World Cancer Day 2021: Cancer awareness and the role of the media
Having worked in the global media sphere for decades, Justine Cullen is honoured to use her public profile to help generate awareness for childhood cancer. The Cure Cancer ambassador and JONES Magazine Editor-in-Chief shares her passion for cancer research with her highly engaged audience across social and digital media. Justine inspiring mothers and followers across the world to unite in working towards eradicating childhood cancer for good.
How has your role in the media enabled you to use your voice and your public profile to benefit the cancer awareness cause?
Having been making magazines for 25 years, I have an audience primarily made up of women like me - working mothers. To be able to reach them and speak to them as a fellow parent in order to help bring awareness to such an important cause is an honour.
Can you share your experience of being a Cure Cancer ambassador? How did the partnership arise?
A friend had recently lost her seven year old son to DIPG. I had helped the family with some fund-raising for the organisation she started after Levi’s death, and ever since I’d been wanting to do more. So when Cure Cancer reached out to me last year to get involved, particularly around the launch of the Buddy Box, I didn’t hesitate.
As a mother with four children, I know that childhood cancer is every parent’s worst nightmare and the fact that the Buddy Box has the immediate benefit of putting a smile on the face of a young person suffering with cancer as well as contributing much needed funds to early-career and potentially ground-breaking cancer research made it a no brainer.
How do you use your personal and professional social media platforms to further your work as a Cure Cancer ambassador?
All I can do is help with awareness and hope that my audience feels as passionately about the importance of cancer research as I do.
How important is it that we continue normalising conversations around cancer in the media and in society?
Cancer is so pervasive - it’s impossible not to know someone who has been touched by the disease. But these are challenging times for fund-raising. From the bush-fires to the pandemic, there is always something else fighting for our attention (and our money), but we can’t forget that even in these Covid times, thousands of people are still being diagnosed with cancer or going through cancer treatment, and their needs don’t disappear because it’s not in the headlines. In fact, they’re even more vulnerable. So it’s more important than ever to keep the conversations and the work happening.