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22.5.12

Fundraising Hypocrites.

After discussions and encouragement from Twitter friends tonight I have mustered up the courage to post this.
It's something that's weighed heavily on my mind for years, and I feel if I don't get it out here then I may end up snapping and saying it to someone's face/on their Facebook status/photo and all hell will break loose.
I guess talking about this on Twitter has now brought around an expectation of what it could be about.
You may all be left slightly disappointed.

Every year my Facebook feed is full of friends of mine running the Race for Life. I have lost family members to cancer, this is no secret and is something I have mentioned before on my blog.
My husbands family also have experienced cancer.
Someone in our family has recently been diagnosed but to respect their privacy I won't go into any detail but it was hard news to take and we are desperately hoping it has been caught early enough.

I give to charity as often as I can. When I was young (10) I had my really lovely long hair cut short (shoulder length) in Victoria Station in London and the money went to a cancer charity. This may seem like a random and pointless thing to say but I am justifying myself for what is to come. The main reason for me getting a haircut was because of the money going to charity.
So from an early age I've been aware of charities and how I can help.
When I was 15 I spent every single little bit of spare time I had volunteering at a daycare centre for adults with head injuries and brain damage.

So it's not just about money. It's about awareness.

At school we were always taught the dangers of smoking. The damage it can cause your body. It can cause cancer. It can kill you.
Everyone knows this.
Smokers know this.
It's a fact.
There are print advertisements, television advertisements, radio advertisements.
It's written on the boxes for goodness sake.
Smoking can cause cancer.

My dad smokes. I begged him for years to stop. But he wouldn't listen. I was harsh with him, telling him I didn't want to lose him to cancer or other smoking related diseases.
He has since cut down from smoking some like over 20 a day to maybe around 2 or 3.
Growing up though I had no choice by to inhale his cigarette smoke. I always had to check his hands before holding them to see if he had a cigarette in them so I didn't burn myself. One day I did burn my hand as a result. I still remember that moment as clear as ever.
My dads dad smoked and I *think* his death was caused by smoking.

My aunty, dads sister, died of skin cancer. I don't know any details of her cancer at all and the causes of it.

I'm going off topic slightly.

I've always thought about doing Race for Life. To feel the achievement afterwards. To raise money.
Except I don't know many people therefore wouldn't get much in terms of sponsorship and the people I do know have already sponsored others.
So at the moment its not worth it unless I can give a decent amount. It's something I plan to do in the future, if not Race for Life then something else to raise money for charity (its on my bucket list).
This is not an excuse. This is fact.

So around now my Facebook timeline is full of people asking for sponsorship, sharing links to their JustGiving sites, which doesn't bother me in the slightest.

But something does bother me.
And it bothers me a lot.

"Friends Name: Doing the Race for Life this morning then sunbeds this afternoon." I know I may be over-reacting but I am very anti-sunbeds. I don't see the point in them unless if being used for treatment of medical conditions. (I know they are good for Psoriasis sufferers)
For me that status, which was written 3 years ago, totally wound me up. That person had been writing similar updates about visiting sunbeds all week.
Sunbeds increase the risk of several types of skin cancer. Fact.
Again, people know this.

And then came someone who I know very well. In fact three people whom I know very well.
All three had similar messages on their backs.
"Running for X who died of lung cancer and X who is suffering from lung cancer" (both of the lung cancer sufferers were unrelated)
The three women posted a photo of them back at their car at the end of the race. Two of them were smoking. Lit cigarettes clearly visible in their hands.
SMOKING with a message on their back saying they were raising money for people who had died of cancer as a result of SMOKING and were suffering with cancer (and has since died) as a result of SMOKING.
I didn't understand that.
And I still can't.

This year again someone, a different person to the three previously mentioned, posted on Facebook "Home now after I just completed the Race for Life. Time for a cup of tea and a fag"
REALLY?!

Do some people think "it won't happen to me"? Or do they simply not care? Or are stupidly not aware of the consequences?

Surely the people they were running for hadn't taught them anything, which I think is a sad reality.

If people wish to take that risk then fair enough. But I find it very VERY hypocritical.

If this post has offended anyone then I do apologise. It's certainly not my intention.

I think Race for Life is an amazing event and does well to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I just personally won't sponsor someone who smokes or visits sunbeds and regularly plays roulette and takes those risks.
I would rather give my money straight to the charity or sponsor a random person. (as long as I know they are a non-smoker)