I'd like opinions on the Breast Cancer walk...

I’ll take opinions in general, though the one I am talking about it the Susan G Komen 3-day walk in Michigan this August.

I thought I had decided I want to do this, but the more I get into it, the more and more it seems like a big money grab, and I’m not sure that the right amount is going to actual research toward cures for cancer.

So, for this walk, I need to raise $2200 in cash funds to contribute. I understand that part of this is infrastructure costs for putting on the walk, equipment, etc.

That’s a lot of dough. And a lot of people walk. Enough that we’re talking in the millions of dollars. And supposedly, 85% of it goes toward breast cancer research. I know that’s a high number compared to some charities, but I always compare them to the American Cancer Society, which claims that over 90% of contributions go directly toward funding cancer-related stuff.

And top top it all off, they ask that you pay a $90 registration fee. Now, I have nothing against contributing, and I’d probably even contribute more than that (once I recover from my Christmas spending), but hell, man, I’m going to raise twenty-two hundred fricking dollars to get into this thing. Why are they chumping me for more money up front? Just to make sure that the people who walk also contribute? Right below the notice for the registration fee is an area where you can “start your fundraising yourself, enter a contribution here…”

I’m thinking hey, I just gave you ninety fricking dollars…how about you put that on my balance sheet, huh?

However, after I get all this negativity out of my system (mostly by slapping myself), I think “well, it’s really a decent cause, and my MIL recently passed away due to BC, and I have an aunt with it, etc etc…” and lean toward doing it again.

So, for no other reason than to see what others think of this charity event, let me hear it from you…I want to know if you’ve done it, if you’ve supported it, if you’ve thought about it, etc…

The Charity Navigator has information on this Foundation. They give it a 3 out of 4 stars and say it spends 76% of revenue on program expenses (the actual work), and just under 12% on each of administration and fundraising.

I don’t know where the American Cancer Society says they spend 90% on program. Charity Navigator says they spend only about 70%, and they are rated only 2 stars.

Personally, I don’t like or understand the practice that many charities have of sponsoring events such as the “Walk for the Cure” and similar fundraisers. If I want to give money, I’ll give money. I don’t need to walk a certain number of yards or miles or whatever, too. Yes, I know it is an attention-getter, but I think much of it is unnecessary.

Charity Navigator is a great site to examine charities and see just how much they really spend on overhead. You also get to see how much of the money goes to the CEO’s salary. ($460,000 in the case of ACS, and $225,745 in the case of SGKBCF.)

That’s interesting…I’m remembering the 90% number from a fundraising effort someone talked to me about around 10 years ago. So, either they were lying, or things have changed since then.

As to why…I can only speak for myself. I am doing it for partly unselfish reasons, to honor my MIL and aunt and help others afflicted with the same condition, and also for selfish ones…it allows me to feel like I am doing something…something more than just writing a check.

I’ve supported it for several years now. My mom is a survivor; she has both walked and crewed. I think she’s walking again this year.

From my research, they do a decent job of getting the money to research. I also think that the publicity is a good thing.

The main reason I support the walk, though, is the joy the walk brings my mother. When she was diagnosed as Stage III, she believed she would not survive. Now, almost eight years later, she gets charged up after the walks. It inspires her to meet other survivors and family members (even of those who didn’t make it), and to be in an environment that is so loving and supportive. To me, that’s worth it.

I did the 3-day in Atlanta in October 2002. I thought it was a wonderful experience. There were people all along the route holding photos of women they loved who’d been lost to breast cancer, cheering us on. And you really can’t whine about how tired or sore you are when you’re surrounded by cancer survivors, some of whom are fresh from chemo.

 We only had to raise $1,200, though, and I think the registration fee was less.  Is Pallotta still involved?  I think I recall that they didn't have the 3-day the next year because of some dispute with them.  They took great care of us- the food was good (of course, after walking 20 miles, I would have eaten anything), they had medical care available at all times, and people whose sole job it was to make sure that nobody was in distress or about to pass out.    

 If you do walk, take extra socks with you and a little sample-sized bottle of baby powder, and change your socks and powder your feet every day when you stop for lunch.  I did this, and I was one of the few people who didn't get nasty blisters.