First off, Breast Cancer is bad, mmmmkay? Something like 12% women will get it and 25% of those will be killed by it. Us men aren’t free and clear either as hundreds of men die from man-boob cancer. Seriously.
That said, consider the source and follow the money before you blindly give over your money to a “charity” that supports “awareness”. They’re largely wasting your money. Consider: There is nary a woman of breast sporting age who isn’t “aware” that she should be giving herself a periodic check. Money spent on “awareness” may very likely be used to make you more aware of the charitable organization rather than it’s goals. A good example here is the corporate entities that align with a charity to hopefully do some good… and to make you more aware of the corporation. Pink websites? Hard on the eyes. Pink splotches on NFL merchandise? Silly. Printing newspapers with pink paper? Wasteful.
The timely example is Lee National Denim Day. For a paltry $5 you get to wear jeans on the first Friday of October (as long as the first Friday isn’t the first of the month apparently). That $5 (Minus Lee’s expenses?) is then sent to the Entertainment Industry Foundation which in turn supports various charities. You also get a pink ribbon emblazoned in gold lettering with the Lee logo. The past few years the logo has been getting bigger and flashier at the expense of the ribbon (See picture at left) and that got me to thinking… what percent of my Lincoln is actually going to charity and why in the hell would anyone want to wear an ad for a brand of jeans? The answer is pretty obvious – we’re all riddled with guilt for NOT having cancer… and not doing anything to prevent it from forming in others. The more health and/or wealth you have the more guilt you likely suffer at the hands of the various charities or causes. This is why you can’t see a damned Broadway play without having a “message” shoved down your throat. Paying for your ticket and nodding don’t make you an activist but for some reason it dulls the guilt the tiniest bit. So does wearing a ribbon I guess.
But it doesn’t do anything to prevent breast cancer.
In this case we really don’t need money – we need education. There is no common cancer death more preventable. Except maybe lung cancer. Most people diagnosed with lung cancer spent the majority of their life and thousands upon thousands of dollars just to get to that point but I digress. Death by breast cancer is very preventable. Just phluff your girls frequently then tell the charities to save the “awareness” and use the money to help those who can’t afford a mammogram. Better yet, volunteer $5 of your time to print out and distribute some education keeping the money out of the hands of big industries all together. The health-care industry LOVES taking money from charities because it’s guaranteed while individuals may go bankrupt or worse – die before running out of money. And if an institution is getting free funds why not raise the rates to maximize income? Horrible but human nature. So where does the money go? Most family bankruptcies are due to illness. Hospitals are going out of business. But somehow insurance companies are thriving. If you really need something to feel guilty about… buoying the medical insurance industry is a good place to start. Ah, but once again I digress.
Back to that magic five dollars. The EIF is only about 75% efficient in returning your money to the cause. They do a lot of fine work but I like a higher return on my investment. The Susan G. Komen group is one of the largest and is better at 83% efficient but it always bothers me a little when the president or CEO makes more than a half million dollars a year. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is better still at 91% but suffers the same problem. Regardless, I gave them my $5 and the anti-breast cancer charities netted an extra 80 cents. I also gave $2 to the website that compiles the data to which I’ve linked above. Paltry sums to be sure and I have plenty of health, if not wealth to feel guilty about but I do what I can. Like writing this rambling diatribe to clarify my thoughts. Not for you, who for some unknown reason is still reading it, but for me and hopefully for the greater good.
I’m wearing Jeans today but I’m not wearing the ribbon on my shirt. Instead, I’ll be distributing education throughout the month. I think that will be worth a good deal more than the $3.75 I would have donated if I a spent with my heart rather than my head. For women it’s even easier – donate some time with your hands… and be well.