I think I’m the Scrooge  of Breast Cancer Charities. 

So basically, I think I’m the Scrooge of breast cancer charities and maybe cancer charities in general….I am going to say what I suppose I feel I shouldn’t say, and people will probably hate me for. 

Breast cancer now, cancer research, breakthrough breast cancer, Macmillan and more appear to have endless marketing budgets currently. All I see is TV commercials, Facebook adverts, charity fun runs, calendars, radio advertising, in-store posters and magazine adverts. And I’m struggling to understand the sudden surge and seeming competion within the charity world. 

  
How can they afford prime time TV slots and big budget marketing campaigns and agencies to support them?  and how can they validate it when that money could be given and used to support the masses of struggling women and men trying to survive on sick pay or no money through treatment? 

I see local charities and organisations doing great work, St Richards, the worcester breast cancer unit, the haven, YBCN and I feel like it’s almost unfair that these big charities seem to get more air time, PR and resources than the charities and organisations that I can see giving back to the local communities and to individual people. 

So why am I bothered that people are raising money for the big charities? Because of above, I personally have not seen the direct influence of For example breast cancer now. I did however have a conversation with their marketing agency and to be honest the people I spoke to hadn’t got a clue, they hadn’t been educated, it was basically to me a campaign of exploitation of women with cancer. But were those women helped directly by the charity? I can’t answer that. I hope they were. 

But what continues to shock me is this budget and the seemingly endless advertising. As a marketing proffesional, the estimated cost to all this advertising, and how it is afforded and then rationalised is emotive for me. 

The large charities are operating as businesses and not as charities anymore. There is probably a PR budget, above and below the line marketing budget, events budget, and more and I just want to know where the money is going accept for on advertising. What are all the funds raised achieving? 

Do the people working in these large organisations even see a bald, eyebrow-less woman counting her pennies because she is off work and can’t afford normal lifestyle products and foods. Do they see or feel the individual struggle? The smaller charities do… They directly work with the patients, survivors the people who need the day to day support. 

And do people holding shave your head for cancer-athons, cake sales or other fund raising events for massive charities know where the money has gone? 

Would they in fact not be better of raising money for …. Iris down the street to pay for her parking at the hospital every day through radiotherapy, or Amanda who wants eyebrow tattoos to feel normal, rather than a charity that if I asked them what they are doing they probably wouldn’t know what it is, other than helping cancer in some way. 

People are struggling to survive day to day bills through treatment. The government don’t have a standard scheme for cancer patients. There is no set benefit. And those people who smile and keep their heads up might actually be struggling and they are being forgotten about in all the hype of another coffee morning, or running race. 

…….’It’s research based, we will eradicate cancer by 2050′ my answer to this before I am told it is ….. it’s 2015, I’m in active treatment and I haven’t been asked once to participate in any studies during my treatment or diagnosis… Which I would have. You’ve got 35 years … Maybe continuous research to find the cure or prevention should have started NOW! 

These charities that get the main support, that have the best marketing, the big budgets… They haven’t helped me. I’m sorry to say it so bluntly, but apart from Macmillan giving me £100 when I was first diagnosed with cancer to help towards my bills and a wig, which I did have to apply for and got, it isn’t automatic. And that money was great and I really appreciate it. 

But they have no local support groups I can access around my area and that goes for breast cancer now and cancer research… When people raise money for charity they seem to pick these charities and I just don’t understand why … Other than the power of marketing. 

I just wish the local charity, organisation or a national charity that directly helps the cancer survivors could get a budget similar and see how they used their money to help people directly. 

For me if anyone approached me and asked what I would want money raised for and how to raise it, I  would say charities like the haven, who give women 10 free sessions with professionals from masseus to councillors and aromatherapy, or the willow foundation, who provide women, like me, a trip away from the day to day… They appreciate that the average person during treatment for a critical illness has a disposable income of what can feel like 0 or into the minus figures… And they organise and pay for a trip for you and someone important during your treatment. The willow foundation have organised for me and Cassie to go to the Forest of Dean next week and I can’t wait! It’s a break away, I couldn’t afford it and they have sorted it all! And they just called me this second to check I am ok and that I can still go! Amazing support!  They have truely helped me and so many other women to show appreciation to important people during their treatment or to have a little break from thinking about treatment! Yes to life, look good feel good, St Richards, worcester breast cancer unit, yes to life….. These charities and organisations support and help people. 

I suppose what I want to say is help people. Support charities, yes, but support each other….raise money for a local person or drive them to their appointments, take their kids to school, cook them lunch, or ask them what charity is close to their heart. 

Don’t assume that because cancer is in the title of the charity that the person understands what the charity are doing or will feel the goodness of your work. 

Oh and cake sales for cancer … When cancer is linked to sugar … Don’t get me started! 🙈😁😱 that’s a whole other blog! 

  
  

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