CAF America Connections Blog

World Cancer Day 2016: Uniting for a Cure

February 4, 2016

IMG_4782Cancer, one of the world’s most dreadful diseases takes the loved ones of millions every year, among them multiple beloved celebrities within just the first few weeks of 2016. As we recognize World Cancer Day on February 4th, we cannot help but hope that the time when humanity can breathe a sigh of relief is approaching and put our faith in the success of the ongoing efforts to rid the world of this disease.

The timing of these losses have coincided with a renewed and strengthened response from President Obama and Vice President Biden to devote substantial resources and time to eradicate the disease “once and for all”, to the tune of $5.21 billion in FY 2016, as well as asking Congress for an additional $1 billion for Biden’s new “moonshot” program. Along with the government taking this renewed effort, the philanthropic sector continues to be committed to being a major part of the solution.

The charitable sub-sector that focuses on cancer is massive, not only in the amount of money that goes to it, but also the number of nonprofits that have cancer within their missions. Dr. Margaret Cuomo (sister to NY governor, Andrew Cuomo), in her 2013 book A World Without Cancer, cites that “some 260 nonprofit organizations in the United States have dedicated themselves to cancer — more than the number established for heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke combined. Together, these 260 organizations have budgets that top $2.2 billion” (globally, it is estimated that spending on cancer has reached $100 billion a year).

The rise of the cancer charity has led to a wide array of developments within the philanthropic sector. Perhaps no other cause has garnered such levels of public commitment and involvement, resulting in charities both large and small organizing marathons and other extensive public events. Cancer charities have been paving the way in how to engage large groups of people by putting the cause at the center of their fundraising and planning, instead of the organization itself. They have also made impressive innovations in terms of forging partnerships to raise awareness and funds, such as Laura Mercier’s products that support ovarian cancer research.

Today on World Cancer Day we applaud the initiative of this extensive area of philanthropy  to bring a defined hope to cure cancer. In spite of its overwhelming scope and undiscriminating reach, humanity has come a step closer to succeeding as so many organizations that fight cancer have recognized that a spirit of collaboration will be necessary to make real and impactful progress. As the U.K. director of the Movember Foundation said today in her call for cancer charities to unite, “[…] ultimately it is the cause that will benefit most through this partnership, as the message will have come through clearer and louder than ever before. We have reminded people that cancer is a common, shared enemy we face – and one we can and will beat if we continue to unite against it”.

As the world reinforces its support for the cause on World Cancer Day, it is important to recognize that united we stand a better chance in winning the battle against cancer.

To see some of the great impact our donors have had championing the cause, we recommend reading this Story of Philanthropy about Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund: Raising awareness and funding research for ovarian cancer.

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