“I’m Still The Same Person That I Was”: Rikki Stern Says “Fucc It” To Cancer Stereotypes

“I’m Still The Same Person That I Was”: Rikki Stern Says “Fucc It” To Cancer Stereotypes

Charity organisation Cancer Chicks has launched a powerful new brand platform and campaign, FUCC It, empowering young women living with cancer and gathering support from everyday Australians.

“FUCC It”, developed via an integrated partnership between Initiative IMPACT and MBCS, aims to become a cultural catchcry to empower young women not to let cancer, severe chronic illness, or terminal illness define their lives. The deliberately provocative tagline aims to grab attention, build rapport, and generate a sense of liberation for those that Cancer Chicks support.

At the campaign’s core is a 30-second hero video featuring Cancer Chick brand ambassadors Sharni, Rhiannon, and Carlina. These women are all everyday mothers, sisters, friends, and colleagues, but they all have a cancer diagnosis in common and share an inspirational attitude. The powerful videos show the women experiencing a FUCC It moment when they realise the need to escape the confines of their homes, hospitals, and cancer treatment and live life as they want to.

If anyone knows what it’s like to live in battle with Cancer, it’s Rikki Stern. At just 20, Stern was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and had to stop work to undergo chemotherapy, treatments and surgeries. During her recovery process, she connected with several other strong women battling Cancer but found a gap in formal support for people of her age group going through the same journey. With the help of her newfound support network, Stern developed Cancer Chicks, a support community for women aged 18-35 who have been diagnosed with cancer. The group, which now includes a network of over 1000 women around Australia, aims to empower and enhance the lives of young women living with the disease.

Stern, who has officially been cancer free since October last year, told B&T that the campaign is a representation of all that Cancer Chicks stands for. “When it comes to cancer charities, a lot of them depict us, as you know, quite sick and incapable and sad,” she said. “It doesn’t really resonate, it doesn’t make us feel empowered. And it often doesn’t make us feel like we’re represented in media”.

Driven by the desire to depict more than just hospital rooms, pain and treatments, Stern sought to highlight the strength and resilience of the girls involved with Cancer Chicks. “Fucc it was the opportunity to showcase not just the stories of the girls, but the fact that they aren’t just a diagnosis, they have lives beyond their cancer, and they are dancing still and taking new careers and going back to university or starting their lives”.

“For them, it was about having something that says that I’m still the same person that I was; I just went through something a little bit tough”.

Danielle Galipienzo, head of Initiative Impact, said the creative is strong, provocative, and inspiring and needed a wide-reaching media campaign to do it justice. “We invited over 100 media partners to share the Cancer Chicks story, including personal anecdotes from Cancer Chicks members and asking for their media support in bringing this campaign and the essence of FUCC It to life”.

“The immediate response and support we saw was phenomenal and has resulted in significant exposure across all major channels and some amazing tactics to give the campaign even more colour and impact. We are humbled by the industry getting behind the cause and couldn’t be more thankful for their support”.

Marshall Campbell, general manager of MBCS, said the team knew a provocative idea was needed to cut through charity clutter and empower these remarkable young women, who, despite their diagnosis, don’t want to be seen as different or treated differently. “There is something liberating in saying, ‘ F*&% It, I’m doing it anyway, ‘” and that became the basis of CC’s new brand platform, which encourages young women to ‘Be Who You Are, Cancer or Not. ‘

“The concept revolves around showcasing the remarkable achievements of Cancer Chicks. FUCC It emerges as a guiding attitude for these women, who simply have not allowed cancer to define them; the videos capture the essence of their resilience and determination,” Marshall said.

The campaign will be brought to life across a multi-channel strategy designed to build rapid cultural awareness and support for Cancer Chicks, with content appearing across Screens, Radio, OOH, Social, Print and more, all further supported and amplified by Influencers, brand ambassadors and PR.

“It’s so much bigger than anything I could have ever imagined, and my team could ever imagine,” Stern told B&T. “I’m very overwhelmed by the support from both the media agency side and the partner side with how generous they’ve been donations and then also with the creative agency MBCs. I don’t know if there is a way to say thank you to them enough. But if I could, I would”. 

FUCC It launches April 24 and runs in market for six weeks.




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