you’d think that especially now, with the second go-round we’re dealing with for mom, i’d be all about that whole, “pink ribbon/find a cure” crowd. that i’d have pink ribbon shirts and a pink ribbon on my car, or at the very least, put a pink ribbon on my logo or *something*.
and i’ll tell you why. because it doesn’t do anything. it doesn’t help anyone. ok, well, at least, in my opinion it doesn’t. i mean, i’m sure for some women (and men) out there, seeing their friends and loved ones wearing pink, or participating in pink-themed charity runs, or seeing their pictures on facebook tinged pink, gives them a tangible view that they are supported.
but you know what does far more for to support them? actually supporting them. like so many of y’all have done for me and my family. y’all just don’t know what it means to us to see you helping me get fresh produce to mom. this is something that is actually, really, helping her.
there are a lot of breast cancer charities out there that say they’re going to do something to help people in her situation. and i’m sure there are a great number of them that do. for example, the several different charities that gave mom wigs to wear. but there are some who just seem to collect and collect and collect money, but never seem to have enough to do any real good for anyone.
we have one very large one here in the woodlands; the “breast cancer charities of america” or “igopink.” i looked into them a lot the first time mom got sick, because like millions of other americans, having never needed to know what help was available or what help we’d even need, i had a lot of questions. i spent a lot of time on their website, and was incredibly disappointed to see how little help they actually offer people. the amount of help they offer any one patient is limited to $1,000 per calendar year (which, when i first looked into them, was only $500), there are only five days per month in which they accept applications, you don’t find out if they’ll even help you for another ten days after the end of that period, the help is limited to specific types of payments which they will only make directly to the billing companies and does not include telephone services, groceries, or transportation (source). now, giving them the benefit of the doubt, i thought, well, of course they have to limit it; i mean, the less they give each person, the more people they can help, right? and they’re here in the woodlands, so that still seemed more promising than say, the susan g komen foundation, since they’re in dallas. plus, they’re actually helping patients, not “fighting for a cure,” whatever that means. and, the bcca raises tens of millions of dollars every year, and so many people i know say they’re great people. right?
well. imagine my surprise when i look at their tax returns and see that though they raised $21.3 million that year, they only gave $138,509 out to patients here in the community (source). and if each recipient was limited to only $500 once per year, that meant they helped no more than 277 people. and it wasn’t even all cash – some of that was “in kind” by way of “beauty baskets” which included “nail polish” and “lipsticks” and brochures on how to feel beautiful.
you guys. come on. that’s only .06% of what they brought in! so what gives? because they claim that they’re only spending 16% of their income on the actual collection process, 1% for overhead, and the whole of the rest of it goes toward their programs! so i went back and read the tax return again. the rest of the money allegedly went to things like, “community outreach & education programs” or, “an extensive public education program focusing on cancer prevention and recovery,” which seems to focus primarily on teaching university students that living a healthy life can help prevent cancer (source).
the greater bulk of their raised funds (a whopping $15.8 million) allegedly went to “medications and supplies to assist in managing pain and side effects of cancer treatments” in “developing and impoverished countries.”
turns out, i wasn’t the only one raising an eyebrow to these claims.
but i digress…
the main reason i don’t “go pink” is because if you think about it, no matter who you’re giving that money to for that scarf, shirt, teddy bear, magnet, wrist band, rubber duckie, key ring, or pink-white chocolate-covered strawberries – you’re giving it to them. and they’ll decide how much of it is going to go to “breast cancer research” or “breast cancer awareness.” whatever that means. there was a great marie claire article about this very problem, and – lo and behold – our own local charity was even mentioned in it. my point is, all the pink crap in the world isn’t going to help my mom get better. it’s not going to make any of you more “aware” of breast cancer. at best, it’s just going to make strangers want to ask me, “oh, do you have breast cancer?” or worse, “oh, my best friend’s cousin’s aunt’s boss had breast cancer and it was awful, she suffered for years…” and frankly, i don’t need that in my life.
so if you’ve helped me and my family out – or would still like to, thank you. i want you to know that 100% of the money i receive is going directly to help mom get fresh produce and other healthy foods. and that is offering her real help. and real hope. thank you.