Since April, I have been honoured to be a member of the Huron Soph Team’s charity initiatives. A tradition amongst the orientation teams across Western is collecting bottles for its bottle drive over the summer to raise money for cancer research. This is a charity initiative that I am passionate about, with my family losing a close friend a year ago to the disease and my Grandmother who was taken before her time when my mother was my age and a Huron student in history herself. It is a disease that is disturbingly prevalent and I know many people I’m close to have their own horror stories of how cancer has taken has taken away a loved one.
The thing that really scares the shit out of me is how much of an equal opportunity killer it is. Cases arise every day. I’m terrified to think about who in fifty years time that I know now may obtain a form of cancer or will have had to lose several friends and family along the way through their life’s journey to it. One thing that being a Western student has taught me is that everyone has their own cancer nightmare and they hate it. The great thing about Western is that it is such an amazing environment that it encourages people to spin that hatred into passion and attempt to truly make a difference.
I am writing this because of a scary little Google search I made about ten minutes ago. Huron has just hit the $1,000 mark with its bottle drive, and I could not possibly be more proud of my team than I am right now. I suggested the goal of $1,000 because of all the little zeroes at the end. After all, collecting the equivalent of 10,000 bottles is no small feat. Tonight, I wanted to see what $1,000 could do in the fight against cancer. While looking for some rateable figures I stumbled upon the American National Cancer Institute list of how much funding each type of cancers received in 2008. You can read the list here. Now those are some scary numbers, especially given no cure exists. $572.6 million for breast cancer, $110.8 million for melanoma, $247.6 million for lung cancer. The numbers are astronomically high.
My team of 35 dedicated Huron sophs has raised $1,000 in just empty bottles, something that many people just throw away. Little things can easily make a big splash, and friends of the Huron community have shown that. Those two beers I knocked back last night while watching “Breaking Bad” last night equates to twenty-cents towards cancer research. A friend’s Canada Day party: $9.80. A teammate’s parents having multiple backyard wine parties throughout the summer $13.80. The entirety of the Huron’s Beaver Dam bar night empties for the year: $170. People love to give little amounts to big causes if they know about it, and that is what truly makes the difference.
On average, a round of treatment for cancer in Canada costs $60,000, This can be broken down further as well. A pill of filgrastim, a drug that tackles the side effects of chemotherapy costs $1,600 per month. One anti-nausea pill can cost $23 a pill. That pill can make a cancer patient forget about their sickness for just a little while, which must feel like the greatest gift in the world. With $23 providing some temporary relief, $1,000 can really go a long way.
It is the little things that help make a huge difference. We turned one bottle into ten thousand in just three months. Unfortunately cancer will not be cured by instantly by any one fundraising initiative but by fostering the people-focused environment that Western and Huron has and applying that personal connection with every donation, no matter the size, the life of once cancer patient can be made easier. So donate a couple of bottles to your constituencies soph team. I guarantee they will appreciate it and will be more than willing to take it as I know that they have the same mentality that I do. I believe that that if for even one second, Western provides a single cancer patient some ease of mind and a helping hand, then cancer has lost its fruitless battle as life and determination has overcome it. That will gives us the time to get the rest of the time and money needed to deliver cancer a killing blow.
DISCLAIMER: I understand that the stats I have gathered may be outdated. I believe ballpark figures are good enough to get the point across that cancer sucks and humankind rocks and will win.