Cancer Survivors Reflect on “Challenge Accepted” Social Media Campaign

By: Courtney Floyd


You may have noticed some of the profiles your follow on social media are snapping selfies or changing their profile pictures to black and white with the caption “challenge accepted.” Although I was unsure of what the campaign represented at first, I did a little digging and realized the movements focus is to raise cancer awareness.

Once I understood what was going on, I discovered a few blogs from individual impacted by cancer responding to the newest social medial campaign. I found their perspectives (both positive and negative) very interesting and heartfelt.

I wanted to hear more opinions from other cancer survivors, so I reached out to our always lovely PRMA Pink Ladies Patient Advocate Team. Here are a few of their reflections on the black and white photo “challenge accepted” movement.

“I personally think we no longer need to “raise awareness.” We know about breast cancer. The way to show those going through cancer support is to call them and see what they need. Even something as simple as grocery shopping for them or mowing the lawn shows more support than taking a silly selfie.”-Erika

“I have mixed thoughts about it. As for it bringing awareness to cancer - I don’t think it’s necessary for that purpose as I believe everyone is aware of the severity of cancer in our nation. No one is going see a black and white photo changed and learn anything differently than they already know about cancer. As for changing the color of your photo to show your support for a loved one...I think as co-survivor, people want to show their support however they can because they are unsure of what to do, what to say, or what to give sometimes. I think this is no different than putting a rainbow over your photo to show your support for LGBT. I don’t necessarily think it is "helpful" so to speak but I think people will do it and are doing in an effort to show their support for their loved ones who have been affected by cancer.” -Jen

“My feeling is that the phrase "challenge accepted" is used for challenges and goals that are voluntary. A person accepts a challenge to train for a marathon, achieve a goal at work, lose weight, etc. People who are fighting cancer are not doing so on a voluntary basis, or for a sense of accomplishment, they are doing so to SAVE THEIR OWN LIVES. I get the desire to bring awareness to cancer, but sometimes trying to do so through a hashtag can backfire. If you look at #challengeaccepted on Twitter, you will find all sorts of posts - someone who is accepting the challenge to binge watch a series on Netflix, another person who is taking a hot air balloon ride... none of these posts have anything to do with the gravity of facing a serious illness.” -Dvora

“What is this #challengeaccepted campaign on Facebook that seemingly has no explanation; just a simple black and white photo of yourself? The focus of the campaign began as a way to raise awareness about cancer. Another cancer awareness campaign? "Seriously!", you might say. Who is your community, your tribe? Do you surround yourself with those who support you whether it's your favorite ice cream flavor of the day, your football team, or perhaps a crusade to improve the environment? Communities give us purpose, a sense of belonging, identity. No matter what the cause, #challengeaccepted is about community. This movement, this cancer community is global. Embrace your tribe!” -Terri

“I searched #challengeaccepted and the first post that showed up was someone who accepted a challenge to accept God as their savior. I scrolled down and did see some with black and white photos about breast cancer. Interesting concept but not sure how much of an impact it will have. Seems to me a different hashtag might be more effective.” -Carla

We are all entitled to our opinions and should respect those of other. Please feel free to share your refection on this campaign in the comments below. 

Cancer Survivors Reflect on “Challenge Accepted” Social Media Campaign


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  • Ericka

    I am with most of the ladies who have mixed emotions about this. There is no explanation of what a black and white selfies means unless you research it and most people won’t. I believe there is plenty of breast cancer awareness, however sometimes loved ones have NO IDEA how to support their friend or family member going through cancer so they do these types of things with good intentions, but they should know as one of the ladies has already said that going grocery shopping for the person, mowing the lawn, helping with housework or even just making a meal is what is really needed. They’re not expected to know what to say because most people don’t. So if they really want to help do something for them that makes their life easier!

  • Reagan

    Breast Cancer is devastating. Family members and friends should always be there from the start to end of the battle. Breast cancer awareness help women and men that prevention is better than cure. Everyone should be vigilant and sincere towards any breast cancer awareness programs. Thanks for sharing your insights Courtney! - Reagan

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