Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Cartoon Characters Go Bald" - Inspiring Ways To Support Children With Cancer

Source: NPR; Ogilvy Brazil
An initiative that began in Brazil has now gone global, thanks to the creative way it inspires empathy for children facing battles with cancer. Hair loss due to chemotherapy can be particularly difficult for students who now must endure the stares of strangers and the questions of classmates.

In response, cartoon characters are "going bald" to show affinity and kinship with these courageous children. This month, artists of some of the most popular cartoons around the world are drawing their leading figures with no hair or with a head covering. The surprise by readers is meant to mimic the same expressions of wonder that childhood cancer patients confront everyday. NPR and other outlets have reported on this Bald Cartoons venture, launched by ad firm Ogilvy Brazil and cancer nonprofit GRAACC.

Source: Bald Cartoons
These images are particularly powerful to show in the classroom. They raise thoughtful topics of medicine and science, but even more, they generate authentic conversations about the bravery of young people with cancer. This dialogue fits neatly into a year-long curriculum about stereotypes, appearances, and perceptions.

The drawings also reveal the power of visual imagery. They point to the influence of media, especially in graphic novels and pop culture. The ability for a cartoon to make a difference speaks volumes about the prominence of pictures in today's society. That message alone is an important one to discuss with students. Social media users can download icons to temporarily replace their profile pictures to show solidarity with the cause.

For teachers who may have students diagnosed with cancer, there are a lot of good resources available to figure out how best to support children during their long and painful journeys. Especially important is making students feel welcomed upon returning to school and making them feel like their classmates still see them as "themselves."
Finally, the BBC recently reported on a clever new online game that teaches children about their cancer. Developed by HopeLab, the game is called "Re-Mission2," and the six interactives play like real video games, based in the terminology and enemy cells of cancer. Check out the video below for more information.


  1. Our school is having a St. Baldrick's fundraiser today, so this post fits perfectly. Thank you!

  2. interesting and amazing article this will help in my research as i am doing on Cartoon Characters with Mental Disorder - funklist thanks for sharing


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