There will be people around the world eating ice-cream for breakfast on 18th February. And despite being in two minds about cancer awareness campaigns, I’m going to be one of them. Here’s why.
Generally I prefer charity activities that raise money for their causes over “awareness” campaigns that seem to do little other than make people feel good about participating.
I am planning on supporting Eat Ice-cream for Breakfast Day though. It doesn’t raise money. It doesn’t have an ice-cream company as a corporate sponsor. Yes, it is an awareness campaign for childhood cancer, motivated by remembering a little girl called Malia but it’s asking something a little bit different from you too.
It’s asking you to take a moment out of your regular routine, to do something unexpected and a little bit self indulgent. While you do it (and enjoy and savour it without any guilt) it invites you to take a moment to consider how kids (and kids with cancer) approach life and whether that might have some value in your own life. It asks you to be a part of a community that is sharing in that moment.
One very noticeable, and to many people surprising, thing about children’s cancer wards is what happy places they can be. Kids don’t spend much of their time there talking about their cancer or contemplating what might happen to them down the track (or even tomorrow). They squeeze the joy out of life in between the unpleasant parts of their treatment and side effects. They play and chat just like their peers without cancer (though they have a much bigger medical vocabulary). They certainly don’t give their parents too much time to wallow in the what ifs either. And if you offered them ice-cream for breakfast and they were feeling well enough, they would most certainly take it without worrying about the calories or whether ice-cream is an appropriate breakfast food.
I never did offer Zoe ice-cream for breakfast, but I imagine it would have been greeted with the same enthusiasm and hilarity as when she demanded porridge for dinner and I stepped out of my “eat your veggies” mum persona and gave it to her. Or the same pure delight of the day not long after she finished treatment when she woke up, asked for a pony ride out of the blue and I quickly tracked down a farmers market where we could make it happen.
Caught up in our adult routines, we rarely impulsively do the unexpected and indulge in the small simple delights. But I’m glad that Malia did. And I’m glad that Zoe did. Maybe we’ll look back one day and wish we had seized more of those moments too. Join me on February 18th and you will be able to look back and remember that one time you did.
I will be eating ice-cream for Zoe and for the too many children I know who have died of cancer. You can also eat ice-cream to celebrate children fighting cancer, in remission or survivors. If you don’t know a child who has/had cancer, I invite you to do it for Malia or for Zoe.
About Eat Ice-cream for Breakfast day
In 2013 around 50 people who knew Malia ate ice-cream for breakfast. In 2014 1600 people in 12 countries honoured 55 children (who were fighting cancer, in remission, survivors or passed away) by taking part. You can join in just by eating ice-cream, you can also share your photos and who you are eating ice-cream for on their facebook page or by using the hashtags #icecreamforbreakfast and #kidsgetcancertoo elsewhere. Click here to go to their website for more information.