We have just passed the halfway point at Day 50 of 99 Days to FASDay! I hope you are enjoying and learning from the tips, quotes and stats shared so far – and with 49 more days to go there is a lot more to cover.
When I decided to do this 99 day journey I didn’t realize how much information in some areas is available, and how little information in other areas is available. I also discovered a lot of really excellent information is copyrighted and so have not been able to share as much as I had hoped. And although I live in Canada, I have tried to share information from different countries and sources. Feel free to comment on any of the posts if you have information from your own country to share – as I update and revise the posts to keep them current. If you notice one has been missed and needs updating, please let us know. And as always, we have attempted to use only reputable sources for information. Always do your own research and talk to professionals.
I was going to wait until September 9 to share the story of FASDay, but then thought if people wanted to be inspired and organize something (no matter how small or large) planning time was required. So I figured the halfway point would be a good time to do that. There is still 7 weeks to go! Feel free to share in the comments below what you are doing, any ideas you have or information you’d like to share! Some of this information is from 2017 (when the original 99 days to 9/9 journey was created), each year I will update the page if necessary leading up to September 9.
Thing are definitely different in 2020 and there may not be many large gatherings, so we may need to be creative this year for International FASD Awareness Day!
So, exactly what is FASDay?
International FASD Awareness Day provides a focussed opportunity for individuals, groups and communities to raise awareness about FASD, to pause, to reflect and to share a message of an alcohol-free pregnancy and prevention across the world.
Did you realize that 2018 marked the 20th FASDay!
It all started one wintry day, when Bonnie Buxton and her husband Brian Philcox were digging out their cars from a great Toronto (Ontario, Canada) snowstorm.
Buxton said, “What if, on the 9th minute of the 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month of the year 1999, we asked the world to remember that during the 9 months of pregnancy, a woman should remain alcohol free?
And, what if we also asked the world to remember those millions of people who will never fulfill their genetic potential, because of prenatal alcohol exposure? At this magic minute in history, could we begin to change the world?”
In One Magic Minute, Buxton, her husband and Teresa Kellerman changed the World when Australia 🇦🇺, Germany 🇩🇪 , Italy 🇮🇹 , South Africa 🇿🇦 , Sweden 🇸🇪 , and the United States of America 🇺🇸 joined Canada 🇨🇦 for the first International FAS Awareness Day: 1999/9/9 9:09 am.
You can find the story of its creation on the FASDay website, with ideas on how to recognize the date. Although the site has not been updated for a few years (which is too bad) the ideas are still relevant.
In 2014 every province and territory in Canada, most states and DC in the USA, along with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Ireland, Northern Ireland, U.K., France, Netherlands, Germany, Lichtenstein, Uruguay, Japan and Taiwan participated. In fact, in 2014 over 42 countries observed FASDay in every time zone around the world.
Check out FASWORLD The website for Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox.
You can also check out Live Abilities by Jodee Kulp which has 60 Days of Ideas.
Another international campaign called Red Shoes Rock to Stop FASD asks people to wear red shoes to raise awareness leading up to FASDay. This grassroots group has free artwork you can use in your social media or even to create a personalized t-shirt. In 2018 the campaign theme was Start the Conversation. In 2019 and 2020 the theme is Be FASD Aware. Check out: Red Shoes Rock to find out more information or check out Red Shoes Rock and 99 Days to FASDay.
Why Red Shoes?
Because Red Shoes are noticeable. Red Shoes are fun. Red Shoes open up the conversation to tell our story or share insight that is needed at the moment. And so I wear my Red Shoes when I am going into difficult places, and I can just say,
“You see my RED SHOES? Well, those shoes remind me of the needs of FASD, that’s prenatal exposure to alcohol. They remind me that right now the PERSON I LOVE needs support and space and time to regroup. It reminds me right now that I WILL PROTECT that person.”
In 2018, one of the Red Shoes Team Ann and her son Mac hope “to travel the world“ in 99 days to give a bigger voice to persons with FASD. Wear your red shoes and take pictures of where in the world you are with Mac’s Body Double.
In the heart spirit of the Flat Stanley, project created by Dale Hubert of Ontario, Canada, Mac hopes to send his body double to tell the story of FASD.
Visit the Red Shoes Rock webpage to find a cutout of Mac!
International Awareness Available in Different Languages
If you are looking for an international awareness campaign with promotional materials available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Japanese, Slovenian, Polish, Czech or Turkish, visit Too Young To Drink. Although the their webpage is not always updated, there is a European FASD Alliance which may post information for Europe.
So what will you be doing September 9 at 9:09 a.m.?
I started my participation in a small way, simply walking a kilometre a day in my red shoes and posting a picture on social media. In 2016 I had an amazing 9 day journey across Canada. I put on my red sneakers in Ontario on September 1 and arrived in B.C. on September 9. I traveled over 900 kilometres, through 5 provinces and 4 time zones wearing my red shoes and sharing my journey across Canada.
In 2017, I created the 99 Days to FASDay campaign for the international community, and from September 1-9, I shared personal reflections:
In 2018, I asked my local council to declare the day.
I did not have a local event to participate in, so I went to Ottawa with my daughter where we met with some other FASD advocates for the first annual Ottawa FASD Walk.
They held one in 2019 and are planning on 2020. Ottawa FASD Walk
In 2019, my daughter (with my help) launched a Redbubble Shop to sell Red Shoes Rock swag. Each year she will donate a percentage of sales to an FASD organization. Last year it was CanFASD, this year it’s the Red Shoes Rock alliance. We just created some face masks you can wear to an event!
For the first time since I started participating in the Red Shoes Rock campaign leading up to International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day, I was working on the day so was not able to participate. However, in 2019 we created an Ontario FASD Action Network as a way to come together in our Province to amplify the concerns and needs of FASD. The Executive met with the Minister of Community, Children and Social Services in August and brought forward an Action Plan. One small step they took immediately was to promote FASD awareness leading up to FASDay.
2020 is sure going to be different. The Red Shoes Rock Team is asking people to paint and hide Red Shoes rocks around the world. You can ask your municipality to declare the Day or your local churches to hold an FASDay: A Bell Concordance or A Minute of Reflection or hold a a virtual walk or run.
I would love to hear what others are planning! Please feel free to comment below or send details to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will include them on this page. You can also find out what is happening by visiting the Red Shoes Rock Facebook page or Our Sacred Breath.
Check back tomorrow as we learn some historical facts about alcohol, pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.