For years I used to watch Jerry Lewis’s telethon for muscular dystrophy every Labor Day. Sure, it got schmatlzy and corny at times, but there was just something wonderful about seeing Jerry every year with his kids.
Sadly, the MDA seems to have made a couple terrible mistakes in the last few years. The first was the unceremonious way in which it let go of Jerry Lewis. I don’t care what Jerry Lewis did or said–after 40 years of what he gave to the organization, after him being largely responsible for $1.6 billion in donations, and after bringing the organization and its cause to such prominence, the very least they could have done was to have given his a respectable and respectful send-off. What was once an iconic live event now seems to be relegated to a pre-taped program. Somebody dropped the ball. Regardless of this, it’s important to remember that there are still those suffering from MD that need your help.
The folks at MDA should probably take a few notes from the folks at Stand Up to Cancer. In many ways, the telecast set to air on September 7 on all four major networks as well as a ton of cable stations (BIO, E!, ENCORE, HBO, HBO Latino, ION Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Logo, MLB Network, mun2, Palladia, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, STARZ, STYLE, TBS and VH1) feels like the metaphysical successor to what MDA did for so many years. It’ll feature performances and appearances from some of the country’s top celebrities, from Taylor Swift to Coldplay to Alicia Keys.
The cause is one that really hits home for me. I lost my mom to cancer years ago. By the grace of God, I also had cancer but made a full recovery. Just a few weeks ago, my fiance’s best friend was diagnosed with a very severe form of cancer. My boss’s brother in law is in the final stages of his fight.
Chances are that cancer has affected you as well. For 50 years our government has been funding research, but while some progress has been made the truth is a lot of that government funding ends up in bureaucrazy and red tape. If Charity Navigator scrutinized how much of our tax dollars that are directed towards charity actually makes it to the charity, I have a feeling Uncle Sam would get a failing grade even worse than the worst-run charities.
That’s why SU2C’s approach is incredibly exciting. In their own words, SU2C “was founded on the belief that we are at a pivotal juncture with the potential for transformative progress in cancer research because of two trends: breakthroughs made in our understanding of the basic science of cancer, and technological advances that enable us to translate them into new treatments. Today’s cancer researchers need additional funding to fulfill the promise of life-saving discoveries, and Stand Up To Cancer engages the public to support their work.”
This year’s telecast marks the third “telethon” that will be taking over the airwaves, the first being in 2008 and the second in 2010. Since the first SU2C telecast in 2008, the organization has made grants to seven “dream teams” that are focusing on cutting-edge innovations to cancer research: the SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team, the SU2C Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team, the SU2C PI3K Pathway Dream Team, the SU2C Breast Cancer Dream Team, the SU2C Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Chip Dream Team, the SU2C-MRA Melanoma Dream Team and the SU2C-PCF Prostate Dream Team.
In addition to donations, one very tangible way you can support SU2C is by shopping their online store. Unlike so many other charity promotional items that seem to skimp when designing their promotional items, SU2C’s online store contains clothes, jewelry, activewear, and designer collections that make amazing gifts. Not only are the gifts useful and beautiful, more importantly they’re conversation starters. When I wear my SU2C shirt, people sometimes ask me what it is. I tell them all about Su2C’s innovative approach to fund raising and project funding. Invariably we start to talk about a loved on who has cancer or who was lost to cancer. And it inspires giving.
So tune in Friday September 7 at 8:00 PM and donate generously so we can put an end to the scourge of cancer.