EDITORIAL: Awareness alone will not save lives

by Elijah Morlett

The world is much bigger when you stand at your tallest and remain under a foot high. While a squirrel may be agile and have more abilities than some other animals, the squirrel’s small size makes a difference.

The obstacles that are faced in the daily activities of acorn gathering and tree loving are intensified, yet still enjoyable.

Simple activities make up the daily life of a squirrel. Run around, get shelter and find food.

All is well until the Texas hunting season begins. Then, it becomes a game of survival where the odds are against the squirrels.

Can you imagine a time where you are a small, cute rodent that is happily eating a peanut and, out of nowhere, you are blown up by a shotgun blast?

This is one of the messages that squirrel appreciation groups nationwide are trying to send to the country. This month has been observed as Squirrel Awareness Month, a time for squirrel-lovers to raise concerns and appreciate their furry little friends.

If you had no idea that October was Squirrel Awareness Month, then you are in the same boat as me. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, Feral Hog “Hog Out” Month, National AIDS Awareness Month, National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Month, and National Bullying Prevention Month.

So many causes have sprung in years past. Ranging from spiritual-based platforms to medical concerns, there is a designated time or organization pushing to help someone or something in the world.

According to the Oklahoma Blood Institute, one blood donation can save three lives, although only 10 percent of eligible donors actually give blood. Both Cameron University’s Student Housing and ROTC have utilized volunteers to get individuals to donate blood.

The local Marie Detty Youth and Family Service Center, a non-profit that provides services such as Youth and Women’s shelters, needed to redo a playground that the children in the shelter actively use. CU’s Sociology Club donated supplies and labor to help the organization.

Last month was Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. According to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, this cancer causes an average of over 14,000 deaths per year. The local chapter of Sigma Alpha Omega hosted events to raise ovarian cancer awareness during September.

The local Alpha Phi chapter hosts a formal every year known as the “Red Dress Gala,” raising funds and awareness for heart disease in women. The Alpha Phi Foundation pushes for studies on heart diseases and donates the Heart to Heart grant that funds research and educational programs.

Each of these endeavors only covers a tiny fraction of the many causes that exist in the world. This puts a shift into the perspective of support: What does it mean when someone says, “I support this issue?”

This world, whether or not we realize it, thrives on community service. So many positive events occur with the help of volunteers and donations.

The extra mile taken to truly being involved in philanthropy aids millions of individuals around the world.

So, if you say, “Support the Troops,” go beyond wearing a yellow ribbon. Operation Homefront and the Yellow Ribbon Fund could use help in aiding our service members returning home from war.

If you want to help those affected by cancer, form a group for the annual Relay for Life or the Spirit of Survival events. Both events raise funds to aid cancer research and education.

If you do not want squirrels to get blown up, advocate for squirrel safety next October, or maybe every day until the next Squirrel Awareness Month.

The world can thrive on volunteerism and philanthropy. It is time for more people to go beyond just saying they support a cause.

Go out and save or help a life. In the end, it will only benefit the future for all.

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