3 Reasons Why I Support St. Baldrick’s Foundation

I can’t think of anything worse than childhood cancer. Can you?

Too many people (myself included) complain about stupid, mundane things like the traffic on our daily commute; the snowstorm that hits AFTER the first day of Spring; or the dirty socks that your spouse continues to leave on the floor day after day.

Childhood cancer is extremely humbling. It bitch-slaps you right in the face and makes you realize what’s really important.

There are lots of great (and not so great) organizations out there doing work to raise funds to fight cancer. But I think this one organization is different. If you’re not familiar with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, maybe you’ll want to check them out. They do wonderful work. Their only goal is to raise funds for grants for childhood cancer research. You can Google them for more info, but the statement on their website that absolutely floored me was this:

“About 60% of all funding for drug development in adult cancers comes from pharmaceutical companies.
For kids? Almost none, because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable.”

That statement turns my stomach. Childhood cancer drugs are not profitable. What’s even more striking is that all types of childhood cancers COMBINED receive only 4% of US federal funding for cancer research. FOUR PERCENT.

It’s worth noting here that St. Baldrick’s Foundation spends more than 3/4 of the money raised on funding research grants (79.5%). The remaining 20.5% is spent on fundraising and administrative costs. That is an impressive ratio.

As their website states, yes, cancer strikes more adults than children. However, when we’re talking about the allocation of money, the game becomes less equitable. Childhood cancer simply isn’t “profitable” enough. That really makes me angry.

I’m supporting St. Baldrick’s this year. Here are my reasons:

1. Because my money goes to fund childhood cancer research grants. My money is not going to purchase accoutrements like ribbons or balloons (which are all well and good to raise awareness) and it’s certainly not lining the pockets of big wig boards of directors or administrators.

2. Because my husband and I have friends who have lost their children to some form of cancer and it was the most gut-wrenching experience for us as outsiders to observe. I cannot imagine the hell the families went through.

3. Because by some sheer stroke of luck, my son and my two girls are healthy. Thank God.

There’s one more reason I’m supporting St. Baldrick’s. A dear friend of mine has supported them for years. He’s a cancer survivor and I admire his efforts to “go bald” this weekend to raise money for this worthwhile cause. If you want to join me in supporting his efforts, here’s a link to his page.

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McDonalds Needs a New PR Person

Did you hear the latest about a plastic ingredient in the bread that Subway makes and sells? A very persistent blogger called them out on it. Apparently the ingredient they’ve been using for their bread is also found in plastics and is used to make things like yoga mats. The substance – azodicarbonamide – is apparently banned in Europe as being unsafe and has been shown to cause respiratory issues and to exacerbate allergies. But it’s OK here, I guess. Other fast food companies use it, too.

Gross.

Subway issued a statement and claimed they would  remove it from all their products although they didn’t say when. Burger King, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s and others use it too in some of their food products. Most of the fast food places said they’d reevaluate the use or look into the studies further to determine how and if it affects people. But the response from McDonald’s bugged me.

When asked for a comment, McDonalds said, “What? A toxic ingredient? Ah screw it, the FDA approves it so we’re just gonna keep on using it to make the yummy tasting products that our suckers continue to buy.”

Maybe that’s not an exact quote but that’s basically what they said.

Whatever happened to good public relations? To good customer service? Getting out ahead of a bad story? Doing the right thing? Out the window.

My family used to visit McDonald’s on a semi-regular basis. Mostly as a pit stop when traveling. The occasional hamburger here and there won’t kill you, right? Plus I was always in love with my annual Big Mac. The caloric consumption was so great and the deed so sinful that I relegated myself to a once-a-year “treat.” Our visits have waned over the years and thankfully neither of my girls are addicted to the lure of Happy Meals. I realize there are bigger mountains to die on, but for goodness sake now that we know how icky this ingredient is, why on Earth would you put it in your body?

This from the woman who still consumes diet coke with a vengeance. I know it’s poison, but I drink it in full knowledge. I’m not perfect.

I’m disappointed in McDonald’s. And so I’ve signed the petition to speak up and get my voice heard. She has more than 78,000 signatures so far.

I won’t be visiting McDonald’s anytime soon. But if they happen to be part of those pit stop mega-restaurant places, at least I know I can practice my yoga.