for likes which is what most selfies are about anyway. I never take selfies along with most of the women on my newsfeed, i certainly didn't do it for reasons of vanity and made a point of posting a link to donate even though i forgot in my original post.

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  16. I thought it was a brilliant campaign that demonstrates the good that social media can be used for.If by raising awareness to what is by its very nature a fairly youngish audience then that can only be good, can't it? The raising awareness side alone will surely save at least one life if not more I believe. I was glad to see so many men joining in (myself included) as very many men also die needlessly from breast cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer yet many are unaware or even know how to check for signs and symptoms. I thank whoever started this campaign and hope that you are rewarded with much happiness as the world needs more good people x

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  17. Who isn't aware of cancer? The key thing is the donation bit, completely lacking in any of the ones I saw. It's a CRUK campaign from 2013 which randomly manifested months later on fb.

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    1. Your FB friends must be very mean, as I would say 90% of the images on mine had another image attached with a donation too.

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    2. Roughly 30% on mine included information about how to donate and most of those occurred after I posted the donation information.

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  18. It is great to see a useful social media craze rather than the pointless NekNominations. Very nice post here, however I will not be signing the petition and this is simply because the lowering of the age for the smear test would effect more people negatively than it would save lives. It truly is a tragedy what happened to Sophie, but at the same time it is extremely rare for someone of her age to contract this disease. Here is a quote from medical professionals “Evidence has shown that screening women under the age of 25 may do more harm than good as it can lead to unnecessary and harmful investigations and treatments which could have an adverse effect on their future childbearing. In women under 25, therefore, this risk outweighs any benefit.” Now I know this will sound callous and little help to the parents of Sophie but you have to think of doing what is best for the larger number of people, it would be ludicrous to risk the child bearing abilities of millions of teenagers later in life to save the unlucky few that may contract the illness. I hope this is taken as me debating here and not that I am a heartless S.O.B. But we have to remember the facts her and look at the bigger picture.

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    1. Thank you for your comment :)

      I completely agree. I, too, think lowering it to 16 would be too dangerous. Girls bodies change and develop at different rates and while some girls are fully developed at 14, others take much longer. It is argued that once a girl becomes sexually active she is at risk of cervical cancer, but even so it is extremely rare. I think it should be lowered from 25, though. But not for mandatory screening, I don't think that is necessary. Many girls now have had their cervical cancer jabs as part of a national vaccination programme in schools. But by lowering the smear test age to 18-20, for those who have concerns about their health etc, I think it could prevent more loss of life and more heartache. But, hopefully, the cervical cancer jabs that girls are now having will eliminate this problem completely in a much safer way than screening teenagers.

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    2. Yes totally. They could as you say lower to between 18 -20. Then on a per person basis if they are having obvious symptoms then they should be investigating it more (Common sense to the general populous) as and when the medical professionals see fit. I also don't think its too far of a stretch in today's day and age to see doctors scared to give a smear when there is a chance it is not needed for fear of being sued by some unscrupulous lawyers for some kind of malpractice. But hey this is the modern world and it's not always pretty.

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    3. I wish the nation could move away from the misconception that cervical cancer in younger women 'is extremely rare.' This simply is not the case. Granted that when compared with other cancers and other causes of death, those who die from cervical cancer is COMPARATIVELY low. There are uncountable causes of death, hence the low percentage of deaths from cervical cancer. Unfortunately, the numbers are NOT low enough.

      Almost 1000 women a year die in the UK, the other 2000 diagnosed live with devastating consequences, such as the inability to have children, not to mention long-term, physical pain and associated conditions. This doesn't even touch on the emotional and psychological impact of such trauma.

      To put it into persective, Polio could ACTUALLY be considered extremely rare in the UK (with 0 recorded deaths for over 10 years), yet we still, quite rightly, take precautions against it. Compare those 0 Polio deaths now to the 10,000 lives taken by cervical cancer over a ten year period. If it still seems rare, consider this: Worldwide, HALF A MILLION women are diagnosed with cervical cancer per year.

      My point is simply to expel this absurd myth that cervical cancer is rare in young women. Quite the opposite, in the UK, CERVICAL CANCER IS THE MOST COMMON CANCER IN WOMEN UNDER 35. This IS a young people's cancer and allowing an entire nation the 'it won't happen to me' attitude is criminal.

      Check the facts and then really think about the women you know and love. Then remember this is a PREVENTABLE disease that is being ALLOWED to destroy the lives of beautiful young women. Ask the families affected by cervical cancer how rare it is. If it was YOUR loved one, wouldn't you try to prevent it any way you could?

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    4. The petition is about CHOICE! not about every young girl from the age of 16 to be tested. It is about giving the young women the chance to have a very vital test in some cases, like Sophie's.

      People are missing the point of the petition, please do not sign just because you dont agree that ALL 16+ should be tested as this is not the idea of it. Sophie requested time and time again for a smear as she knew her own body and knew something wasnt right. She was a girl who had had the HPV injection and that didnt help her. The doctor told her she couldnt have a test as she wasnt 25 and that she was too young to contract cervical cancer!!!

      That to me is ludicrous! She should of had the CHOICE to have that test done and maybe caught it in time. She shouldnt have been refused and lost her life!

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    5. Yes I completely agree :) it would be daft to send every 16 year old girl for a mandatory smear test, but the option and the choice should be there for those who want/need one. It is crazy that people can go to the doctors and be misdiagnosed so many times because basic tests are refused.

      This case has definitely highlighted a need for change, and hopefully by sharing details of this petition and encouraging everyone to sign it, those changes can be introduced before any more lives are lost.

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  19. I agree! Any sort of attempt to make people aware of the various charities, topics or issues that people are fighting to make apparent is a good thing. I do a lot of charity work for Marie Curie and always wear my daffodil vest when out running or in the gym.

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  20. Wholeheartedly agree with backing this campaign. My neice aged 12, was diagnosed last October and has recently finished her treatment. The hospital say it is very rare in someone so young and the only previous case they had dealt with was 10 years ago and she was only 4.so don't believe you need to be sexually active.

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  21. I've signed this petition. My partner's brother survived bowel cancer which was detected at the age of 18. Her sister also had bowel cancer at the age of 36, which led to the genetic investigation that revealed that the entire family are carriers of the fairly rare HNPCC mutation. This means that any children in the family have a 50% chance to also carry this mutation, which denotes a greatly increased risk of certain types of cancer in all stages of their life. It is not right to set a screening age of 25 when there are so many cases worldwide of cancer affecting people pre-25, regardless of how rare said cases are.

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  22. I think the article missed the point slightly, the whole idea was inspired by Sophie Jones, a 19 year old who posted a before and after "selfie" showing how she looked before chemo and how she looked towards the end of her short life. The difference was startling! Sophie had been told that she was too young to contract cervical cancer and was refused a smear test over and over again. By the time she received a diagnosis it was too late and the cancer had spread to several other parts of her body. Her story inspired her friends to setup a government e-petition for guidance to be changed to allow smear tests to be given to girls aged 16 and over. It has been backed by her local MP, Alison McGovern. To generate publicity for the petition and to raise awareness of cervical cancer, her friends started a facebook nomination style campaign; women posting "selfies" without wearing any make-up. This has also been supported by men posting "selfies" while wearing make-up. The petition now has over 280,000 signatures and thousands more are added by the hour. If you would like to sign it, here's the link: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/62385

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    1. Hi, thank you for your comment :)

      That was what I mentioned in my above post. I mentioned how, attached to my make-up free selfie, I attached the link to Sophie's petition in an attempt to draw more attention to it. I also included the link to the petition in the post, encouraging people to sign it and share the link for it among their friends, family members, work colleagues etc.

      I am sorry you didn't pick that up from what I wrote. But thank you for again posting the link and giving people more information about Sophie's story and the fight to change for changes to smear tests.

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    2. sorry to hear 1 girl died sympathy, a little what about the hundreds of ex service personnel suffering from PTSD or those injured in the line of duty the homeless ones living on the streets the men off all ages who die of prostrate cancer every year those who die on the roads the elderly who die from lack of heat every winter and yes I know I sound heartless callous and down right horrible but hay ho that's life

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  23. the thing is how do you claim a make-up less selfi raise awareness ???? if you have missed the TV campaigns the people collecting in the street etc then you must be deaf & blind or dead how about doing something that will make a real actual difference donate some money get out and raise some money support your local cancer ward with more than a self gratifying self promoting pics.

    also why is all the focus on cancer in woman ?? men can and do get cancer as well use an image or symbol that unites all agenst cancer regardless of gender

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    1. Hi, thank you for your comment :)

      Cancer Research have reported today that over £1 million was donated to them yesterday after people raised awareness of the cause and began donating money as a result of it. Of course people are aware of cancer, it wasn't about informing people that cancer exists. It was about encouraging people to do more to raise awareness about things like the petition for Sophie Jones.

      I wouldn't say the focus is wholly on cancer in women, most people I have seen have been doing it for Cancer Research in general. I have seen people getting involved, both men and women, to raise money for breast cancer, prostate cancer, bowel cancer...

      I am sorry that you do not agree with the campaign, but you have to admit that it has been affective. It has raised a tremendous amount of money and raised a whole lot of awareness all from doing something so simple - and who can argue with that :)

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  24. You are blowing this completely out of proportion and talking about completely different issues! I personally know Sophie's family and how dare you!? The community has pulled together to get Sophie'schoice out there so no other young woman hopefully doesnt go through this or at least she will have a choice about a test! Not to be told no sorry you are too young!

    You are going on about men and cancer, what about movember?? That is all about raising awareness isnt it for prostate cancer??

    This blog is about how cancer uk has had over 1 million in donations over the last 24 hours due to make-up less selfies and that is down to Sophie'sChoice campaign. Isnt that worthy? Cancer Uk is for all cancers, not just "womens" cancer

    If you feel so passionate about all the things listed, then act upon those, as we have to get Sophie's voice heard. Do not belittle her death, just because you are not in agreement with it all. That "1 girl" was a sister to 6 other people, one being her identical twin, a daughter, a girlfriend an aunty, a friend to many many people. She is everything to a lot of people and it shows by the support given to get Sophie'schoice out there. I hope that one day, you dont have a daughter or a niece, mother or sister that goes through the same thing as Sophie did.

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    1. Hi, thank you for your comment :)

      I wouldn't let the negative comments of one person do injustice to what has been a very successful campaign so far - the comments above demonstrate how much support the Sophie's Choice campaign has. The negativity of people will only spur others on to do more to help.

      I hope the campaign continues to build over the next few days and gets the attention it so desperately needs and deserves. There will always be those who have something bad to say, but at the same time there are ten people saying and, more importantly, doing good.

      Keep up the good work!

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  25. acc its for cancer awareness because it shows that girls can be brave enough to take a pic with none of their make up because they cant leave the house without it on ;) iv'e said my part so yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  26. I don't wear make up so all my profile pictures are make up free, but I certainly did donate

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