American Cancer Society: Where the Money Goes

As I’ve mentioned, I’m running the Chicago Marathon again this year for the American Cancer Society. I ran for them in 2012 and raised $1,600. This year my goal is $2,620.

Last weekend, I attended a training session for DetermiNation Mentors. DetermiNation is their charity runner program, and since I’m a “veteran,” I applied to be a Mentor. Meaning, I’ll have 15-20 other DetermiNation runners assigned to me and I’ll be encouraging them during their own training and fundraising. (Since one ACS staff partner alone cannot respond to emails from hundreds of charity runners.)

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Won some swag thanks to icebreaker bingo

Anywho, if I’m going to be asking all of my friends, family, enemies, etc, to donate money to the ACS, it’s important that I know where the money goes. It goes to some pretty interesting places, two of which really stand out to me (and are also their big focuses right now).

Road to RecoveryOne of the biggest barriers to cancer patients getting treatment is physically getting to their treatment. Maybe they don’t have a car, don’t have access to public transit, can’t drive themselves to/from their treatment (due to the type of treatment they’ll receive), etc. If you can’t get to your treatment … you can’t get your treatment. And you can’t get better. It’s pretty simple. Through this program, the ACS pairs volunteers with patients, to drive them to their appointment, wait for them, and drive them home. Depending on where they live (particularly in rural areas), this could be a very long drive. But a very important one.

Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3). Did you know the American Cancer Society has funded 47 researchers who have gone on to win the Nobel Prize? Did you know the American Cancer Society has been a part of almost every major cancer breakthrough in the last century? CPS-1 discovered the link between smoking and lung cancer. CPS-2 discovered the link between obesity and cancer. What will CPS-3 discover? It remains to be seen. 300,000 individuals have signed up to participate in CPS-3 (through a blood draw and waist measurement), and the program will survey them every few years to learn about their lifestyle, family history, etc, to discover new insights into cancer, and hopefully new breakthroughs into how we can reduce our cancer risk.

You can learn more on the ACS site about where the money goes. But for every dollar you donate …

  • 72 cents goes to research funding, cancer-fighting programs around prevention and early detection, free hands-on services to give cancer patients their best chance to get well.
  • 21 cents goes to community events and programs (like DetermiNation) to raise funds for their mission, celebrate survivors and offer healing to those who have lost loved ones.
  • 7 cents goes to general costs and overhead (this would include administrative costs and salaries).

Why is this all important? Same as in 2012, because I want to keep this person around for as long as possible:

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My mom. Thankfully, she has never had a cancer diagnosis, but both of her parents and one of her older brothers did. And two of those three diagnoses were ultimately fatal.

And this past year, another member of my family (my dad’s brother) started his own fight with cancer. LEAVE US ALONE, CANCER. Ya jerk.

Hopefully whatever researching, lobbying, and other work done by the ACS leads to my mom (and everyone else I know) remaining cancer-free, and my uncle winning his battle.

So, stay tuned! As I mentioned, I have some creative ideas for fundraising between now and October. But you can still support my fundraising by buying an I Run With Fast Women shirt or you can just make a donation.

Did you know that in Illinois, colon cancer screening rates are around only around 50 percent? Did you know the survival rate for colon cancer is 90 percent … but you can only fight it if you find it? HINT HINT … get screened (if you are 50 or have it in your family’s medical history). 

If you are of the appropriate ages, do you regulary get your recommended cancer screenings? (Cervical, breast, colon, prostate, etc). 

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5 Comments on “American Cancer Society: Where the Money Goes”

  1. It’s cool to read about what ACS does with donations – it’s awesome that 93% actually goes to research and events. That’s a lot higher than I think I’ve seen for some other well-known charities. I’ll be excited to see your creative ideas too, I’m still up for collaborating on an event if you want 🙂

    Sorry about your uncle, hope he wins his fight. Cancer really needs to just suck it.

    What’s the appropriate age for colon cancer screenings? I’m thinking we’re too young, although Bob does get checked yearly b/c of other health issues. I’ve been getting all my lady-related screenings since my early 20’s. Another area where screenings are pretty low is lung cancer – doctors typically won’t screen people who aren’t in the “right” age group (50-75 I think) and aren’t/weren’t smokers, which is how people like my SIL get diagnosed so late in the game, which is also one reason why that diagnosis is so often fatal. I wonder if CPS-3 may figure out better screening guidelines for stuff like that.

    1. I had to double check, but it looks like 50 is the magic age for colon cancer screenings, however if you have a family history of it, you should get it sooner.

      It sounds like my uncle’s battle is going well. He lives on the other side of the state, but my aunts have been keeping us updated via the Facebooks.

      That’s interesting about lung cancer. I wonder if they adjust screening recommendations based on where you live – like if you’re in an urban area, or near a lot of factories or something.

      1. Yeah I’m not sure – we think that may be how my SIL got lung cancer, since she did live in a rural/industrial area for a while. I remember reading that there’s some risk involved with that particular screening, I can’t recall what it is off-hand, but I think that’s some of why doctors are hesitant to do it unless you’re high-risk. She happened to fracture her back at work, and they found the tumor in an xray for that. I’m not sure how else they would have found it though, honestly.

        This is a really good discussion to be having – thanks for starting it!

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