September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Now, ya should have already known that, but it seems that this information is lost in the world of breast cancer awareness. October is a month to behold. Pink. Pink everywhere. Pink balloons, ribbons, bridges, buildings, professional sports equipment, every store you visit, and even hospitals get into the act. Ya see, October is breast cancer awareness month…Breast cancer awareness advocates have done an inspired job getting out word and excitement for their cause. But, it’s been to the detriment of Childhood Cancer. In fact ALL other cancers have been left in the dust — both in terms of awareness and federal funding. Case in point, Childhood cancer research receives less than 1% of the funding breast cancer does. Look, I’m all for breast cancer awareness and Prostate Awareness, and any other kind of awareness that raises the bar for research and treatment. But, not at the expense of another. Especially Childhood Cancer! Now many of you may feel a slight sting when reading this (expecially parents of children fighting cancer), but I’m going to say it anyway…
I know the real reason that childhood cancer is buried in the shuffle of cancer causes.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the dynamic here. You just have to take a look at the money trail…
An estimated 75% of all cancer funding is given to breast cancer. Period. At NCI alone it has increased to the tune of almost $100 million additional dollars EVERY year. While Childhood Cancer funding continues to be reduced. In fiscal year 2011, breast cancer research received an estimated $900 million worth of federal funding, while Childhood Cancer cancer received $176 million. So lets talk “Grassroots” organizations… In addition to that $900 million injection to breast cancer the largest grassroots organization is Susan G. Koman foundation. In 2011 they were able to “pinkwash” there way into an additional $250 million. The breakdown for all that fundraising and commitment: Hala G. Moddelmog, COO, earns $532,000 or 0.18% of expenses. Program expenses are 83%, admin 11% and fundraising expenses 7%. and founder Nancy Brinker got $417,712… and those numbers do not include all the funds needed to pay the attorneys for the multitude of lawsuits they are wrapped up in.
Anyway, Im not here to bash Susan and her machine. But this points directly to my statement of “follow the money trail“…
The sad fact is, being a parent of a child taken by cancer, I believe the powers that be in the cancer community suffer from a fiscal impediment and power mongering that skews their judgment. Are we in the business of “curing” or are we in business of “marketing”? At what point does the ship capsize and “good intentions” become “corporate earnings“?
How it stands right now is that there is a group of power brokers controlling the funding process and distribution. “The system has become so corrupt that the reason for losing the war against cancer, is not a shortage of funds but their gross misallocation. They have trivialized escalating cancer rates and explained them away as due to faulty lifestyle [such as smoking, lack of exercise and a fatty diet,] to the virtual exclusion of the major role of unwitting and avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens in air, water, consumer products and the workplace.”
-Samuel S. Epstein, M.D – Chair of The National Cancer Prevention Coalition
BOTTOM LINE: Awareness is great. ADVOCACY IS BETTER! Awareness says you know about the cause, Advocacy says your DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT! So for ME and My family, September is CHILDHOOD CANCER ADVOCACY MONTH. EVERY other month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.
ad·vo·ca·cy[ad-vuh-kuh-see] noun, plural ad·vo·ca·cies.
The act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; activeespousal.