Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bald face truth

I'll always have my marshmallow hat
to keep my head warm.
I bitch about a lot of things. From the overuse of the word awesome, to the misuse of my tax dollars, to bad drivers, poor customer service, and icy cold weather. On a near daily basis I find something to get annoyed about enough to post a snarky comment on facebook, or go on a mini rant to my co-workers, friends and family.

On a day when I posted on facebook my annoyance with people using the words "reach out" instead of more direct and active verbs, I came across an editing assignment that stopped me in my tracks. It was a press release to be included in the Highwood Great Pumpkin Fest special section. It was for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
This was the original paragraph:


St. Baldrick’s funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Worldwide, more than 175,000 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer each year – that equates to one child diagnosed every 3 minutes. In the US, the cure rate for childhood cancer is 80% - which means that one in every five children diagnosed with cancer will not survive. Even so, childhood cancer research funding accounts for less than 4% of all cancer research funding allotted by the federal government. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has funded more than $125MM in childhood cancer research grants and in 2013, has raised more than $32 million, with more than 1,300 events registered and more than 57,000 shavees. 


Paragraphs packed with numbers are big ol' waving red flags for editors, especially when they don't contain a "sez who?" A quick google search did not immediately verify any of these facts. When I say quick, I mean a 30 second search. I didn't feel like devoting a lot of time to fact checking a press release when I could be ranting on facebook. So, I emailed the PR firm who sent the story.
The response came from the senior director for corporate relations at St. Baldrick's Foundation. Line by line she had reputable attribution for every sentence.

Edited:

St. Baldrick’s funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government, according to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Worldwide, more than 175,000 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer each year — that equates to one child diagnosed every three minutes, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., the cure rate for childhood cancer is 80 percent, which means that one in every five children diagnosed with cancer will not survive, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Even so, childhood cancer research funding accounts for less than 4 percent of all cancer research funding allotted by the federal government, according to the National Cancer Institute. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has funded more than $125 million in childhood cancer research grants and in 2013, has raised more than $32 million, with more than 1,300 events registered and more than 57,000 shavees, according to the foundation.

I was disappointed. I had hoped these were exaggerations to tug at the heartstrings. But those are the facts.  Many kids get cancer. Many are not cured.
I did a little more google research, this time into St. Baldrick's Foundation. I spent more than 30 seconds this time. Charitynavigator.org and the bbb.org give it good reports, the Better Business Bureau lists it as an accredited charity. Charity Navigator reports more than 80 percent of it's funds go to programs.
I spent more than 30 seconds researching St. Baldricks, and I'm devoting a rare blog post to it for one reason: I'm thinking of shaving my head for the cause.
But, I need your help. I have a goal in mind: $2,000. I didn't have this goal in mind originally, but one of my facebook friends suggested it and pledged the first $20 (thanks Russ Proctor!).



As I stated earlier, I complain a lot. I've even bitched about my own health. And I've certainly bitched about my hair. I won't miss it.
Want to see me bald for a good reason? Let me know. If I get enough interest I'll start a donation page with StBaldricks.org.







3 comments:

  1. Looking forward to being one of the first pledges on your St. Baldrick's page!

    ReplyDelete