So I’ve been a bit “involved” lately in the community & work related functions and completed my first Relay for Life this past Friday which benefits the American Cancer Society. I wasn’t too involved until the end but it was a new experience, great charity & I hope to make it a tradition. Here are some of my reflections from the event.
My History With Cancer
I do not have cancer but in the recent years have had several close people around me affected by it. And to be honest it scares the crap out of me. My grandfather at 92 had a VERY brief battle with it/decline and died in 2008. As the doctor said, really in the end with prolonged lives due to medicine, cancer is what usually gets us. The older the cells the greater the chance for mutation and mishaps. Taboo or not I will say cancer can be natural. Perhaps with overpopulation (creating pollution) and longer life spans, its just bound to happen, a natural leveler. That does not mean though that we shouldn’t look for ways to prevent it and sustain the population we have through the same brilliance that brought us the medicine that lowered the mortality rate in the first place.
In 2008 (year of the cancer), my cousin Kaitlyn was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. She had one relapse but is now cancer free! I’ve had several interesting conversations with her during her battle and the experience has matured her greatly. It pains me she had to experience it at such a young age (15) but it has shaped her for better or worse. And honestly knowing her it will be for the better as she hopes to go into medical school due to her experiences. I can not imagine what she went through and I know that it is something that she will carry with her the rest of her life. As will I.
So here we have two cases, one possibly inevitable and one so shockingly close to home to someone so healthy and vibrant. And I think that’s what scares me so much about cancer, it is a disease from within, a lurking lump, pain or otherwise, a weakening, with what we know almost random discretion in its victims. What we know so far. Perhaps that’s what makes it so much scarier than heart disease or even something contagious that can be prevented by just eating well or not touching your eye, that it is so mysterious. Though of course there are obvious causes like nuclear waste… And while we know how to detect it early and try to prevent it, we need to learn more.
The Relay is Not a Race
So that’s the first thing I learned. It really is just a community event where groups can hold fundraising tents and as participants take turns lapping the track they can purchase wares, dunk people, throw darts, donate, bond and otherwise. Where I work (CDL/Online@UCF) put together a group (thank you Amy!) and our theme was Scrabble or “Scrabbling for a Cure”.
I spent most of my time hocking our wares (man I’m good at selling when I believe in the product/its for charity) of scrabble treats. People love themselves a rice crispy treat with a letter on it. But ask yourself, When was the last time you had a Rice Krispy treat? It was another good company event and in the end an excoworker bought the goodies we had left (though we sold a lot!) and we walked around giving them away for free. Which by the way, its actually easier to sell baked goods than give them away. People are suspicious.
Corey, Kitzzy, Eileen, me, Sue & Amy
Charity for the Sake of…
A few reflections occurred to me about, What is the point of charity? I’m not questioning its validity but really its main target. And perhaps it is moot to try to hone it down to such a black and white question. Someone at the event expressed that some of the organizers were disappointed that as they got more students involved less money was made. Basically the event was really not very profitable due to professionals being scared off and students being less well off. BUT there is still the thought, is it better to get young people involved in charity and learning about prevention or make more money towards research?
Because, who are we kidding, 50 cent brownie with a “T” on top is but a “drop in the bucket” BUT perhaps more of its worth is its symbolism. That’s some deep brownie.
It seems that a great deal of the actual “gallon in the bucket” contributions comes from private benefactors actually effected by the cause. So is it a trickle up effect? Fraternity member holds a “Root Beer Pong for the Cure” station, forgets about it, has a sister die of cancer & donates 5 million? Or Fraternity member talks to his dad, who talks to this person, who donates? Or fraternity member learns about early screening and saves his life? Or all three?
Either/all ways American Cancer Society is a great foundation so check it out. And perhaps the point is charity sometimes is worth it just for sake of getting people active in the community and to learn about the cause. All though in the end… money may be what makes the cure go round.
$$$ – S
EDIT: Check out: Betsy’s UCF Relay for Life Album