What social good can a selfie create? How about raising over $200,000 for a leading nonprofit fighting the country’s No. 2 cause of cancer deaths? 

In 2014, Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) launched the hashtag campaign #StrongArmSelfie. Inspired by the viral Ice Bucket Challenge that had opened eyes to the power of fundraising on social media, the campaign encouraged supporters to raise awareness by posting a photo of themselves with a flexed arm, the signature “strong arm” pose of Fight CRC. Corporate partners saw the power of the movement and agreed to donate $1 to Fight CRC for every post. The campaign has continued for more than five years and has seen more than 500,000 photos that have raised over $200,000.

“Our corporate partners have been incredible, they’ve caught the vision of how a simple #StrongArmSelfie post can both tell an advocates’ story—which may lead someone to get screened or find patient support—but also provide essential resources for the organization,” said Michell Baker, Director of Partnerships.

Bayer Healthcare was the first to partner with Fight CRC and offer a $1 donation, up to $25,000, for every #StrongArmSelfie. Hashtagged photos on every social media outlet soon appeared, as well as videos on YouTube showing hundreds of advocates flexing their arms for the cause. Funds have gone to support projects like patient resources, research, advocacy, and awareness. 

“We started doing StrongArmSelfie to support our dad, Nelson Gibson, who died of colorectal cancer in 2016,” said Elsa and Carrie Gibson. “Being in Puerto Rico, it was an easy way to rally our community and get connected to an important cause. The StrongArmSelfie has brought our family a lot of healing as we grieve our dad, and it’s helped us get involved as advocates.”

In addition to the Gibson sisters, several other advocates have made the #StrongArmSelfie their own. Stage IV survivor Mike Mancini developed a cut out to take to events, a way to both raise awareness and generate funds. His “strong arms” continue to be requested by supporters wanting to get involved in the cause.

“It’s been fun and healing to offer these cut outs, and to connect with other survivors like me,” said Mancini.

In the six years of the campaign, several corporate sponsors have caught the vision and supported the #StrongArmSelfie campaign: Arcus Biosciences, Bayer Healthcare, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Daiichi-Sankyo, Epi Pro Colon, Exact Sciences, Fujifilm, Guardant Health, Genentech, HalioDx, Lilly Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Merck, Myriad, Natera, No-Shave November, No-Shave November, Sanofi, Seagen, and Taiho-Oncology

“We’re grateful to these partners who’ve helped us connect awareness with advocacy and supported our mission to be catalysts for change,” said Fight CRC President Anjee Davis.

The campaign continues today, view posts on any social media outlet by searching #StrongArmSelfie. To become a sponsor of the 2022 campaign, contact Michell Baker at PhilTeam@fightcrc.org. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *