Saving New York lives through #KoalaGiving in 2019

The latest published CDC data shows that 8,882 new Melanoma cases were reported in NYC and Long Island, of whom, 1,015 died.  In 2019 The Australian Community is working to reduce these deaths.

#KoalaGiving is The Australian Community’s charitable initiative where Australians have the opportunity to give back to the broader New York community.  Since its inception, it has raised money for other charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Bowery Mission and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  

For the past four years #KoalaGiving has raised money for MSKCC through Cycle for Survival.  C4S has also served as a platform for The Australian Community to raise awareness of skin cancer.   However, as C4S now focusses on funding rare cancers, and skin cancer is not a rare cancer, in 2019 we are raising money to directly fund our own #SlipSlopSlap campaign to save New York lives through skin cancer prevention, and screening for Melanoma.

According to the CDC, there were a total of 8,882 annual new cases of Melanoma diagnosed in NYC and Long Island, of whom, 1,015 died.

#KoalaGiving will run annually from February 1 to June 30.  100% of the money raised will go directly towards funding an outreach campaign leveraging our YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.  Our goal is to reach 1,200,000 New Yorkers with a message of #SlipSlopSlap to those New Yorkers with an interest in beaches and outdoor activities.

May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month, so in addition to our campaign, The Australian Community will be highlighting New York Hospitals and Clinics who will be offering free skin cancer screenings to the public.  Our campaign will end in June with a free Sun Safe picnic in Central Park where members of the public are invited to attend and show their best #SlipSlopSlap – just in time for summer!

Lessons of the Past

In 1980, a public safety campaign was launched in Australia.  At the time Australia had one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, perpetuated by a beach culture promoting the image of the Bronzed Aussie.  The campaign alerted Australians to the dangers of the sun through TV commercials featuring a character, Sid the Seagull. 

Sid danced and sang his way across Australian televisions, telling Australians to Slip on a Shirt, Slop on Sunscreen and Slap on a Hat.  Over the past four decades, the #SlipSlopSlap campaign has saved thousands of Australian lives through skin cancer prevention.  So engrained is the culture of sun safety, children are not permitted to play in the school grounds with out a hat, and UV sunbeds have been outlawed in all Australian states – as they have proven to cause skin cancer.

Contrasting this is the number of infants wheeled around New York in strollers without sun protection, and the number of U.S. States still deciding at what age a child is permitted to use a tanning salon. 

What is no surprise is that while the new incidence of skin cancer is going down in Australia, it is steadily increasing in the United States.  The prospect of changing a youth culture of Gym, Tan, Laundry seems daunting, but clearly the Australian model has proven that it is possible to change attitudes to safe sun practices.  Further, Australians are well regarded as Subject Matter Experts on the Sun, so New Yorkers are more than likely to listen.

Introducing Joey- The Sun-Safe Koala

Sid the Seagull, may be a popular character in Australia, but he is unlikely to grab the attention of Americans on social media   However, our mascot Joey the Koala, is both instantly recognizable as Australian, and has proven very popular in our social media. 

In addition to the #SlipSlopSlap tactics we have created featuring Joey, our 2019 Creative Challenge art competition will target the creative members of our organization to submit artwork or animations featuring Joey, to heighten sun safety in 2020.  The winner will receive a $500 cash grant, with two runners up receiving prizes.

How #KoalaGiving will Save New York Lives

Statistically speaking, if we target 1,200,000 New Yorkers whose interest is the beach and outdoor activities, we will reach c.300 people with Melanoma.  For every one of these people who has an undiagnosed Melanoma, and gets screened, we have the potential to save a life.

We know what causes skin cancer, and how to reduce your risk.  We also know that if people are regularly screened, we can save lives each year.  We are not raising money for research, or hosting a walk in Central Park for an impossible cause: #KoalaGiving is raising money for real action that has the potential to save hundreds of lives. 

Donations will begin to be accepted for #KoalaGiving from February 1, 2019.

About The Australian Community

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity and its Mission is to connect Australian living in the United States through social. professional and charitable initiatives.

All contributions are fully tax deductible under Section 170 of the IRS Code. The Australian Community is also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code.