Even though I don’t exactly put the “fan” in “fanatic,” I consider myself a member of Red Sox Nation, so I’ve been glued to my tube this past week, watching the World Series. (Might I just add: YIPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!) But don’t worry, Cardinal or Yankee fans, this post isn’t about baseball. It’s about something that occurred during Game Four, the Stand Up 2 Cancer Night.
Even given how little TV I watch, I had heard of SU2C, with its cool logo.
Founded five years ago and spearheaded by members of the media and entertainment industry, SU2C’s mission (says Wikipedia) is “to cut down on the amount of time promising research takes in progressing from discovery through clinical trials and out onto the market.” In other words, to streamline the movement of donations to effects on actual cancer patients.
For anyone connected to cancer–which, face it, is ALL of us–this is a good goal. And on Monday night, the goodness of this goal was very much in evidence, when, during the Seventh Inning Stretch in St. Louis, every player, coach, bat girl, and fan stood up holding a sign with the name of the person(s) they were standing up for. “Grandma.” “My darling Teri.” “The Johnson Family.” These were some of the signs I read. Most moving of all, to me, was seeing a line of black-clad umpires, those impersonal beings, solemnly raising their signs.
I tried to find a public-domain picture of this for my blog, but all I could find were web connections. However, when I looked for images of SU2C, here’s what dominated:
Beautiful people and beautiful boots. This is a charity with high appeal, and you can see why.
Now, a contrast. I was recently reading my friend Iris’s blog, http://bloggerbyconvincement.blogspot.com/2013/10/friendly-water.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bloggerbyconvincement+%28bloggerbyconvincement%29
and came upon her description of Friendly Water For the World. They’re a group of Quakers who raise money for low-tech filters for clean drinking water in parts of the developing world. In their words…
- Every day, 2,000 children die from diarrhea caused by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.
- Friendly Water for the World BioSand Water Filters offer an elegantly simple technology that can remove up to 95 – 99% of bacteria and viruses, amoebae, protozoa, and worms, as well as metals, providing clean water for the family. More than 3.6 million people now have access to BioSand-filtered water through installations in homes, schools, orphanages, hostels, and clinics in 66 countries.
- After 70% of the residents in the Bomet Region of Kenya were able to access BioSand Water Filters, and combined with local community sanitation efforts, dysentery cases in the local hospital declined by 85%.
- Filters are inexpensive, durable, and made of locally available materials (sand, gravel, and cement). A Filter that provides clean water for a family costs approximately $50 and will work for up to 30 years with almost no maintenance needed. Fabricating and installing BioSand Water Filters is a proven local micro-business that can and does create local jobs and generates needed income. We help people help themselves.
- We currently have projects in Kenya, Burundi, India, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Uganda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Honduras, and we are expanding.
Here’s what struck me: no movie stars. No Friendly Waters Shop (although, if you donate $75 or more, they do promise you a handmade silk scarf if you want one). No national telethon. No World Series Stand Up To Dirty Water Night.
Trust me: I am NOT trying to take anything away from the value of involving people in the fight against cancer. We all have someone–close family member, friend, maybe ourself–directly involved in that fight. But the “fight” itself is so…nebulous. $100 for cancer research buys…who knows? Certainly it buys a good feeling, and fellowship in a wonderful, cross-cutting American community. But $100 for water filters buys water filters. Several of ’em, each capable of saving the lives of an entire family of children.
Am I saying don’t support SU2C? Of COURSE not. It does my heart good to see so many disparate people coming together to support something larger than themselves.
What I am saying is…Stand Up To Cancer, buy the shirt and the cute boots. (They are cute!) And then…keep your eyes out for other causes to stand up for–causes which might not have Katie Couric and the St. Louis Cardinals on their side. You might not always be able to buy cute boots in the name of helping your fellow humans. But your dollars might have a LOT more impact.
What do you think? Is there a spillover effect of mass-popular charities, or do you think they siphon attention and $$ away from other causes? Or is the psychic satisfaction of donating more important that the donation itself? Let us hear!