July 11, 2012
A Record-Breaking Hepatitis Campaign?
by Lauren Tuck
The World Hepatitis Alliance hopes its awareness event will make the Guinness Book of World Records.
Amid the many outlandish and seemingly pointless achievements in the Guinness Book of World Records are a handful of inspiring feats: an around-the-world voyage on a solar-powered boat, the oldest woman to go paragliding (104 years old), and most money raised by an individual for charity through head shaving ($121,000), to name a few.
Hoping to add its name to the Guinness annals of awesome accomplishments is the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), a coalition that’s partnered with the World Health Organization and made up of 140 hep B and C advocacy groups in 61 countries. Its goal? To have the most people performing the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” actions in 24 hours at multiple venues around the world. In this case, the 24 hours will transpire on July 28, which also marks World Hepatitis Day.
The “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” proverb generally refers to those who deal with problems by refusing to acknowledge them. The pictorial maxim is also known as the three wise monkeys. The primates are: Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.
WHA recognizes that around the world, hepatitis is being ignored. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is widely referred to as the “silent epidemic” because in its early stages the virus is typically mild and rarely diagnosed. It often is not recognized until it has caused severe cirrhosis of the liver. But getting tested and diagnosed early make the chronic illness more manageable. Despite the fact that hep B and C currently affect nearly 500 million people worldwide, awareness of the virus is low. But that’s where this record-breaking campaign comes in.
“We wanted to create an event that could be participated in by anyone around the world and that would inspire people to come together to raise awareness of viral hepatitis,” said Karine Belondrade, the coordinator for French speaking countries at WHA. “Whether communities are based in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas or Australasia—the world record is something that can inspire anyone, anywhere.”
Another semi-related World Record non sequitur: Internationally speaking, the most people to do jumping jacks in 24 hours is 300,265 at 1,050 locations worldwide as part of the “Let’s Jump!” event organized by National Geographic Kids and First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity.
WHA believes that a record attempt is about setting a seemingly impossible goal and showing the determination around the world to achieve it. “Anyone can identify with a record attempt, no matter where they’re from, what language they speak, or how old they are,” Belondrade said.
Although participating in the record attempt is a bit of an undertaking, many of WHA’s global partners and non-affiliated groups are standing by. From New Zealand and Malaysia to Seattle and Jacksonville, people are banding together to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”
One such group is the Hepatitis Outreach Society of Nova Scotia. Colin Green, its executive director, explained why they are participating: “Each year for World Hepatitis Day we are challenged with how to reach as many people as possible. When the Guinness Record attempt was announced by the World Hepatitis Alliance, it gave us a perfect opportunity to bring our message to where the crowds are—Halifax Waterfront during the height of tourist season—and have a fun way of getting the crowd involved while we deliver our message. The activity also easily lends itself to being filmed and posted to YouTube to raise awareness of hepatitis, HepNS and how hepatitis affects Nova Scotians.”
Charles Gore, president of WHA, agrees: “This is our chance to shine a spotlight on hepatitis, our opportunity to gain recognition for the disease on a global level. And what better way to do this than by setting a Guinness World Record for hepatitis?”
Interested? Intrigued? Has it been your lifelong dream to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records? Or maybe acting like a monkey is your thing. Either way, here’s how you get involved:
For instructions and rules to organize a group of your own, click here.
Good luck, have fun and get tested!
Search: Hepatitis, Hep C, World Hepatitis Alliance, Guinness Book of World Records,
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