What YOU need to know about Childhood Cancer Research Funding. From the fabulous People Against Childhood Cancer (PAC2)
Prior to Fathers Day 2007, I had not given much thought to how funding for cancer research worked. That all changed. I thought we would share some thoughts and observations based on my own experiences and our research. This only seeks to inform, raise questions and to provide a platform for discussion. Nowhere in here will we suggest what charity you should support. But, without the right amount of funds directed towards the right research, PAC2 will only continue to grow, and we really want to shut it down. Let’s just look at a few of the groups competing for your money.
- HOSPITALS: it may be difficult to determine what percentage of a donation to a hospital would be directed towards research into childhood cancer. Donations may cover operating costs, research into other diseases, and/or childhood cancer research.
- AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: In 2009 directed $0.007 (less than a penny) to childhood cancer research for every dollar of public support. (Total public support: $897,051,000 and total directed at childhood cancer research: $6,206,000. Source:ACS)
- LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY: directed $0.02 to childhood cancer research for every dollar of public support. (Total public support: $287,625,000 and total directed at childhood cancer research: almost $6,000,000. Source LLS)
- NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE: it’s your tax dollars at work. Over the past five years, it has directed between 3.6 and 4.0% of its total budget, an average of $176 million/year, to pediatric cancer. Why?
- CHILDHOOD CANCER GROUPS: on our list direct at least an average of $0.80 to childhood cancer for every dollar of public support. Please consider CureSearch, St. Baldrick’s, Alex’s Lemonade Stands, The Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research and others. These guys direct money only to childhood cancer related causes, primarily research. And you’ve seen the PAC2 chevron picture…Awareness –> Funding –> Research –> CURE! – you know why we need $$$)
When a child is treated at a hospital, the hospital incurs costs and produces a bill for the treatment. The bill covers labor, drugs, supplies, new equipment, other operating costs and, if it has a facility, some is directed to research. Obviously not all hospitals have research labs, and the size and funding varies.
Many if not all hospitals have a fundraising arm. If you are at a facility that treats both adults and children, generally funds it collects support operating costs and additions the hospital may desire, and may go towards research. Research may be into treatment of any disease you can imagine. Some may go towards cancer research, both adult and childhood cancers. So, if you give to XXX Hospital, your money is directed towards many various causes, with an unknown portion related to childhood cancer research.
With hospitals, it would seem you need to ask if you can direct your donation to the cause you want to support.
Obviously, St. Jude is likely the hospital the majority of the public thinks of if and when they think of childhood cancer. Their marketing campaign is hugely successful. The post “What if….” has the actual data on St. Jude. In summary:
- St. Jude treats less than 4% of all the kids with cancer.
- St. Jude received $682 million in support (donations and bequest) and $82 million in grants from NCI, NIH, and, historically, organizations like CureSearch for Childhood Cancer, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.
- St. Jude spent $282 million on research on all diseases, 36% of support.
- St. Jude fundraising expenses were $135 million. ALSAC admin and general costs were $51 million.
The American Cancer SocietyThe mission statement of the American Cancer Society (ACS) reads: “Founded in 1913, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service. With more than two million volunteers nationwide, the American Cancer Society is one of the oldest and largest voluntary health agencies in the United States. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ACS has state divisions and more than 3,400 local offices.” Many chose to become involved with the ACS fundraising events, including the “Relay for Life”. The funds collected by the ACS are used for many causes. The numbers, in millions: