Today thousands showed their support for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity by going on a 14 mile walk (or 5 mile) between their Chelsea and Sutton hospitals. As part of the celebrations my other half got involved as part of The Goldsmiths team. It’s events like this when people have the opportunity to unite, in order to stand up for what they believe in. In the case of the Marsden March, join those who have been touched by cancer and support the progression of medical research. Everyone has their reasons.
Apart from acting as chauffeur at the start and end of the event, I didn’t take part in the march today. Although cheekily joined in with the celebrations at the end! The whole event did make me think deeper why-we-do-what-we-do.
Why bother taking part or taking action? Most days on the way to work I walk past Downing Street, often making my way through the various protests on the opposite side of the road. For the last couple of weeks the post has been well-served by Ukrainians urging David Cameron to take action against Russia, whilst warning against the possibility of World War 3 and the insanity of Putin. I respect the efforts of the Ukrainians, their friendliness to Londoners walking past who ask questions and their sheer determinism to see change. It’s political activism like this that keeps the world spinning and, similar to the Marsden March, I find it all very inspiring.
The answer to the ‘why bother?’ question is probably dedication. The cynic inside whispers that despite protesters standing at their post, braving the elements and creating colourful materials, the government is probably not going to listen. After all, they are just the voices of about 30 people, of about 63 million in the UK. The possibility of success is low and the complexity of the situation is high, yet their dedication is relentless. The United States Postal Service doesn’t have an official mission statement but many quote the inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York which reads,
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”
A grand statement! This is dedication. The last time I visited New York I was 5 years old, the inscription means a lot more to me now at 24. I wonder if it could be applied in a communications agency context?
“Neither lack of coffee nor time of day nor loss of IT stays these practitioners from the swift completion of their communications programmes”
Why bother? As a promise has been made and now the task must be fulfilled. No matter how bleak a situation is, the solution is to keep going. I can imagine hikes and marathons are similar, it’s a march for what you believe in. It takes patience to complete, agility to keep going and the foundational belief that actions are for the greater good.