This woman hoped to get 1 retweet to raise breast cancer awareness — instead she got more than 200,000

Elise Solé
Yahoo Beauty
One woman’s request for a retweet ended up raising lot of awareness about breast cancer. (Photo: Getty Images)
One woman’s request for a retweet ended up raising lot of awareness about breast cancer. (Photo: Getty Images)

A woman who asked her followers to retweet a breast cancer meme in honor of her daughter, who is battling the disease, unexpectedly touched the lives of many.

On Sunday, Twitter user Fiona J shared a popular meme by Worldwide Breast Cancer called #KnowYourLemons, which shows how breast cancer can look in different people, as illustrated by a carton of lemons. “Tweeting this because my young daughter is fighting breast cancer,” she wrote. “If it gets 1 retweet it might save a life.”

However, during the next 48 hours, the post by the mother — who lives in England — was retweeted 217,000 times and received thousands of messages from breast cancer survivors, loved ones of patients, and those who were motivated by Fiona to conduct their own breast exams. The creator of the #KnowYourLemons campaign even responded, thanking the mom for spreading breast cancer awareness.

Fiona J did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

The #KnowYourLemons campaign was launched by Corrine Ellsworth-Beaumont, a 38-year-old single mom in Mesa, Arizona, who lost both of her grandmothers to breast cancer. “After my second grandmother died in 2003, I realized that prevention was something I needed to know,” Ellsworth-Beaumont tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

At the time, Ellsworth-Beaumont was studying for her masters in fine art and design, and she began brainstorming a concept that would resonate. “Since breasts are sexualized in our culture and cancer is associated with death, I realized that my message would essentially be ‘sex death,’ which wouldn’t work in conservative parts of the country,” she says. “There’s also the fact that 20 percent of people in the U.S. have literacy problems, so I needed a grabby image and it couldn’t be scary.”

One day, while sitting in church, Ellsworth-Beaumont suddenly came up with lemons. “They’re bright and friendly, and if you cut them navel to navel, they resemble the interior of the breast,” she explains.

Last January, when an emoji breast cancer meme went viral on Facebook, so did the #KnowYourLemons campaign, reaching 170 million people on social media. Ellsworth-Beaumont, who is the only person in the world to hold a PhD in graphic design and breast cancer communication, is now raising money on Kickstarter for an app that guides women through breast exams and helps them recognize the symptoms of the disease.

“If everyone who retweeted the meme donated a dollar to our cause,” says Ellsworth-Beaumont, “we could help save so many more lives.”

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