When White House didn’t mind the f-word

October 28th, 2010 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Oct 28 (IANS) A young Canadian woman’s offensive F*** Cancer campaign to create awareness about the deadly disease is raising eyebrows as well as support for her mission in this country and the US.

In fact, her cheeky campaign got 23-year-old Vancouver woman Yael Cohen an invitation to the White House for the Next Generation Leaders Conference in the summer. Surprisingly, the official invitation not only mentioned F*** Cancer, but the White House printed it without benefit of asterisks, Cohen told the local Vancouver Sun daily.

With her message printed unexpurgated on T-shirts and other garments, she has taken her anti-cancer campaign across Canada and the US.

She says she was inspired to undertake the shocking campaign after early detection of cancer saved her 50-year-old mother Diane. Right after her mom’s surgery, she said she made the T-shirt that said F*** Cancer and asked her mom to wear it all the time.

“It was her (mom) trophy. It was her pride. And it was unbelievable. We couldn’t walk a block without people hugging her, high-fiving her, telling her their stories, crying. I needed to harness the momentum while we had it,” the young woman told the newspaper.

After preparing the shocker T-shirt, she said she set up her Ingaba Charitable Initiatives Society to disseminate information about early detection of cancer. Ingaba is Zulu word for mission.

“Early detection was the key for my mother. We spend billions of dollars looking for the cure . . . but early detection is the best prevention,” she was quoted as saying.

“Nobody talks to us about cancer. We aim to start a conversation about cancer, a conversation with our families. ‘Where is the family risk?’ Have you had your mammogram? ‘Have you had a colonoscopy?’”

She said, “F*** is the new ‘very’ for my generation,” and its cheeky application is “never meant to offend, but it starts the conversation. F*** Cancer is not something I see as crass. We’re raised not to talk about our bodily functions and not to swear, and this does both.”

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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