I was recently invited to Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., where I appeared in an interactive Facebook 101 Live (video below). Libby Leffler, Facebook's Strategic Partner Manager focusing on causes & nonprofits, interviewed me, and we discussed how I used Facebook to start the Blue Cure prostate cancer nonprofit. We also discussed my belief that Facebook offers something profound in our "War on Cancer," by connecting families and offering support like never before, while offering education on much-needed preventative dietary and lifestyle habits and on an integrative approach to fighting cancer.
If other cancer institutions and nonprofits would place such emphases on using this powerful interactive medium for education and support, we could make incredible advances in our "War on Cancer."
More than anything, I've found through Blue Cure's Facebook interactions that the #1 need of cancer patients and their caregivers on a cancer journey is this: hope.
Hope in a cure.
Hope that all will be well.
Hope for a life-extending treatment.
Hope that someone can comfort them.
Hope that someone can connect with them who can relate and offer encouragement.
Facebook offers patients and caregivers hope by providing a way to instantly connect like never before in human history.
Instant connectivity and interactivity takes this very big world -- this scary new cancer-world, for some of us -- and lets us intimately connect, receive support, become educated and become empowered. Such instant connections are a way to know immediately about new treatments and clinical trials and to share experiences about drugs, doctors, hospitals, treatments and other elements of the cancer journey.
In this way, Facebook is an essential weapon in our arsenal for the "War on Cancer," a war where geography is no longer a boundary. It's a place where knowledge and experiences are shared, instant feedback is provided and strangers bond quickly as friends. As dominate media in their early decades, TV and radio never offered this. Facebook does.
The cancer community must embrace this interactive medium -- not just as a fundraising tool, as most do, but to empower, offer support and educate. (Diet and lifestyle choices not only can reduce cancer risks and prevent cancer, but enable better outcomes when undergoing cancer treatments.)
I hope, too. I hope others heed this call for education, support and empowerment. And I hope you'll join us on Blue Cure's Facebook page or elsewhere to offer our hope to others.
Follow Gabe Canales on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GabeCanales