#winelovers against cancer foundation
The #winelover community is an international group of wine professionals, wine writers, wine bloggers and passionate consumers. In less than three years, this group has grown to greater than 20,000 members from around the world (website: www.winelover.co). Besides promoting wine knowledge in general, our group has been interested in wine as a health promoting beverage. Trying to explain the genesis of the #Winelover Against Cancer Foundation takes a little perspective. Beyond the studies, we were struck by the number of wine professionals and dear friends who had come down with some sort of cancer. It’s very personal but universal at the same time.
Our group’s founder, Luiz Alberto, has utilized social media to raise breast cancer awareness via the formation and promotion of the #winelover against cancer concept. This has been also supported by an effort to educate our community through the writings of master of wine and medical doctor Patrick Farrell, MD, MW. Our group has responded vigorously via the sale of 700 tee shirts. We plan on raising funds to enable our group to raise awareness in the wine community that although wine has a net positive effect upon health, there are some forms of cancer whose incidence increases with wine consumption. These include cancers of the breast, colon, stomach, esophagus and mouth. We promote early detection and prevention by reducing other risk factors and by encouraging moderation in the consumption of alcohol.
Why do we need a foundation?
The money we collect will be used to raise awareness for breast and prostate cancer and to find potential donors for patients with leukemia through several channels of the wine world (important wine shows, conferences, tastings, etc). These types of activities currently don’t exist in the wine industry and we’ll be able to save many lives by raising awareness to some types of cancer where early detection is key for survival. Our plan is to inform #winelover-s (within our group and from the world of wine at large) of risks and then how to balance those risks with the health benefits to be garnered from moderate wine consumption (less coronary artery disease, stroke, among a few).
We’ll also find creative ways to provide emotional support to those who have or had cancer. In other words, we have to make them feel loved and that they are not alone. “Remember that reaching out to people who suffer alone and in silence is vital. There is a lot of hand holding and a lot of listening to sufferers which would be appreciated.” Elizabeth Gabay, Master of Wine.
October is the month for breast cancer awareness and it was the perfect timing to raise awareness among #winelover-s with the launch of the official campaign with the presence of Angelika Deutsch (wine writer from Austria – stage 4 cancer – she put a huge effort to be there) and a large number of core members of the community in Sicily, Italy. To go along with that, we had a sale of “#winelover against cancer t-shirts” and almost 700 of them were sold and there are thousands of pictures of people wearing these t-shirts. That helps tremendously to spread the word and raise awareness to a very large audience.
Our fight is not only against breast cancer: Every November (“Movember” – https://us.movember.com) we’ll be mobilized in a campaign to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancers.
Early detection is still the best solution, so we have to make sure that every #winelover knows that they need to be checked periodically. With the donations we intend to offer free mammograms and prostate checks for people of the community who don’t have enough resources or insurance to cover the costs of the exams.
More than just raising awareness and giving emotional support:
Sadly, somebody in the world receives the shattering news that they have been diagnosed with blood cancer every day. Many patients are children and young people whose only chance of recovery is a stem cell donation. Our foundation will provide a concise overview of the subject of blood cancer and stem cell donation and, most importantly, we will try to make the attendance of major wine shows (the public, plus the people of the wine industry) potential stem cell donors for leukemia. The ideal situation would be to have kits to collect saliva and send it to the local center (most developed countries in the world apparently have their own databases). If that’s not possible, it will inform people on how they can make themselves donors (again, this is country specific). These wine events are also a good opportunity to collect monetary donations that will be used to make possible for the foundation to be present in more wine events. A synergistic action/reaction effect: More wine events result in more potential donors and more resources to participate in more wine events that will generate the opportunity for more potential donors.
Fact: Only a third of patients find a suitable donor within their families. The majority of patients require an unrelated donor. The probability of finding a suitable donor outside of one’s own family is between one in 20,000 and one in several million. Sometimes no one is found, even among several millions. That is why we need to make as many potential donors as possible!
In summary: The proposed foundation will facilitate these efforts by formalizing our efforts and by raising the funds to spread these messages. As we are an international organization, we plan on encouraging our rapidly growing membership to help us generate an international stem cell donor registry and raise awareness for different types of cancer throughout the world. The foundation will enable us to fight cancer and save lives.