SMAC! and Selfies: A Battle Against Cancer


Back in November of last year, I mentioned SMAC! Sock Monkeys Against Cancer as a wonderful organization to support. At the time, SMAC! had gotten its funding and Nomo and Phoenix, the SMAC! monkeys, were already being manufactured and distributed around the world. All this year, SMAC! has been ramping up their efforts, and now the real beauty of founder Jennifer Windrum’s plan is becoming obvious.

A key part of the effort is the incorporation of selfies. I recently wrote a post here about how nonprofits could use the “selfie” to help promote their cause. SMAC! is a prime example of how this works.

The Mission

The objective of SMAC! is pretty simple on the surface. The goal is to get a cancer fighting sock monkey into the hands of all cancer patients. It has been found that even though the sock monkeys aren’t alive, they offer a lot of comfort to patients. People who are going through chemo or who are stuck in bed can have these smiling, colorful monkeys to cuddle and hold on to. Friends or family members of patients can give them one of these happy little sock monkeys as a reminder that they’re thought and cared about even though they can’t be with them in person.

There are many ways to engage in the SMAC! effort. You can buy a monkey for someone you love, and another monkey will automatically be donated to someone else who needs one. You can also become a SMAC! angel and purchase a monkey on behalf of someone who has requested one. You can learn more about that on Facebook.

To help grow the cause and spread the word, as well as to create a loving community around cancer patients who receive a SMAC! monkey, there is also a page wherepatients are asked to upload pictures of themselves SMACing cancer.

The Power of the Selfie

These selfies are nothing like the famous selfie Ellen Degeneres took at the Oscars this year. However, the increasing number of images on the SMAC! Cancer website do several things.

  • They show how much these cancer patients appreciate these tangible symbols of care
  • They put a face and a name to the anonymous and unfeeling words, “cancer patients”
  • They inspire people (or at least me) to want to participate in this fantastic way to help fight cancer

It’s possible that your cause may not translate as effectively or as powerfully to the use of images, but the use of the selfie by the SMAC! organization shows exactly how powerful such images can be. Images are easy to share online, they make your organization and your cause more memorable and personal, and they actually show potential contributors how they can positively impact people.

There is a lot you can learn from following how SMAC! works across many social media platforms. I recommend you check out their Facebook page, their Twitter account, and Pinterest boards in particular.

Are you considering the use of selfies for your cause? Have you tried it in the past? We’d love to hear from you!