The idea for ‘Dress in Blue Day’ was originally come up with by Anita Mitchell, a stage IV colon cancer survivor who had lost a close friend and her own father to the disease. Greatly saddened by the fact that both of those tragedies could have been prevented, Ms. Mitchell saw a need to bring greater awareness to a cancer not many people wanted to discuss. So, in 2006, she worked with her children’s school to coordinate a recognition day. That very year in March, students who normally had to wear uniforms to class were allowed to wear a blue outfit of their choice, if only they made a $1 donation to colon cancer awareness.
There have been some hopes to turn all of March, and not just the first Friday of the month, blue by promoting colon cancer awareness all month long, much like National Breat Cancer Awareness Month takes place every October.
History of Blue Dress Day
Anita then brought the ‘Dress in Blue Day’ concept to the Colon Cancer Alliance. ‘Dress in Blue Day’ was first launched in 2009 by the Colon Cancer Alliance in a massive nationwide campaign. It was introduced to raise awareness of colon cancer as well as to recognise the bravery of those suffering from the disease, and the now nationally-recognized blue star was chosen to symbolize both the memory of loved ones lost to colon cancer and the perspective of a better future without the disease.
With its actions, the Colon Cancer Alliance hopes to encourage people to become more interested in the potentially fatal threat that is colon cancer, by for example getting screened regularly in hopes of being able to detect any warning signs before the situation becomes much more serious. Diagnosis of cases of colorectal cancer through screening tends to occur 2-3 years before diagnosis of cases with symptoms, and thus screening has the potential to reduce colon cancer deaths by 60%. It has been found, in fact, that most colorectal cancers should be preventable altogether, through increased surveillance and lifestyle changes, such as simple diet changes or an increase in the amount of physical activity an individual does, which makes prevention a truly important aspect.
Carmen Marc Valvo, an American fashion designer, partnered with the Colon Cancer Alliance in 2011 to promote Dress in Blue Day after hew own personal struggle with the cancer.
How to celebrate blue dress day
Individuals, companies and neighbourhood groups celebrate ‘Dress in Blue Day’ by wearing blue and encouraging their friends, family and colleagues to do the same. There are many different ways this can be used to raise money. Proceeds raised through ‘Dress in Blue Day’ are used to fund important research and prevention programs, as well as to provide support to patients.
As one example, businesses can allow their employees to wear jeans and a blue t-shirt instead of their usual uniforms, in return for a small fee. Some people both raise awareness and show support for friends or family members who have suffered or are suffering from colon cancer by wearing a shirt that says simply, “I’m blue for my son” or, “I’m blue for Sarah”.
An individual can also collect sponsorship from their friends and family in return for dressing head to toe in blue for a day – including clothing, shoes, make up and even hair dye! This money is then of course donated to the Colon Cancer Alliance, and used both to help survivors of colon cancer as well as do more research into possible ways to hopefully one day cure it completely.