Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why standing up to cancer matters


Channel 4 was recently the host of an important charity gala, Stand Up to Cancer. While the evening itself was the usual mix of entertainment interspersed with sob stories and begging, the amount raised was around £6.5 million on the night. Not bad at all, and every penny counts.

But compared to something like Comic/Sport Relief, it was small fry. How much did they raise last time on the day? Over £50 million (£50,447,197 to be precise). Helping to cure a disease that causes so much suffering all around the world in all its ugly guises is not as important, apparently.

No Red Nose Day events with people getting dressed up, no endless stream of programs where celebrities dance for charity, no Pudsey bear to cuddle, no celebrities swimming, running or cycling anywhere. Not that Comic/Sport Relief or Children in Need aren't worthy charities that do a lot of good, because they are and they do. (Arguments have been made about whether or not they're basically subsidising African war lords, but I'm not clued up on that subject to say either way. And they should run Comic Relief every year instead of any other year, because telethons based on sports ... well, ugh, no thank you.)

It's just that trying to find a cure for cancer is fucking important to all of us. 9 out of 10 will either get cancer themselves at some point or know someone that have it, isn't that what they say?

Well, why the hell not?

I've lost loved ones to cancer. People I love have lost their loved ones to cancer. Maybe that's the reason for why the relative obscurity of this charity gala, and the disappointing sum total, bothers me so much. For once, a charity gala where the question was "how much do we give them?" rather than "do we cave in to their heavy-handed guilt-tripping or not?" But I digress.

Maybe the subject is too uncomfortable and people don't want to be reminded that next time it might be their turn, or someone they love. Or maybe the show didn't guilt-trip the viewers enough to open their purses. Then again, the show itself wasn't that great, and a whole evening with Davina, the Tooth Fairy and Chiselchin wasn't my idea of fab telly, but we still watched it. And donated.

A loved one of a loved one has recently been diagnosed, and with the advancements in medicine thanks to organisations like Cancer Research, hopefully he'll get his health back. I have every finger crossed for him and he and my friend are constantly in my thoughts. There's sod all I can do to actually help them and make him better, no matter how much I want to, but supporting Cancer Research is at least something.

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