What is it?
First things first—what exactly is National Cancer Survivors Day (NCSD)? It’s an annual event held in hundreds of communities throughout the world on the first Sunday in June. NCSD is a symbolic event to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality—and can be a joyous thing! According to the official NCSD website, National Cancer Survivors Day is a celebration for survivors, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community. So, all in all, it’s an inclusive event of celebration, inspiration, support, and outreach that is open to everyone—from survivors and newly diagnosed to families and communities at large. You can organize events in your local area or see what events have already been organized.
Why do they do it?
As already briefly mentioned above, NCSD is held to show people that cancer doesn’t stop you from living your life. A happy, fulfilling life following a cancer diagnosis is possible, and is closer than you think. By joining or participating in a NCSD event, you show your commitment both to those who are coping with cancer as well as to helping them live their best life.
Planning for a NCSD event takes a lot of time—months, usually—so a few of the big deadlines have already passed for this year’s Cancer Survivors Day, including the deadline to order NCSD merchandise for your event. However, there’s still time to find events near you by searching “National Cancer Survivors Day events in [INSERT YOUR TOWN OR CITY’S NAME HERE]” in your search engine. You can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (615) 794-3006 if you have questions about getting in touch with events, or NCSD in general. It’s never too late to get involved in supporting cancer awareness!
One date that you should be aware of, however, is June 11th, 2018, which is the deadline to submit photos to NCSD’s Coping with Cancer magazine. Your photos could be included in the 2018 July/August edition of Coping, which focuses exclusively on National Cancer Survivors Day! Find more details about how to submit photos here.
How to Register & Organize Your Event
Although it’s a big too late to organize your own event for 2018’s NCSD, it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s event! Follow these steps to plan your NCSD event:
- Register Your Event. Registering doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t tie you into any obligations with NCSD. However, you must register each year in order to use the NCSD name and logo, which is copyrighted. You can register as early as you want for the next year’s event, and you will be notified when the new materials are ready. When you register your NCSD event, you will gain access to lots of resources for your event, like official merchandise, exclusive celebrity/keynote speakers, special offers, and more.
- Get Sponsors. Sponsorship is a great way to involve local and community companies and organizations. Consider enlisting support from healthcare organizations, local businesses, cancer support groups, and other pillars in your community that support healthy living. In addition to sponsorship, encourage local media to spread the word about NCSD—your event will receive more recognition and cancer issues will get valuable airtime.
- Pick a Location. Many NCSD events are held at hospitals and cancer centers, but don’t let that limit your options. Get creative with your location choice! Consider local parks, public areas, and community centers, like churches or schools. A few variables you should take into consideration while choosing a location are crowd sizes, weather, travel & parking, and permits & insurance needed.
- Choose a Theme. A theme isn’t necessary, per se, to a great NCSD booth. However, it can help add interest and excitement, and can also help unify the community under a recognizable and articulatable banner, so to speak. Here are some ideas for themes, courtesy of the official official NCSD website page:Iron Out the Details. The success of any event depends on how well the details are handled—make sure you don’t run into any unwelcome “surprises” by taking all the necessary preparations. Make sure you have everything—from decorations to food to guest entertainment—nailed down well in advance. We won’t go into detail about all the ways things can go off-track in this article, but feel free to visit this page for more guidance on how to iron out all the details of your event.
- Superheroes of Hope: give your attendees an opportunity to celebrate the heroes in their lives with a superhero-themed NCSD event. Special appearances by Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and other popular superhero figures can take your celebration to the next level, and can help involve kids!
- Let the Games Begin: hold your event at a local park and host a field day—complete with an egg toss, three-legged race, and other fun outdoor activities. Have prizes for the winners, and maybe even throw in a picnic lunch.
- Cancer Survivors Fashion Show: cancer survivors make beautiful models for clothing, wigs, turbans, and scarves. For a fun, local touch, have local fashion designers, clothing stores, or cancer boutiques provide outfits and accessories for survivors to show off!
- Feel free to change up any of these themes to fit your mood. Themes are a great way to make whatever you do more interesting and enjoyable. For example, are you hosting a run/walk for the cure? Make it a costume contest race! Are you making your event more of an educational health fair? Jazz it up with a field day theme and add in a few fan favorite games, like cornhole! Get creative, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures to document the big day.
- Order Official NCSD Merchandise. Now, this step certainly isn’t a requirement, but it does help give an event an official “seal of approval” look. Plus, the NCSD Foundation is a nonprofit and offers low-cost options. Official merchandise can take your event from local block party status to legitimate organization event status. Additionally, official merchandise gives your guests something concrete, like a water bottle or t-shirt, to remember their time at your event by for years to come. Visit the NCSD website or sign up for their newsletter to be notified when the next years’ merchandise catalogs come out.
- Spread the Word. This last step is crucial. Getting the word out about your event can make all the difference in attendance and awareness for National Cancer Survivors Day, which is what these events are all about. You should start spreading the word a few weeks in advance. Focus your efforts on social media and local news outlets. Don’t forget to engage your local community along the way! Getting the word out at community places, like town halls, churches, mosques, synagogues, and schools, is crucial. See this page for sample letters you can send out to community organizations, local businesses, press, and more.