Why Nobody Should Support Relay For Life

Why Nobody Should Support Relay For Life

At what point does fundraising become fraud?
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I don't support Relay for Life. I've been saying it ever since I've heard of it, and I constantly receive backlash for it. I fully expect to field negative feedback for my opinion, but I can no longer remain silent about why I don't think that staying up all night walking in circles helps defeat cancer.

See also: Don't Listen To Autism Speaks: Why You Should Think Twice About "Lighting It Up Blue"

Let me begin with a full disclaimer: I lost my big brother to cancer three years ago. He was my best friend, so trust me when I say and I saw firsthand how devastating cancer can be. I donated my bone marrow to him twice through bone marrow transplants to save his life. He suffered from cancer for seven years before he passed away. Believe me, my opinion does not come from a place of coldheartedness.

That being said, let's get to the point:

It's a wonderful concept, rallying people to donate money to cancer research–but there are two major problems that I have with the execution of the concept.

First, nobody really goes just "for the kids" or "to help battle cancer!" or anything like that. People go to Relay for Life for themselves, so that they can Instagram a picture of their painted face and t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up, with some clever caption like "the squad does Relay for Life." While I understand peoples' addiction to social media (trust me, I've been there, done that), I don't think that we should be exploiting cancer to get more likes and followers.

People go to Relay for Life to have a good time. There's food stands, a DJ, competitions and prizes, the whole nine yards. People donate the money to make a team, and that money does in theory go to cancer research, sure. But think about the amount of money that is wasted everywhere on Relay for Life events.

This brings me to my second point: Relay for Life money does not go towards helping cancer patients.

Here are some quick facts that will hopefully make you think twice before you donate:

-The American Cancer Society (ASC) that sponsors relay for life spends on average $600 million a year on employee pensions. This well over four times the amount the ACS spends on cancer research annually.

-Retired CEO Donald Thomas' salary was over $1.4 million, and VP of Divisional Services William Barram was making over $1.55 million.

-In the same year that the ACS was forced to cut budgets for "economic reasons," the CEO's salary doubled to over $2.2 million.

-In fact, roughly 95% of their overall donations go towards salaries, leaving a meager 5% to go towards "the cause."

-There have been several reports over the last two decades of top-tier ACS employees who have either been convicted of or admitted to fraud, tax evasion, and embezzling millions from the company.

-Finally, the most overwhelming of all: in 2010, the ACS donated just one penny ($0.01) for every dollar donation it received.

Honestly, I am more willing than anyone to host fundraising events. I wholeheartedly believe in helping those who have cancer, and helping to find a cure in any way I can. What I simply cannot support, however, is exploiting a disease that affects millions of families and using it as an excuse for corporate fraud and capitalist benefits. If you still want to attend Relay for Life, then that's your own personal choice. But know where your money is going. Know that while you're dancing all night long in theoretical support of cancer patients, those cancer patients are receiving little to no rewards for your efforts. If you are going to Relay for Life to have a good time, admit that. It's okay to want to have fun. But don't disguise it under a pretense of self-sacrifice.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a quote from Christina Sariach, an analyst for The Natural Society: "[T]he ACS bears a major responsibility for losing the winnable war against cancer."

If you're looking for better organizations to donate your hard-earned money to, here is a short list of places that could really use it:

-Be The Match National Bone Marrow Donor Registry

-Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Oncology Department

-Make-A-Wish Foundation

-St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Cover Image Credit: Merced Sunstar

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Breaking, Raking, Shaking

A news-wire covering breaking news, financial news, and interesting stories too.
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School's out for summer, but not forever. Let's get caught up on some stories I found really fascinating this week.

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The use of live ammunition and force is being called into question as to whether or not that was the best course of action for the protest. I have a feeling this will continue to develop in the future weeks. Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the "appalling, and deadly violence".

Social Security Secrets: Some information on SS.

Although I'm quite far from being anywhere near retirement age I found this article on some basic information about Social Security to be very fascinating. This article covers topics like when you can receive your full benefit depending on the year you were born, what spousal benefits can tell you about your experience, and other curious odds and ends most people don't know about Social Security.

A new think-tank suggests combining Medicare and the ACA: a revolutionary idea on Healthcare?

The plan is called "The Healthy America" plan, and it's being lauded by those from the left-of-center think-tank "The Urban Institute". Their proposal doesn't suggest we change our market to a system focused on healthcare for all. Instead this plan suggests we offer public options with private plans by creating a new market. It would cover children, and the disabled the same, and it would provide more cost coverage for those on the Affordable Care Act. Among other policies on the plan, it would cover Low-income people if they were found to be uninsured, and also keep the pre-existing condition prohibition ban from the ACA.


Department of State lifts hiring freeze: A change in the air for foreign policy?

New Secretary of State, and former CIA director Mike Pompeo has lifted the hiring freeze at the State Department of the United States. This is a shift from the former policies of former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson. This shift may be a sign that the United States is making a change in how it approaches foreign policy, or it could signify Pompeo gaining favor with the President.


Supreme Court strikes down law banning gambling on Sports

The New Jersey law prohibiting gambling on sports has been struck down by the highest court in the United States. This could open up gambling on sports more throughout the nation, and will help increase growth in a burgeoning industry.

Africa's Free Trade Future: A story in the works

African nations have started signing a new free trade agreement in Africa aiming to eliminate 90% of tariffs within the continent for commercial trade.Talks started in 2015 to establish what the nations are attempting to call the "African Continental Free Trade Area". If successful in the negotiations, the continent could see its GDP grow to $3 Trillion making it one of the larger economies in the world, comparative to Germany.

In other news...

Elon Musk shares video of Tesla pulling Jet

This is pretty neat! Who says Electric cars don't have torque?

Tenacious D announce tour, and new album

Ever since the pick of destiny, many of our lives have felt the impact of Tenacious D. Their music serenades the heart, and solidifies the soul. With the recent announcement of a new tour, and a new album it's hard to contain the joy resonating from myself. With it being their first album in six years, i'm sure there are plenty of others prepared for the LP later this year.

Cover Image Credit: diggertomsen from flickr

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