Almost one year to the day, I wrote a post about princess sheets – about a compassionate story of how a nurse helped a dying child. This blog entry is about something similar.
I purposefully embedded an ad from St. Jude's. The tag line is "Madelyn is fighting cancer. Please help St. Jude save her life." I find this ad to be extremely manipulative. It is akin to someone saying, write me a check or the child dies. Now I have no problem with a non-profit organization asking for money. In Savannah, we have a children's hospital imbedded in Memorial Medical Center. Sick kids go there. And if they are really sick, they go to Atlanta. Atlanta's tag line, "Children need Children's."
I have heard many actors speak about the good work St. Jude is doing. My guess is that they give them cue cards, tell them what to say. Some of the actors may have even visited St. Jude's. I mean, one could visit St. Jude's and Graceland in the same day. Okay a little bit calloused.
Going back to St. Jude's. I really don't know much about the hospital itself. I have never been a patient there, nor have I known any patients who received care there. They are a research hospital, focusing their efforts on pediatric cancer research. Danny Thomas, I believe, started St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and his daughter Marlo Thomas continues to be its main spokesperson (and major contributor). I remember her for her "Free to Be . . . You and Me", a television special that I would listen to (on a record) when I was growing up. I don't remember the program, but I do remember listening to records instead of television.
I don't have a problem with St. Jude's as a hospital. My problem with them is with their ads. Some of the television ads (and movie theater ads) basically imply that if you don't give money to St. Jude's, some little girl (or boy) will die. And that is really not the case.
The ad shows a child with cancer, and with cancer, time is of the essence. If I give money to St. Jude's, the money does not get deposited to the research organization immediately and then a cure is found. Can you imagine a physician saying, "Well, I am 98% towards the cure to this cancer, but I am just going to kick back until I get that last $50 from Leesa." The implication is that the current child will die without support, and the child is already undergoing treatment – experimental treatment – at St. Jude's.
Like it or not, the Federal Government spends a lot of money on healthcare research. Part of me thinks we should personally supplement this, because of the idea that we would be getting at the root of the problem. Thousands are slashing at the leaves, when one attacks the root. But part of me thinks to myself, let the government handle this, and hope the healthcare research is not on enlarging the urethra on men who want to pee faster.
St. Jude's is a cancer hospital, and for my money, I believe that more needs to be spent for compassion. I give money to our local children's hospital, and I know the money goes to local children. I am with Mother Theresa on giving locally. Or if I wanted to give to Atlanta, for instance, where they have children who receive bone marrow transplants, I know Atlanta's Children Hospital (technically called Children's Healthcare of Atlanta) sees Savannah's children as well. Yeah, I know that giving money to the children's hospital probably does not go into research, but it supports children who are on research protocols.
When I hear drives for local charities, the approach is more normally "Look at all of the good work we have done. Give us money to help us continue these efforts."
When I was growing up, I went around the block to gather money for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Someone from the neighborhood would go down to the local TV station to deliver the money; we never went ourselves. I would watch the telethon for hours, as Jerry Lewis would beg the audience for one more dollar. Now, I gave money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association for a bunch of years, and I don't think the Federal Government was really putting much money into research at the time.
I am not saying that giving to MDA is good or bad. Part of me wants to give to a bunch of organizations. But you know what would be better, and something I have adopted? Concentrated giving makes more economic sense. If you give to one or two organizations, it makes the giving more efficient. If you give to 20 organizations, all twenty spend money on trying to get you to give more. If you give to two, the other eighteen can concentrate their efforts on others, and you will be able to concentrate giving to the two organizations.
Oh, and I give anonymously. I would like to say that I do so because of Bible scripture ("But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.", Mat 6:3). It isn't. Most organizations put out an annual report, and if you give more than a certain amount, your name is put in the report (unless you tell them that you want your donation to be anonymous). Some development people scan annual reports to get leads. If one gives to one organization, you know the person is a giver. So you ask. And, since I am concentrating efforts, I don't want to know. I might change my mind.
And you may have guessed, I am not giving to St. Jude's. Madelyn is a cutie pie and all, but I do give locally.
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