By Jos Weale
A breast cancer survivor has SLAMMED the love heart emoji awareness campaign as ‘pointless’ – and claims all cancer survivors feel the same.
Single mum Cheryl Kerr, 44, claims gestures such as the recent trend for sharing red heart symbols on Facebook do nothing to raise awareness – instead painting breast cancer as ‘pink and fluffy’.
In a cutting viral video, which has racked up more than 8,000 views, a fired-up Cheryl explains how she and the majority of other breast cancer sufferers and survivors don’t appreciate breast cancer ‘games’.
Life coach Cheryl, from Liverpool, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2011 and had her right breast fully removed via a mastectomy the following month but said she is happy to lose friends over her strong views.
The mum-of-one said: “Red hearts on profiles, no makeup selfies, it’s always the same kind of thing. I’m not a big campaigner, but this isn’t raising awareness.
“It gets a little bit hard. Cancer is not pink and fluffy. I get the games and messages in my inbox – I’ve had this a million times before, but it isn’t raising awareness at all.
“I just think, how long has it taken you to sit there and tag over a hundred people? Or to put a heart on your profile?
“I’m not out to cause upset, but this is important. I think ‘in that same time you have spent doing that, you could have checked your breasts’.
“It’s great breast cancer sufferers and survivors have this kind of support, but we would much rather people took the time to check their breasts instead.”
In recent weeks Facebook has been taken over by a sea of red love heart emojis shared as part of a campaign for breast cancer awareness.
The heart is generally accompanied by a private message to female friends asking the receiver to ‘check your boobies.’
Other previous viral cancer awareness social media stunts include the #NoMakeupSelfie challenge and a stunt which saw women post statuses sharing where they leave their handbag.
But Cheryl, mum to Rebecca, nine, claims encouraging women to check their breasts would save far more lives than campaigns of this nature.
The 44-year-old finished cancer treatment in April 2016 and is set to undergo a second breast reconstruction operation later this year after an implant she was given several years ago was unsuccessful.
Cheryl claims she is often unfriended or blocked on social media when she speaks out against people tagging and sharing these awareness campaigns.
She said: “We don’t want to seem like we are unappreciative. It’s nice that people are thinking of us, but I don’t appreciate these games.
“If you want to share something I will give you a picture of me showing my mastectomy scars.
“Nine times out of ten I’m nice about it. I have snapped in the past, but it’s because it’s important. We just want you to take the time to check instead – an early diagnosis can save lives.
“I’m more than happy to share information with people on how to check their breasts. People say, ‘I know how to do that’, but they don’t do it.
“The people who are offended by my reaction will tend to just unfriend or block me rather than say anything to me. It’s hurt their feelings. Some people have said that they are sorry, and that they just thought that I would like it.
“I come from a high risk background, and have had lumps before, so I am more used to checking my breasts than some people. But I still wasn’t expecting the diagnosis.
“I found the lump in time, but I still left it for three months before I went to the doctor’s because I didn’t want to take time out of work. It shouldn’t have to get to that stage.”