F*CK CAN­CER: rais­ing mon­ey for can­cer research

Exhibited by
Rob Woods
November 12, 2014
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Individuals - mainly young
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

This story from the 2014 I Wish I’d Thought of That shows great courage on behalf of the founders. It also shows so well that they know their audience. They know that they will not be shocked or put off by, seeming, vulgarity. Again: if you know your donors and talk to them in language they use themselves, they will thank you for it by fighting for your cause with you.

Julie Greenbaum, co-founder

Summary / objectives

To help young people get involved in raising money for cancer research by hosting large events of up to a thousand people. Entrance to each event is by wearing a t-shirt, rather than a ticket, that reads ‘FUCK CANCER’ in various colours that represent various different cancer ribbons.  


F*CK CANCER inwykiwyk™ is a new and innovative movement to unite the younger generation against a disease that has affected too many lives.

INWYKIWYK inc.™ an acronym (It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know) embodies the notion that, in life, we gain strength from the people we know and the relations that we establish around us. By throwing charity events F*CK CANCER create an opportunity for people to connect and gain support through meeting other individuals experiencing the same fight against cancer.

F*CK CANCER’s international efforts began in Montreal in 2010, by co-founder Julie Greenbaum, as a tribute to her mother who lost her life to ovarian cancer on 9 January 2010. After an extremely uncomfortable and invasive biopsy, several weeks before she died, a nurse came into the room and asked Julie’s mother, Jone, ‘So, how are you doing?’ to which she replied with resolve and anger,  ‘How am I doing? This is a walk in the park for me… F*CK CANCER!’

Influence / impact

 F*CK CANCER’S efforts have not only raised considerable funds for research, but also have provided an avenue for the younger generation to fight back against cancer in a fun and unique way.

Money raised goes directly to major cancer research facilities, including, so far, Segal Cancer Center of the Jewish General Hospital, in Montreal, Canada, and UCLA’S Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.


This deserves to be on SOFII because: 

  • It  reminds us to make sure we speak in the tone and language that is most real and powerful for our target market, rather than worrying whether it will offend people who are not our part of it. Your job is not to keep complaints down, it’s to connect with people who do care in the strongest possible way.
  • It reminds us that you can persuade very effectively by understanding who your audience’s enemies are, literally or metaphorically, and showing that you feel just as strongly as they do. In One Sentence Persuasion, author Blair Warren advises us that:
‘People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.’

F*UCK CANCER, more strongly than any charity I’ve ever heard of, immediately signals to my nervous system, that they throw rocks at My Enemy. And so unless I’m offended by their vulgarity, how I feel about cancer becomes validated, and I am already likely to say yes, even without having heard anything more about them.

All too often fundraisers talk about what their charity does, whereas great fundraising tends to first talk about what they’re up against – the problem they seek to overcome – before going into any explanation of the solution or impact.

SOFII's I Wish I'd Thought Of That London 2014 - Rob Woods talks about the work of F*ck Cancer

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It all started with two little words printed on a T-shirt.
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Entrance to events is in the form of wearing a bought T-shirt rather than a ticket.
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This charity speaks in a tone and with language suitable to its target market.