The American Cancer Society was created in 1913, and today—in 2017—is still one of the most well-known charities internationally. The American Cancer Society, however, continues to be insulted as a non-profit organization despite their amazing work and financial transparency.
Individuals often become hostile or angry when asserting their negative opinions regarding the ACS; this type of attitude is not only lacking factual evidence, but is also largely inconsiderate. Bashing an organization that has no ulterior motive—that is dedicated to helping people and to eradicating a horrific disease—seems counterproductive and pointless.
One in three people with cancer will die within a year of diagnosis, according to MacMillan Research—meaning a large ratio of people in our country know someone who has died of cancer. It seems deliberately disrespectful to openly speak negatively about a non-profit organization that is trying to combat a horrific disease that affects many people.
Although insulting the ACS is intended to call into question the organization itself, it personally offends those who have had cancer or who have watched a loved one battle with the disease. Throwing insults at the ACS demeans cancer patients’ struggles as well as an organization that has saved lives for over 100 years.
Further, the claims made by those who discredit the ACS are invalid. The main argument made is that “not all money goes to cancer research,” which is correct—but not in the way critics mean.
The ACS’s mission is to “save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer.” The scope of their charity does not just cover research and finding a cure to cancer—it also focuses on survivor outreach, cancer prevention and general population education.
The ACS is extremely transparent when it comes to where they spend their money. They published on their website that in 2015, $151 million was spent on cancer research, $348 million was spent on patient support, $123 million was spent on prevention information and education programs and $87 million was spent on cancer detection and treatment programs.
While, clearly, not all this money is used for research grants, the ACS does this intentionally to embody a well-rounded non-profit goal.
Here, the Geneseo Colleges Against Cancer student organization plans Relay for Life and receives much of the same criticism. This is disappointing, as Relay for Life not only raises money for cancer, but it also helps to create a supportive campus community. The Relay for Life event on campus provides hope for students struggling with a cancer-related issue and reminds us all to count our blessings.
In addition, Geneseo’s Relay for Life dictates exactly where the money raised goes within the ACS. The goal for this year’s event is $180,000, which is $5,000 higher than 2016.
If this money is raised, it will be divided accordingly: $90,000 for one research grant, $36,500 to provide cancer patients 365 overnight accommodations during treatment at the Hope Lodge, $50,000 to purchase 200 wigs for cancer patients and $3,500 to provide 350 rides for cancer patients to and from treatment.
It is always important to question where donation money goes and to remain educated; individuals should never stop researching and holding charities to a high standard.
It does seem, however, that those who speak up are unaware of the financial transparency and different cancer initiatives that Relay for Life and the ACS provide.