Good evening. I have always been appreciative of the work and research that the American Cancer Society funds. While I have always researched the organizations I support, it was not until recently that I decided to dig a little deeper into how and where the American Cancer Society divides the funds they receive. I have sponsored and participated in Relay for Life with the thought that I was helping support many of the children whose faces you plaster on the ads you run. I have had many friends face breast cancer and so far are winning the battle, a grandfather who battled lung cancer and understandably did not win, a biological father who faced colon cancer and due to various other medical conditions, lost his fight. While I have shed tears, been angry, sad and mad about each of the people I know who have had to face this horrible disease, none of them have brought me to my knees like I have been for the past 18 months.
You see, 18 months ago (tomorrow, September 2, actually) my best friend of 24 years and her husband heard the words no parent ever wants to hear, “Your child has a tumor and we believe it is cancer.” I live clear across the country from them and could do little other than offer phone calls, prayers, support and donations to organizations that are supposed to be helping find a cure for her son. At the end of May, we celebrated a little and breathed easier because we got a remission call, he still had treatments scheduled and they followed all protocol for those treatments.
And then the hammer fell two weeks ago. He fell and his leg broke. All of a sudden, it’s wait, the cancer is back. I stopped breathing for a minute, yelled at an empty room, at God and whoever else I could find and just yell. Then, a little later, I set my resolve to help them fight. I waited a day to call them, to make sure my mind was in the right place and to give them some space.
So, I started my digging. I researched to find where best to help by donating. I did it so that my precious TWO AND HALF year old nephew can live to celebrate birthdays like you advertise. I am saddened and angered this evening on the first night of Childhood Cancer Awareness that there is no mention of it on your website, that there is not “advertising” from ACS of childhood cancer awareness on social media, that your Facebook page does not mention Childhood Cancer Awareness, that the pace car tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway stayed pink, not gold. Please don’t misunderstand me, I respect the fight against breast cancer, but it is not the only cancer out there affecting families.
As I dug, I realized that none of this should shock me because you are not donating sizable amounts of money to pediatric research, in fact if my numbers calculate correctly, it is getting less than 4% of the money that is given out. If they don’t survive cancer, this population actually stands to miss the largest number of birthdays!
Please respect the children and families that are fighting this battle. Kids are not simply mini-adults who can handle the same medication. Heck we won’t even let them have real cough and cold medication until they are almost six, because we know simply a smaller dose is not correct for kids. Yet, we hand out similar chemotherapy and radiation protocol to kids as we give adults who are battling cancer. I wanted to believe childhood cancer was rare, but 36 new cases a day and seven deaths each day is not rare! Help us support this battle, use your resources, turn your pages gold this month to show you care for kids, help fight in congress to get bills passed and money for our tiniest of victims. Don’t just use the young faces in advertising to get more money. Give them more money so they can live, grow, celebrate birthdays, and become the next generation of researchers in science to help cure it all.
Thank you for your time.
A hopeful and determined aunt,
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