To raise awareness about interstitial cystitis and chronic pelvic pain for patients, providers and the community around the world. Why? Some patients are still being told that IC isn’t real or is all in their heads. Despite more than $100 million dollars in research, most medical care providers (especially ER staff) still lack knowledge about IC. Patients often struggle to find any health care. This campaign empowers and educates those patients AND gives them high quality written materials that will help educate doctors in their nation and community as well.
IC Awareness Month History
According to Barbara Flanigan, the founder of the ICA of America (the original ICA based in San Diego, CA), IC Awareness first began in the early 1980’s as a day in November. After a few years and challenges with the holiday season, it was moved to a day in October and eventually became IC Awareness Week. Ten years ago, Ortho Urology (i.e. Elmiron) managed the entire campaign by using very good marketing companies.
There were two key challenges with that arrangement. IC Awareness Week almost always centered around the promotion of Elmiron. The month of October and the limited media space for health awareness was dominated by the pink breast cancer awareness campaign. About six years ago, Ortho dropped all IC Awareness activities and no other company or non-profit (i.e. ICA) stepped in to develop a campaign. The IC Network stepped in to run the campaign the following year.
The first thing we did was to discuss the timing of the campaign. We all agreed that October was a terrible month for awareness given the market saturation of breast cancer articles and activities. We asked patients to pick a better month and the majority agreed that September was an ideal time to do it! There were fewer health campaigns that month than other months and, with students returning to school, we thought that volunteers would have more time to get involved
The second thing that we did was expand the campaign from a week to a month to create plenty of opportunities for patients to be involved.