Cancer is one of the leading causes of death. About one in every two people will develop cancer sometime during their lifetime. It is estimated that there will be 14 million new cases of cancer this year, and 8 million people will die from the disease. But the news is not all discouraging; cancer awareness fundraising can bring hope to what seems like an insurmountable challenge.
More than 15 million Americans are still alive after being treated for cancer, and that number grows every year. Treatments and early detection methods are becoming more advanced, and the death rate from cancer has been declining for the past 20 years.
The High Cost of Cancer
But cancer can still often have a devastating effect on individuals and families–emotionally, physically and financially. Cancer treatment is one of the biggest segments of medical expenses. Treatments can be expensive and last for months or even years. Even for those with medical insurance, the toll on personal finances can be significant. Not only are there deductibles and co-payments to deal with, but out-of-pocket expenses quickly add up into huge sums, including travel to treatment centers, family expenses and lost wages.
Dennis and Kate Boone of Houston, Texas, know this all too well. Katie has stage IV metastatic melanoma. Kate is undergoing treatment, and her husband Dennis started a YouCaring crowdfunding fundraiser, “Cancer Is Expensive,” which has drawn more than $11,000 in donations.
As Kate noted on her YouCaring page, “It turns out healthcare insurance doesn’t cover everything … so I fall on the mercy of my loved ones that I haven’t asked for money from already (from those that I have borrowed money from, sorry you may never see that again).”
Moreover, since cancer is oftentimes a fast-moving disease, the need to cover medical expenses quickly in order to receive the appropriate treatments is imperative.
Katie Bohrer of Los Angeles has experienced this firsthand. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer just after her 30th birthday. Katie, her husband Ben and her doctors are doing everything they can to make sure she wins the fight against cancer and that means immediate chemotherapy and other treatments. Since it can take weeks to receive insurance approval for treatments, Katie and her husband have already started paying out of pocket for some treatments. The bills are mounting, so her best friend set up a YouCaring fundraiser, “Help Katie Kick Cancer,” which has already generated $22,000 in donations.
Fortunately, crowdfunding gives people the tools and sharing power to garner financial support that helps those like Kate and Katie face cancer head-on and feel empowered to overcome it.
On any given day, there are thousands of fundraising campaigns on YouCaring–for families dealing with cancer and groups and organizations supporting cancer research. Other campaigns are raising awareness for certain types of cancer, such as an annual motorcycle ride YouCaring fundraiser for breast cancer awareness.
Best Practices for a Successful Campaign
If you are organizing a campaign for cancer awareness, consider the following tips:
- Talk about why this cause is personally important to you. If your family has been touched by cancer, briefly mention as much as you are comfortable with.
- Explain clearly how the funds raised will be used. Give details about the organization involved, their mission and the people behind it.
- Be positive–explain how every dollar raised is important, such as, “it will bring us closer to a cure” or “help someone in need.”
- Spread a message of hope and the reason people need to be aware of your cause, whether it’s cancer screening, support for cancer patients or fundraising for cancer research.
While treatments and survival rates are improving, as the population grows older, the total number of people with cancer is expected to grow. The importance of cancer awareness–and fundraising campaigns to support it–is also growing.
Awareness Leads to Change
Cancer awareness has several benefits. The more that people are aware of cancer risks, they more likely they are to seek early screening, such as colonoscopies and mammograms. Early detection of cancer can dramatically increase survival rates. With lung, breast and ovarian cancer, 70 percent to 90 percent of patients diagnosed at its earliest stage survive at least five years, compared with 5 percent to 15 percent of patients whose cancer isn’t diagnosed until its most advanced stage.
Awareness can also encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles, reducing their chances of getting cancer. Experts say it’s a myth that getting cancer is a matter of bad luck or even bad genes. Up to half of cancer cases could be prevented through lifestyle change.
Tobacco use has the greatest impact, causing nearly a quarter of lung cancer cases in men. Stopping smoking at age 30 can cut a person’s risk of lung cancer almost to that of non-smokers. Even stopping at age 50 can undo half of the damage that has been done.
Adopting a healthier diet or reducing exposure to the sun can also make a tremendous difference. It is estimated that up 10 percent of cancers may be associated with poor dietary choices.
Funding a Better Tomorrow
Cancer awareness campaigns can also raise significant amounts of money to help fund cancer research. Susan G. Komen (formerly the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation), well known for its Race for the Cure and other events, has raised more than $800 million for cancer research and funds more than 500 active research projects.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation, the American Lung Association and many other nonprofits do similar work funding research, as well as screening, education, treatment and psychological support.
Although great strides have been made in cancer awareness, much more work still needs to be done. Until everyone has access to–and takes full advantage of–screening and other tests, as well as proper treatment and support for those diagnosed with cancer, promoting cancer awareness remains a priority in combatting one of the leading health risks in society.
Ready to make a difference and launch a fundraiser for someone with cancer or to raise awareness of the devastating disease?
Start a free YouCaring cancer fundraiser.