My mother died of breast cancer that metastasized to her liver.
My aunt died of breast cancer.
My son-in-law has cancer now and is going through intensive radiation and chemo.
I have a niece who got breast cancer in her forties, and the young wife of a friend of mine developed breast cancer at an even younger age.
This is personal for me and I am furious when I get a call like the one I got today.
The woman who called (not from one of the many 800 numbers) asked for Marion. When I told her there was no one here by that name and she may have dialed the wrong number, she suggested that maybe I could help her. Then she started reading her script.
She began by telling me how some women with breast cancer can't afford treatment and hoped she could count on me to make a donation that would help them. I won't bother with the entire script here but I'm sure you've all heard it.
When she finished and asked how much I'd like to contribute, my first question to her was "Are you in a call center?" She gave me the name of the foundation, where they were located and their 800 number, but never
answered my question.
When I asked again, she said "Yes, I am calling you from their call center in Los Vegas. Can I count on you to help these women?"
My next question to her was easy for me because I've asked it many times when receiving phone calls from various other foundations seeking money for what is, in fact, usually a good cause.
"If I contribute, how much of the money I send will go directly to the foundation to help these women."
She skirted the question until I asked it the third time when she finally answered 15%. Yup, FIFTEEN PERCENT!
It's easy to compute that a $10 donation would amount to $1.50. Now, I'm sure if one hundred people contributed $10, it could add up to a nice little sum of money--little being the operative word. This foundation would only get $150
for every $1000 contributed.
I declined to contribute and asked her to remove my number from her call list. I'm sure she thinks I'm a wretch, but I really don't care what she thinks.
I contribute to St. Jude Children's Hospital and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I contribute to the Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army. They don't call me and are not constantly sending me address labels or totes. I have more address labels than I could ever use, more dimes from the March of Dimes than I sent them to begin with, and nickels - I can't even remember who sends me back nickels in the mail.
My point, and I do have one, is this. Ask where the money is going. Contribute locally. If I'm going to contribute to a woman who is fighting cancer, I want her to get the money. She has rent to pay, groceries to buy, and may be supporting children. The money for the research is already there.
Locally, Surgical Specialists of Colorado has a fund for their cancer patients in need. If one of the doctors has a patient in need, they see that the need is met
through this special fund. They have local fund raisers and I can give to those. I'm sure you have local fund raisers in your area, too. Please, look for them and contribute wisely, please. Eighty-five percent of your contribution (and sometimes more) isn't going where you think it is, and no one is going to tell you that unless you ask.