Why I’m Not Running For The Cure This Year


CIBC Run for the Cure Ron Sombilon Gallery (72)

CIBC Run for the Cure Ron Sombilon Gallery (72) by SOMBILON ART, MEDIA and PHOTOGRAPHY, on Flickr

At this time in years past, this blog has been adorned with pink badges and pleas for money. I was very successful in raising funds from my generous friends. But this year, I’m not doing it. Here’s why.

Everything I wrote in the blog post I linked to above is completely true. I am very grateful that my friend Holly was able to get a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I am very grateful that my mother found her lump in time to be able to live almost twenty years afterwards (and then die of something else). It’s a tragedy that my son’s yearbook is filled with motherless kids, because there’s a mini-epidemic of breast cancer going on in my community.

But I can’t stand the pink anymore.

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how uncomfortable I am with the amount of pinkwashing going on. Everybody and his brother sticks a pink ribbon on their product, and we, the consumers, have no way of knowing how much of that money actually goes to help cancer patients.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation says:

Our Cost of Fundraising

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is dedicated to finding the optimal balance between dollars invested in grants and other cause-related work, and dollars spent on fundraising and other necessary expenditures. Our goal is to maximize our cause-related spending.

The Foundation’s cost of fundraising is 35.8%. Our fundraising costs are on par with most other charities of the similar size, scope and fundraising focus.

This makes me feel ashamed that I accepted gifts in the past as a reward for being such a good fundraiser. I’m sure those gifts (a nice gym bag, a gift certificate to The Running Room, even a lovely pink pearl pendant that I treasure) came out of that 35.8%.

This month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I’ve been spreading the word about my friend’s son (who is now officially engrafted! Yay!), about supporting CancerCare Manitoba. I will continue to do all of these things.

Last year I enjoyed my run very much, and I enjoyed the swag bag and the t-shirt and the music and the balloons and all the rest of it. I love the running tights I was able to get for cheap at The Running Room (where nothing is cheap). I don’t regret any of those things. But I can’t do them anymore.

I will donate directly to the various body-part societies (my friend Tina is campaigning for The Canadian Liver Foundation after a long and arduous recovery from Hepatitis C), and I will encourage everyone else to do so as well. But no more pink for me.

What do you think?

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9 Responses to “Why I’m Not Running For The Cure This Year”

  1. Holly Jahangiri Says:

    I don’t know… 35.8% may actually be low, and I’d rather you enjoyed your swag than think my donations were going to pay a for-profit telemarketing firm, like this:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-12/charities-deceive-donors-unaware-money-goes-to-a-telemarketer.html

    *sigh*

    Probably pays to check out your favorite charities here:
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/

    I see the score for the American Cancer Society is pretty average and lower than in previous years. I’m not thrilled by that, though I do personally know people they’ve helped and who are happy to donate. And their color is purple – they’re not limited to breast cancer research, but concerned with all forms of cancer, including childhood cancer.

    I was happy to see one of my favorite charities on the front page of the TOP scoring charities there! And it’s LOCAL. And J, W, and I have volunteered time there – so that makes it even better:

    Houston Food Bank
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=5673#.UjdrfD8RPEM

    They are very efficiently run, clean, and fun to work with. Maybe I’ll devote my efforts there, this coming year.
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…“Hello, Gorgeous…” Impersonated on FacebookMy Profile

  2. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    I’m pretty sure all of the really big charities use telemarketers, Holly. They are businesses, after all. Don’t get me wrong, I liked my swag. I’m not going to stop using my gym bag or not wear my pink pearl. That would make no sense. But I just feel that there are better ways I can contribute to the well-being of others. I think it is fabulous that your local food bank came out looking so good. Go for it!

  3. Cathy Itscovich Says:

    Several years ago I volunteered as a coordinator for the Canadian Cancer Society’s spring door to door campaign. I lived in St Francois Xavier at the time and they had never had a campaign there. It was quite a bit of work and they kept telling me how thrilled they were with the work that I did. A few months after that I got a call from them inviting me to a volunteer appreciation dinner at the Fairmont. I was surprised because that is not why I was volunteering. I declined the invitation and told them that I didn’t want the money I worked so hard to raise being spent on a fancy dinner. I have not volunteered for them since. I will make donations but I will not volunteer.

  4. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    I hear you, Cathy … I finally unsubscribed from the Breast Cancer Foundation’s mailing list when they sent me more and more rewards and enticements … these corporations don’t understand why people volunteer.

  5. Marci Says:

    I have mixed feelings about the large organizations and have not taken the time to research how the money is spent. There are plenty of opportunities to give locally. Your religious community will know of families in need or you can find stories in your local paper. You can donate to the local animal shelter or your alma mater. You can give gifts of time, clothes, toys and food. If you have limited means, these may be better options and give you a stronger feeling of connection to the recipient. There are too many needs and not enough money. If you don’t want to pay for marketing and swag, your money will be very much appreciated in these other places.

    Full Disclosure: Our kids do participate in Relay for Life and there is a lot of pressure for them to raise funds. I admit, we fall prey to that pressure, but I believe that is the only non-local donation we make.

  6. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    There’s nothing wrong with participating and fundraising for Relay for Life, especially for kids. They seem to have better numbers than CBCF. Regardless, you are right, of course. The Talmud says that the poor of your own city come first! But I did support an indiegogo for a philanthropic coffee roaster in Laos … just because ;-).

  7. jim Says:

    Rick Simpson hemp oil to treat cancer..not pharmaceuticals..

  8. Dave Michaud Says:

    I understand what you’re saying Hadass. I’ve donated to ACS (American Cancer Society) on behalf of too many friends wearing too much pink or purple. As long as they are running, walking, paddling or pedaling I’ll donate as long as it isn’t for “Susan G. Komen for the cure”.

    I over-think everything in life but choose not to on this. I don’t care what they spend the money on, I’m grateful to support a friend coming out the other side. Color me wasteful rather than pink 🙂

  9. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Hi Dave, I’ve done the same just this week. A friend is Running for the Cure in memory of a lovely young woman who died two years ago. I’m supporting my friend because grief needs an outlet, and I want to help my friend feel good. We have all kinds of different reasons for doing what we do.

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