As you may already be aware, June is Scoliosis Awareness Month (culminating in International Scoliosis Awareness Day on Saturday 29 June).
If you're looking to help fly the scoliosis flag this month, there are lots of ways to help raise awareness - here are just a few ideas to get your cogs turning:
1. Social Media
It's no secret that social media is an incredibly powerful tool. This applies just as much to your personal social media accounts as it does to those owned by businesses, brands and celebrities.
If you want to get the word out to your friends, followers and family members, a simple Facebook update, tweet or Instagram post can go a surprisingly long way. Including a 'please share' request within your post will encourage people to spread the word to their own social spheres.
If you're not big on social media, offline methods can work too. Printed flyers can be extremely impactful when it comes to informing and educating your community.
Producing flyers can be surprisingly economical, too - particularly if you shop around. Once you've got a stack of flyers ready, distribution can be as simple as standing in the centre of town and handing them out. You may also be able to place your flyers in local cafés, shops and other locations (but be sure to ask permission first).
3. Viral Challenges
Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? It was a sensation back in 2014: countless people, including a number of politicians and celebrities, shared videos of themselves getting soaked in order to raise awareness and funds for motor neurone disease charities across the globe.
We're not suggesting that you subject yourself to a bucket of ice-cold water, but you could definitely look to the viral success of the Ice Bucket Challenge for inspiration. Why not think of your own unique challenge, give it a catchy name, and get filming? Then post the video online, challenge three of your friends, and see where it leads!
A memorable, well-designed poster can be a great way to get a point across. If you're not much of a designer yourself, it's well worth paying a professional to put something together for you - posters work best when they're really eye-catching!
Strategic placement is important to make sure your poster is seen. Ask you family and friends to help you get your posters in densely-populated, high-footfall areas like busy streets, community centres, and places of business.
If you're a confident public speaker, Scoliosis Awareness Month is a great time to put that talent to use. Giving a talk at - for example - a local school is a superb way to get the message out to people who might not otherwise have heard it. This is especially true if you yourself have scoliosis and can comment on what it's like to live with a curved spine.
If appropriate, you could even follow up your speech with a collection bucket to make the most of your platform and raise funds for a scoliosis charity of your choosing.
Pens, badges, hats, T-shirts...branded merchandise is a great way to promote a cause, and if you can afford it, you may want to consider using customised merch to raise awareness of scoliosis.
You could give your merchandise away for free as a promotional exercise, or sell it to raise funds for a worthy charity - either way, don't be afraid to get creative!
7. School / Work
Whether you're in school, university, or the world of work, getting your classmates / colleagues involved in your quest to boost scoliosis awareness will help you to cover a lot more ground.
Here's the golden rule: the simpler the task, the more likely people are to participate. Try to keep your requests nice and straightforward - for instance, you could encourage everyone to wear green for scoliosis, or change their email signature in recognition of Scoliosis Awareness Month. If you're feeling ambitious, you could even organise a bake sale and donate the proceeds to a scoliosis charity.
8. Local News
Even in this ultra-connected era, lots of people still read the local paper - or indeed the local paper's website.
Journalists are always looking for ideas, and they love local interest stories that focus on real people and the challenges they face. If you have struggled with scoliosis and achieved something special, now is the perfect time to celebrate it. In a world that can sometimes feel like it's bursting with bad news, a slice of positivity should be an easy sell that your local journos welcome with open arms.
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