Join the Cause
Raise Awareness that 1 in 4 suffers from Incontinence
Why is it important to join the cause and raise awareness about the Unexpected Leak? Well, it’s all about helping others. If you’ve been there – feeling alone in your suffering with incontinence – then you know how hard it can be to find the strength to talk about the issue and seek support. And if you’ve been able to overcome these feelings, and have learned how to manage leaks, then being involved with an organization that helps people deal with incontinence can inspire others to keep doing the things they love and live life full of confidence. Because being an advocate for those with incontinence isn’t just a way to help others, it can also be a fulfilling and inspiring journey.
It’s All About the Cause
As there are many causes of bladder leakage, there are just as many causes that you can proudly support to encourage those with incontinence, and many ways you can participate. Here are some ideas below…Try one of these today and help raise awareness about incontinence and support those experiencing it:
Whether it be once a week or twice a year, giving up some time to benefit others is not only fulfilling, but it’s a great way to get involved in something you’re passionate about, especially when sharing your experiences can help others. Your first step should be finding an organization that has values you admire and then start local. Volunteer work can incorporate your hobbies and interests, and even build and develop new ones. You can also combine both your career and life goals with community involvement to maximize fulfilment. And remember not to overcommit at first! Balancing your schedule is key, as you don’t want your life to turn chaotic.
Volunteering is more than simply offering up your time. The benefits of being devoted to a cause may be more widespread than you think. As Forbes outlines, here are some surprising perks of doing good in your community:
- Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time – Yes, you read that right! According to a Harvard study, giving up your time can make you feel more time affluent and less time-constrained. This is because you feel as if you’re not wasting your time or being selfish with it. This thought is similar to the notion that people who donate their money to charity feel wealthier.
- Volunteering your skills helps you develop new skills – Skills-based volunteering is a great way to ripen your talents, which can in turn help you advance in your career.
- Volunteering your body helps you have a healthier body – Studies have shown that volunteering leads to better health, including lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life. These seem convincing enough to roll up your sleeves and get involved! This can be especially important for those with incontinence as maintaining a healthy body and mind can only improve the way you handle leaks.
- Volunteering your experience helps build your experience – This belief can be seen in many professional fields. For example, if you volunteer in a new industry, you can then develop skills to switch fields later on in your career. It’s important to share your experiences with others going through the same troubles. Not only can you teach those new to leaks, but you can learn from them in different aspects of life.
- Volunteering your love makes you feel more love – Researchers at the London School of Economics examined the effects of volunteering on people’s overall happiness. And you guessed it, the more one volunteers, the happier that person is. This makes total sense as offering up your time builds character through empathy, strengthens social bonds and will likely put a smile on your face. And with leaks, it’s important to keep a positive attitude! Rather than feeling shame or pity, try being proactive and you’ll see that your mind will quickly shift from the woes of leaks and you’ll be able to develop a more optimistic outlook on life.
Volunteer to support those with incontinence
It’s easy to get involved with an organization that supports incontinence and its related issues. Take the American Cancer Society or the Prostate Cancer Canada, for example. Incontinence is a common side effect for those who have had prostate cancer and/or surgery. Organizations such as these make it simple to devote your time and skills to help raise awareness, facilitate research and help with treatment. Ways to volunteer range from participating at events, leading a volunteer team, office support, becoming an ambassador speaker, community representative and even patient services. Many of the organizations that are affiliated with incontinence throw events that can always use a helping hand. All it takes to get started is filling out a form and you’re on your way!
Host a fundraiser
A fundraiser can be an extremely effective and entertaining way to devote yourself to a cause. Whether it’s Prostate Cancer Awareness or Bladder Health Week, organizations like these can always use funds to dedicate to research, operations and getting the word out.
Not sure where to start? No worries, this simple checklist is a pretty good place:
- Pick and define a cause – Make sure your cause is specific, rather than vague. This will make it easier for people to know what they’re donating to.
- Once you settle on a date and time, send out a save-the-date – We all know how quickly our calendars can fill up. That’s why save-the-dates are so effective in ensuring your date isn’t looked over or forgotten.
- Decide on a suitable venue – From your garage to your home to the community centre, the venue is where everyone will come together and celebrate, so make sure you take care of this detail early on.
- Delegate tasks to friends and family members so you’re not overwhelmed with all the work ¬– Everyone has a skill to bring to the table, so take advantage of this and delegate! You’ll be surprised how quickly things come together when you’ve got a great team on your side.
- Create a budget and stick to it – Even though the purpose of the event is to raise funds, it still will take some seed money to get things up and running (depending on the scale). Don’t let spending get out of hand and undo all your hard work. Be savvy, be creative and employ as much of your inner-DIY as possible. And look for volunteers to help out!
- Enjoy the event and be proud of the work you’ve done! This may sound like the easiest part, but planning an event can be stressful. Never forget the reason why you started this process in the first place and be sure to let yourself have some fun once things kick-off.
Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to get creative and choose a theme for your fundraiser. It doesn’t have to be a fancy gala or an extravagant festival. All that matters is that the cause is something you strongly believe in – this will ensure success.
Fundraising for Incontinence
Looking to raise funds specifically for incontinence? There’s no better way than to join the cause with the National Association for Continence. You can host your very own bladder health awareness event in your community, as the NAFC has created their very own Local Event Toolkit, which provides you with everything you need for a successful event. This Toolkit helps explain and understand the condition, as well its effects on people’s lives, treatment options and more on healthcare providers. The Toolkit includes the following: local event logistics, bladder health infographic, general bladder health press release template, bladder health matters presentation and an event evaluation.
Have you got your Kegel exercises down to a science? Want to share some of that knowledge and open people’s eyes to the benefits of these types of exercises? Become a pelvic floor advocate and host your very own class! The National Association for Continence will show you how. Because a strong pelvic floor is one of your most important assets in the fight against leaks. Get your workout on now!
Speak out on social media
Whether you like it or not, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. From the way we read the news, to staying in touch with friends, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have changed the way we live our lives. That being said, there’s no reason why we can’t take advantage of this social phenomenon to support something we’re passionate about. Take incontinence, for example. There’s such a taboo around it and that’s because we simply don’t talk about it enough. If we can normalize it, we can remove the stigma and improve peoples’ lives along the way. And what better way than through social media? This day in age, there’s nothing more effective than a tweet, a post or a picture. It’s a powerful tool to communicate your cause through your network. You can share your own tips, links to helpful articles or Tweet an interesting fact, every bit of awareness is well worth it!
If you have difficulty navigating the waters of social media, here are some simple tips from MakeUseOf to help you get started spreading the good word, whatever that word may be…
- Simplify your message – much like planning a fundraiser, it’s crucial to pick a clear cause that everyone can understand. The simpler the message the better, as 140 characters isn’t much to work with.
- Know your audience – consider the age and overall demographic of the people you want to reach and speak specifically to them.
- Know your social media – whether your platform of choice is Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, know the intricacies of your social tool and maximize the benefits it offers.
- Get your hashtag on – probably one of the most brilliant aspects of social media, a hashtag can transcend your audience and snowball your message, reaching those you didn’t even know were there. Make sure it’s short, snappy and sharable. If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at these trending hashtags specific to incontinence, that will connect you with the right people and organizations!
- Stay involved – the key to social media is consistency. There’s nothing that erases credibility like going dark for a period of time. Keep at it and you’ll see the results. Be sure to follow Bladder Health advocates on social media to stay up to date on news, issues and tips. Check out Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network for starters. The American Diabetes Association is also very active online, with many different channels and networks providing helpful insights.
As we mentioned, social media is also a great way to break the stigma surrounding bladder leakage. When you put things out in the open, it’s much easier to talk about them and remove the taboo. With so many people experiencing leaks, it shouldn’t be something that remains in the shadows. Let’s take advantage of social media to talk, share and even laugh about our little bladder matters. Here’s more on how to be a social butterfly when it comes to talking about leaks.
If social media really isn’t your thing, then there are ways to support the cause anonymously. You can:
- Share your experience online – Whether it’s answering questions in an online community or forum, sharing tips, or writing a product review. Check out these tips on how to write a genuinely useful review online
- The National Association for Continence hosts message boards, which are safe places for conversations and a great forum to share stories with people around the world dealing with incontinence
- Donate money – it can be a small one-time amount, or you can contribute on a monthly basis. Every bit helps! Here are some reasons on why you should choose to donate.
With all you now know about why standing up for a cause is important, in addition to how to get involved, it’s time to learn more about the different incontinence related foundations and what they stand for. As there are many different causes of bladder leakage, there are many organizations trying to help those experiencing it. Check out these great initiatives below, and remember, you can show your support of incontinence and related issues all year round by employing the tips we shared above.
World Continence Week (WCW) is an annual initiative every June, with the main purpose of bringing awareness to incontinence and associated issues. WCW provides a worldwide network of events and organizations that offer a great support system. WCW was initiated in 2008 with the first ever World Continence Day. This became World Continence Week (WCW) in June 2009 with activities happening around the world. So there’s lots of opportunity to get involved.
Prostate Cancer Awareness month happens every September. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect men. The good news is that the survival rate is high with early detection – over 90%! Wear the light blue ribbon to show your support.
National Bladder Health Week takes place in November and challenges individuals to take charge of their bladder health, which is a great message to send. It’s all about empowerment! In honor of this importance observance NAFC has designated the month of November as Bladder Health Awareness Month. The 2014 NAFC campaign is inspired by the over 35 million people in the United States who experience bladder health problems.
National Diabetes Awareness Month happens every November to put a spotlight on the issues surrounding diabetes and the many people who are impacted by the disease. The theme for NDAM 2015 was ‘T1D Looks Like Me!’ The sentiment behind the theme is to celebrate the stories and individuals who live beyond type 1 diabetes (T1D) to accomplish their goals and dreams.
National Family Caregivers Month is new this year. President Obama recently proclaimed it so! It takes place in November, and is all about recognizing all the great things that courageous caregivers do on a daily basis. It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness about issues that might be affecting caregivers. This year’s theme is “Respite: Care for Caregivers” (because everyone deserves a break sometime).
Joining a cause is not only about making a difference in your life, it’s about making a difference in the life of a loved one, a friend or even a complete stranger. So don’t just wait for a specific month, week or day, let your support, experiences and love shine through every day. Encourage others to start talking and gain control of their bladder health because together, we can put an end to the stigma surrounding the Unexpected Leak!
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