Dear American Cancer Society

ACSBuildingDear American Cancer Society,

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 ACSSalem2011Relaychildren 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 ACSATLpacecarsthan 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 Goldribbon9“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.

2013-american-cancer-societys-centennial-galaAs 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 ACSchildthis 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,
Jenn Kramer

Actual letter from Jenn Kramer, Illustrations by Joe Baber

Related Stores: Opinions Tab Above, American? Cancer Society


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9 Responses to Dear American Cancer Society

  1. evelyn davee says:

    I have been followimg children with cancer for years. I pray for the children and their families. I have watched as children were lost to their families and destroyed by the deaths of their babies. Something has to give! We need help for these babies and the lives destroyed daily by childhood cancer.

  2. Travis Robinson says:

    My son has battled brain cancer two times now and we are now battling it a third time with little to no chances of success. I am heart broken and angered to see organizations like the American Cancer Society use children’s pictures and then actually use less than 4% of their donations for childhood cancer research. Sure, go ahead and spend hundreds of thousands on a NASCAR sponsor, God forbid any if that goes to sponsor childhood cancer. Shame on you!!! Even the White House turned pink in October to support breast cancer but refuses to turn gold in September to bring awareness to childhood cancer. Nice job Barak! I guess I shouldn’t have expected anymore from a Muslim president who is more concerned about boobs than children. As a country we need to help our children, they are the future!

    • Izabella says:

      Turning a cancer post into your own ignorant political rant is just gross. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Tom says:

      How is this the President’s fault? Do you really think he controls the lighting outside the White House? With a potential war looming and the pressure from a day-to-day economic crisis, do you really think that he is out there screwing in the pink bulbs? Furthermore, he is not a Muslim – and what difference would it make if he was one? Have you ever taken the time to speak with an American citizen who is Muslim? Try it sometime – you may be surprised to find that they probably feel pride in America just like you.

      This letter is a response to the allocation of funds by the American Cancer Society to specific subsets of cancer patients. Perhaps, rather than bringing politics into your rhetoric, you should focus on how much the ACS is spending on administrative services and payroll. Yes – non-profit charity groups have employees with salaries and many (especially at the executive level) get paid a considerable amount. Why not focus on that issue?

      I am not the biggest fan of President Obama, but please leave him out of this discourse.

  3. Richelle Devine says:

    No mention of Childhood cancer on their web???? September is Childhood Cancer awareness month. Unbelievable. I think people need to take a stand and do their research before donating to organizations like this. Can you imagine if it was their child that they would advocate only giving less than 4% of the budget toward research for children? I doubt it. 7 Children will die today and 46 will be diagnosed I guess they figure that’s not enough children dying.

  4. becky7274 says:

    Even more sad? In the past 12 months the American Cancer Society chose to stop funding the pediatric oncology camps that they have been backing for many, many years. The official reason is that they want to use the money previously spent on camps, which allow children a brief respite and opportunity to be just a kid, for research. “Technically” the money will go to researching childhood cancers… IF there isn’t more promising research out there. And if there is research that the ACS deems “more promising” then there is nothing we can do to prevent them from diverting those funds from pediatric research. Is is disheartening to know that a group, a group with a far reach and the power to truly make a difference, is choosing to leave behind those who will typically live with cancer and its after-effects the longest.

    If you want to check out some ways to support children fighting this battle, do a search for Camp Can Do Forever, the Children’s Oncology Camping Association International, or THON, or contact your local children’s hospital to see what you can do locally. If the ACS isn’t going to support our kids as they fight, then we all need to!

  5. Janelle says:

    Two of my friends’ families have gone through brain tumors with their children and both were cancerous. Thank God they’ve both survived their surgeries and so far have stayed in remission. I consider them lucky to be so close to Penn State and to the THON/Four Diamonds organizations because they are so well taken care of. The truth is those organizations take much better care of fundraising and research for pediatric cancer than The American Cancer Society could ever hope to do and if you’re interested in donating please look into those organizations.

  6. kris sellers says:

    This was a very nice letter. Sending prayers out to you and your family!

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