Letters to the Editor

Before donating, do your homework

In the coming weeks, our schools, banks, department stores and other businesses will be soliciting donations for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.

In the spring, many businesses and schools also raised funds for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. It seems everywhere you turn, there are fundraisers for the American Cancer Society. If you are considering donating to the American Cancer Society because you want to help those who are battling cancer, please do some research and investigate exactly how your donations are used.

According to the ACS website’s 2014 spending data, $144 million was spent on cancer research versus $177 million spent on fundraising expenses — though money was also spent on patient support, prevention information and management, among other areas.

And when asked how donations are used, the American Cancer Society will tell you it coordinates two main programs for cancer patients: a transportation program and a Look Good Feel Better program. Both of these programs are run by volunteers, and the cost to the ACS, if any, is negligible.

The ACS also promotes its patient lodging program, Hope Lodge, for patients who travel for treatment, but it does not even have a lodge at MD Anderson Cancer Center, which is ranked No. 1 for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals list.

If you want to help, I suggest you do your homework before donating to an organization.

Mary Dee Benton