What I lack in timeliness, I make up with by being right
First a statement of interests - neither I, nor any of the people in the group I work in are funded by Cancer Research UK. However, Cancer Research UK did fund the building we work in.
For those that missed it, basically a charity "no make-up selfie" thing swept the nation followed by a series of articles/blogposts/social media what have you all about how wrong it was. The complaints can be broken down into two main varieties:
1 - How dare people publicise their charitable donations? Cue, quite often, bonus rants about the same re: Race For Life and its ilk.
My immediate response is that I don't care if people get a ego-boner that can be seen from space when they publicise their donations, provided they've given money. In the words of Bob Geldof, "give us your fucking money."
Apparently, good people never mention charity drives. Quite frankly, I'll stick with the bad people.
2 - Why is it always for cancer?/Doesn't cancer get enough money?/Why not my charity of choice?
The main argument I saw was that mental illness is almost as prevalent as cancer* and therefore should get a bigger slice of the pie. Which I have little argument with. My response is, well fundraise then. The reason CRUK get a lot of money is that their fundraising department are leet ninja level. They get out there and do their thing and money comes in**.
A lot of people were bitching because "wah, cancer doesn't need more profile-raising," but these are the same people who were complaining about people publicising their fundraising. Maybe if they were less like shrinking violets then their own causes might get more of the limelight.
I am also peeved by the idea of people telling other people where to put their money. My charity pot goes to the Big Issue, MSF, Amnesty and Sloths, more or less in that proportion. And that's my right. It's other peoples's right to put their money where they want to.
As I've said, I work in a cancer research building but the last on-site fundraising we did was for Anthony Nolan (please insert the usual have you considered signing up to Anthony Nolan message here. It's very easy. Please see here - http://www.anthonynolan.org/
). We've raised money for the Samaritans, Alzheimers Research and Marie Curie before now. Yes, some of our fundraising is for Cancer Research, but mostly it's guerilla fundraising for people whose projects have shown promise in animal studies but haven't been funded for human trials yet. If those projects can have the funds to get some starting results, then it'll help them get funding in the next round. The project we're fundraising for at the minute is for late-stage multi-resistance breast cancer. The last one was for a cheap way of treating endemic-type Burkitt's Lymphoma in Africa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burkitt%27s_lymphoma
And yeah, maybe cancer gets an unfair slice of the pie, but as populations everywhere get older, it's going to become more important. Huge strides have been made, and there's no point stopping now. A commenter on the 'In The Pipeline' blog (http://pipeline.corante.com/
) is a retired GP, or whatever the American equivalent is, and I think he phrased it best when he said that, when he started childhood leukaemia was a death sentence, now they're worrying about making sure the treatment doesn't affect the children of the patients.
Cancer vs mental illness is also a really poor comparison to make, scientifically. Cancer is easier to study, both in animals and man, than mental illness. We've got half-decent models for a lot of cancers and nothing like that for mental illness. How, as it where, do you measure schizophrenia in mice?
Even with human patients, drugs for combating mental illnesses appear to have large placebo effects (and horrid side-effects) and seem to have wide-ranges of effectiveness. Part of the problem is that clinical diagnosis is symptom-based rather than cause-based, making it hard to tell if all patients with disease x will respond to drug y which attacks target z, when we don't know if z is non-functional in all of them.
But yeah, it's either rant here or tear some RL peeps to shreds on Facebook and I try not to do that. Even when I'm feeling rage-beasty.
* there can be no dealing with people who think 1/3 of 60 million is similar to 1/4 of 60 million, but we'll let that stand.
** second statemnt of interest - I used to volunteer in an Imperial Cancer Research charity shop before their merged with the one to form Cancer Research UK