in fact, I will probably piss some people off. At least I am consistent. And have never been one to “hold back”. So, here it goes… .
American Cancer Society….Relay for Life…ACS. I am annoyed. How is it, that a “non-profit” organization has been able to keep America so loyal to them?!?!?!? Are American people just blind, or stupid?!? Now, you may say I am being harsh, but the truth of the matter is, I am TIRED of people supporting an organization that does so LITTLE for children with cancer. And you should be too. I guess I really shouldn’t care where you choose to donate your money. But I am upset and confused as to why OUR school supports Relay for Life. Are you kidding me?!?!? You are having children….who are personally affected, as in HAVING CANCER….participate in an organization that does NOT participate fairly for Children. I mean, let’s get real here. This organization’s slogan is….”Promoting more birthdays”…..SERIOUSLY!! Helping children with cancer is just as important as adult cancers. This shouldn’t be a breast vs. colon vs. brain vs. children, all battling for research dollars. It’s sickening.
But let me explain. American Cancer Society’s top executive vice presidents per region: Donald Gudaitis made $1,686,164 (.18% of budget) in 2013, followed by Jarilyn Johnson Allen, $1,243,660 (.13%) and Donald Distasio at $1,152,329 (.12%). And that’s only the top 3. The salaries paid in 2013 at the American Cancer Society was $494,979,980. Don’t believe me?? Go to cancer.org and look up their latest financial statements on the IRS Form 990. Cancer is BIG business I see. Next, lets look at the breakdown of how your donations to this organization look.
For every $100 you donate, $60 goes to “so-called” program expenses, $34 to “fundraising expenses”, and $6 to administrative costs- or salaries like the above mentioned top vice presidents. So the above % for the executives receive 18, 13, and 12 cents perspectively for each $100 you donate, or help raise. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel that these executives perform such a service that enables them to receive over a million dollars in salary!!! Don’t believe me- investigate yourself. Go to http://www.charitynavigator.org and see for yourself.
Now. On to the kids. ACS has a great reputation for “using” kids to tug at people’s heart strings and get donations. All part of their “fundraising expenses”, of course. BUT….do you realize how much out of that $100 goes to children?!?!?!?! 1 Dollar. 1 Dollar out of every 100 Dollars donated or raised goes to children with cancer. One percent. One lousy percent. And you wonder why I am annoyed that the school that MY cancer child attends supports an organization that only gives kids ONE percent. Really?!?!? Since when did children stop being our future?!?!? Shit, fundraising for that Relay for Life event was worth $34, but my kids life….hmmmmm, let’s give a fucking dollar.
But let me further explain why my family and I do NOT support ACS or Relay for Life. They are a poor non-profit rating agency. There is a reason they score only 2 stars out of 4 on charity navigator. Their financials are terrible. And they would score only one star, but they are very open and honest about their financial books. That’s because people don’t care. They go with what they have always done. We walk in the Relay for Life because we are a survivor. Just because you are a survivor doesn’t mean you have to walk in this relay. In fact, stand up, and boycott these events that have poor ratings. Find an organization that is fiscally responsible with YOUR donations.
Bigger is NOT always better. Sure, ACS is one of the top fundraisers (alongside Susan G. Komen) in America….but only because of ONE reason. Because they spend so much money on fundraising advertisement, their name is publicly known. They are investing your donations into advertisement dollars…..I guess when I think of cancer foundations and research, I think that MY money is going for just that….NOT to exploit and get MORE donations. USE your resources better. Let me give you one comparison, of how a non-profit should be ran. St. Baldrick’s raised $39,176,795 dollars last year,of which $28,726,542 went to research grants. That equates to 73.3% or $73 of your $100 donation being used for research grants. American Cancer Society had $143,954,418 in grants for 2013. There revenue for 2013 was $919,529,774. That equates to 15.6% or $15 of your $100 donation being used for research grants. A much bigger portion of the American Cancer Society is for their “programs”….that are designed to help the cancer patient and their caregivers. These programs receive approximately $45 of your $100 donation. These programs include cancer prevention with online healthy topics and online support programs, breast cancer support, TLC Hair-Loss and Mastectomy support, Hope Lodge, and Rides to Treatment.
So, let’s break this down and clarify one thing…..no matter how you “paint” this….the school that MY daughter, along with two other children who battle cancer, are having a Relay for Life “kick off” Friday May 15th to encourage and promote participation. I think it is great that the “kick off” is educating our youth about various healthy habits that they can do to prevent cancer….obviously, we need prevention and education, and what better way than in the schools. BUT. Why do we need to keep feeding our youth the idea that the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life are a noble charity that is fiscally responsible….something they can depend on. Seriously???? We are teaching our young to NOT look past the ACS banner…..what is ACS going to do for them? Or how about the children who are actually battling cancer in the district???
All three children who are battling cancer, have Brain Cancer. And guess what?!?!?! May is National Brain Tumor/Cancer Awareness Month. How does the ACS contribute to this??? Pitifully, considering that the American Cancer Society’s yearly revenue is 1 BILLION dollars!!!! ONE BILLION….
I know that American Cancer Society does DO some good things. That is NOT the point of my writings. My point is to make people open their eyes to what they are actually getting with their donations. Not to just blindly donate because the masses do.
Do your research…..want to support breast cancer? How about the Breast cancer research foundation….a four star charity. Or breastcancer.org Or the Chicago based Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. ALL four star charities. How about colon cancer? Well, the Colon Cancer Alliance is another four star charity. For kids with cancer my top charities are: stbaldricks.org, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, CureSearch, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Rally Foundation, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, Bear Necessities based out of Chicago, Jeff Gordon Foundation, Cookies for Kids Cancer…..all four star charities.
And then there are the charities that are small…..but worthy. They do not qualify for star ranking because their revenue is not at least one million dollars….but that doesn’t mean they are not a great organization. It just means they have not developed to the point to be rated. One such great organization is Project Purple, which supports another highly underfunded cancer….pancreatic cancer. Or, you can go local…..my fellow cancer fighting friends have a locally run organization for children with cancer called AshleyCan.org I am sharing all of this easily accessible information so that YOU can’t say, “I didn’t know”. There is more out there that does GREAT things….not just ACS.
And if you are looking for a one size fits all….you don’t want to discriminate against a breast, brain, colon, prostate, or kid…..then look into organizations like Stand Up 2 Cancer or the Entertainment Industry Foundation….it has been around since 2008 and focuses on ALL cancers…..not just one. (They are doing great things with St. Baldrick’s for children using immunotherapy.)
Lastly, I want to tell you about my experience with American Cancer Society. It was when Zayla first relapsed back in 2007, and again just recently this past fall. I went to the hospital branch of ACS at University of Chicago to see about getting help for parking. That’s what I was told they were there for….to help with parking vouchers and to assist woman with wigs. I was flat out told “no” that they could not assist with parking vouchers because the patient was not old enough to drive. Duh, how do you think she is getting to these radiation and doctor appointments?!?!?
So there you have it. My rant. Definitely going to irritate people……but damn it, I AM irritated. I don’t want my cancer fighting daughter participating in events that basically give her the big middle finger when it comes to equal opportunity funding. She is worth way MORE than one damn dollar. Thank you very much.
If my life wasn’t so ridiculously busy, I would LOVE to set up a “Walk on the Wild Side for Life” that donates ALL the money raised to be given to survivor programs, and research that is designed to be a gentle “forever cure”. That’s what we need. A way for those who find the need to walk the survivor lap to do so with confidence and the reassurance that overpaid executives and advertisements are NOT getting donations on their behalf. But I don’t feel my daughter has to “walk” that survivor lap….she walks it everyday, with her head held high. And ironically, when I opened my mail today, there was Zayla’s invitation to our local Relay for Life survivor event. Thank you, but no thank you ACS. We will not be participating again this year.
Fighting for a “Forever Cure”