Pennies on the Dollar


It’s October.

You wearing pink?

Dana and I have stayed away from this because even though I am a survivor of not-breast cancer and her dad passed away from not-breast cancer and America is coming to the realization that the whole pink thing is kind of a sham (where the money doesn’t go where they say and cancer-causing chemicals are sold in pink bottles), we do have boobies.

But I just read something that pushed me out of my silence. And that’s saying something. The first week of October I took a phone call from one of those breast cancer faux fund-raising companies where the person on the phone is being paid a commission based on the amount of donations they get, and less than half of the money actually gets donated to research. When I stopped the lady mid-sentence to explain that we donate to another kind of cancer, because I am a survivor, she paused and then said “So?”

This thing that made me get up in the middle of the morning on a Monday when there is laundry to do and a shower to take and Dana and I were going to repost last year’s Halloween posts because we just need a break? Here it is:

A little more than 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget goes toward childhood cancers. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society allocates 8 percent of what’s donated to research for cures for kids. In the past ten years, there have been nine drug approvals specifically indicated for pediatric cancer, which is a fraction of the number of adult cancer-fighting drugs approved each year. Even though childhood cancers do account for less than 1 percent of all cancers annually, they remain the leading cause of death by disease in children…

(P)art of the problem has to do with profits. Almost 60 percent of medical research in the United States is funded by pharmaceutical companies, not by the government. Because children’s cancers impact far fewer patients than adult cancers do, the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t have a financial incentive to invest money in developing new chemotherapy drugs for children because there isn’t a way for it to get a return on the investment.”

(“Your Child Has Cancer…”, Elizabeth Foy Larson, Parent Magazine, November 2014)

What does this have to do with pennies?

For every dollar donated to the American Cancer Society, one penny goes towards childhood cancer research. One.

From the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society—covering Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is the most common type of childhood cancer? Two pennies.

The National Cancer Institute? Using our tax dollars? Only 4% of their annual budget. Four pennies.

Wow. Our childrens’ lives are worth pennies on the dollar.

Are boobies more important than babies?

If you don’t think that’s a fair question then how about this: How many women would trade their boobies for their babies without a thought?

Right. See what I’m saying?

This is not about valuing one life more than another.

And it’s not about a “my cancer is worse than yours” contest. Yuck.

Boobies are important. But the kids need a fair shake, which is something they don’t often get in the good ol’ US of A, where we value too many things more than we value the lives of our children.

Do you have pennies? We have pennies. What if we all took our pennies, turned them in and sent the money to organizations dedicated to childhood cancer research?

You can find a list of those organizations and how they use the money at

One thought on “Pennies on the Dollar

  1. Tell it !! I hate those pink ribbons. My friend who died of another kind of cancer brought it home to me — the other kinds of cancer get no money because those stupid pink ribbons get all the money. Okay, not to take away anything from anyone who fought breast cancer… You said it well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s