The World GO Day Story
Ovarian, uterine, cervical, and other gynecological cancers are among the most common cancers affecting women. However, they are not very well known by the general public nor by policy-makers and other stakeholders. Women themselves may be unaware of the (sometimes vague) symptoms or may be too embarrassed to consult a doctor, and a stigma associated with these diagnoses lingers.
ENGAGe (the European Network of Gynaecological Cancer Advocacy Groups), part of ESGO (European Society of Gynaecological Oncology), was well aware of the need to improve awareness on gynecological cancers and decided to establish a special day for this, involving women, caregivers, doctors, policy-makers and pharmaceutical companies.
Thus, World Gynecologic Oncology Day (World GO Day) was born.
World GO Day: five cancers, one logo and one color
The first step was to design a logo that could symbolize the five gyne cancers. This was soon done by merging a sketch of the female reproductive organs and the cancer ribbon and coloring it with five hues: teal for ovarian, pale pink for uterine, fuchsia for cervix, light purple for vulvar, and French blue for vaginal.
Dark purple was selected as one color to represent all of others. It now appears on t-shirts, balloons, pins, social media posts, and other materials produced for World GO Day year after year.
2019: the first World Gynecologic Oncology Day
On September 20, 2019, the first-ever World Gynecologic Oncology Awareness Day (World GO Day) was launched with the slogan “GOfor…Awareness, Action, Hope, Life”.
That first World GO Day focused on raising awareness and highlighting the risk factors, symptoms, early detection, and prevention strategies related to the main types of gynecological cancers that impact women: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar.
Women were invited to learn more about the symptoms and risk of gynecological cancers, to spread this awareness to their networks, and to act by planning a visit to their doctor. #GOfor became the official hashtag of World GO Day and remained for the following years.
That year, 33 patient advocacy groups from 22 countries in Europe and Asia joined the celebrations with sporting events: games involving caregivers, health workers, survivors, and supporters were organized. The activities produced a tide of photos that flooded ENGAGe’s social media pages. In addition to those sporting events, a list of other initiatives was organized in each country, going from meetings between doctors and patients, to scientific workshops on gynecological cancers, to gynecological cancer information points in hospitals.
All these activities produced an impressive number of contacts, a good result considering this was the first World GO Day. The social media campaigns on the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages produced a total of 20,000,000 impressions, a total reach of 16,000,000, and coverage on 23 traditional media channels. A good beginning!
2020: the second World Gynecologic Oncology Day
In the last months of 2019, while celebrating the success of the first World GO Day, nobody doubted that the second event would be an uninterrupted series of initiatives and events, just like the previous one. But in those days, nobody knew about COVID-19.
When ENGAGe started planning the second World GO Day, the total impact of the pandemic was clearly revealed and it left only one possibility: to adapt all activities for physical distancing and public safety by going digital.
First, an interactive map of activities was launched on the World GO Day website, showing all activities being organized in different countries. In total, 42 activities were added. The website was also a repository of information on gynecological cancers and a referral point for all social media activities. Contacts with ENGAGe members were improved by a dedicated newsletter prompting them to participate in World GO Day and providing practical information. Then visuals for social media posts were created using the color purple and other special icons.
Second, people around the world were encouraged to raise awareness about gynecological cancers and support patients by wearing something purple or painting their lips and nails in purple and then sharing their photos on social media with the hashtag #GoForPurple. The resulting purple lips were a big success, and ENGAGe has nominated them to be a stable symbol of this celebration.
The 2020 World GO Day main theme was awareness about gynecological cancer symptoms and HPV prevention; therefore, social media posts shared by all participant patient advocacy groups in 25 countries invited women to go for regular check-ups and provided educational information on all five gyne cancers. The hashtags #WorldGODay and #GoForCheckup created a shared conversation on the internet, powered by photos and videos. This enabled ENGAGe to achieve around 9,000,000 impressions and a reach of 7,700,000 on Facebook and Instagram and to increase followers to 18,900. Twitter, in the last 28 days of the campaign, collected 17,400 impressions, 700 profile visits, and 154 mentions. The COVID-19 pandemic curbed celebrations but did not stop the spread of information and awareness. In all, 68 partners, including organizations from 25 countries, celebrated World GO Day 2020.