"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

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"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Taking the Right Steps


Guaranteed you know by now that I've been collecting money for Movember. It's a popular campaign where men are encouraged to grow moustaches as a way of sparking conversation about men's health and wellbeing. So far over raised over $350 dollars, which isn't bad for someone who's just asking his friends and family for money. I think it's a really worthwhile cause and if you'd like to help out, there's a link on the right hand side of the page that will take you there. As added incentive, here's a photo of how disgusting I've opted to look for a whole month in the name of charity. Don't make me look like this for nothing.


But that's not the main reason for this post today. I got an email recently inviting me to take part in a campaign by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It's called "Trek Towards a Cure" and aims to raise money by hiking through Peru for 12 days. Their aim is to have no deaths in Australia caused by breast cancer by 2030.

You might have just asked yourself the same question as me - how does hiking through Peru raise money for breast cancer? So far I've found no satisfactory reason. No discernible link between sightseeing in Peru and ending deaths by breast cancer. So could it possibly be worth going? I want to do it, but I'm not sure if I should. There are a number of things to take into consideration. I've listed them here so I can get your opinion...


  • The trek doesn't take place until November next year, which gives my friends and family time to recover from my pestering during Movember this year.
  • It will cost $770 to register for the trek, and $6600 to cover travel costs. This amount can be fundraised.
  • If I've only managed to raise between 300-400 dollars for Movember this year, how am I supposed to raise six-and-a-half grand next year? And if by some miracle I manage to raise that money, what's left to actually go towards the cause?
  • The foundation says their target is to raise an extra $4000 per person on top of the $6600 travel costs that will actually be donated.
  • I've also been told that the people taking part get together and brainstorm ideas to raise the money. Things like sausage sizzles, movie nights etc generally raise a fair bit of money for the cause.
  • If I was required to pay this out of my own money, I wouldn't do it. I'm saving up for my own house, and there's no way I'd pay for a big international trip with my own money before then.
  • Am I basically asking the public to pay for me to go on holiday?
Thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.

Michael :)

40 comments:

  1. It is a really tricky question. I tend not to support fund raisers for any particular type of cancer. Cancer is cancer is cancer. They all suck, and any death is too many. I like to donate to a more generic research project - and worry that some of the less sexy cancers miss out. Breast cancer gets funding/bowel cancer misses out sort of thing.
    Just the same, any money raised is a plus.
    Go with what feels right for you.

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    1. I don't mind looking at specific charities because I donate to a different one each week. They all get attention eventually :)

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  2. Frankly, if you're already having doubts it's probably better to bow out... your little voice of reason is trying to tell you something is off. Wouldn't it be better (if not as much fun) to have the sausage sizzles, etc... and give the money directly to cancer research? Then, after you've gotten your house go on a much-deserved holiday.

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    1. Yeah that would be better. It's a shame though :P

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  3. Truthfully and just my opinion, I won't ever give a dime to cancer research whether it's walk for a cure in Peru or walk for a cure down the street. Why? Because half of what they make is spent on advertising for their next "cure cancer" campaign and the other half is spent on making more drugs that do nothing but pollute the body and mask symptoms. In all the years they have been doing their so called fundraising there is still just as much cancer as ever and the death rate is almost the same from it, it's a little better than it was. But when you bring in billions in "cure" money a year for decades, that is umm pathetic. Nothing has been done, been totting "break throughs" for years and still nadda. So they can stuff it.

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    1. Interesting perspective. Do you ever give to other charities like feeding the homeless etc?

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    2. While I already agreed with Pat, I'm going to answer this one too. I do give to local charities. Small ones where I know my donation is actually being used towards good. Health and Beauty to the homeless shelter, money to the young, single mothers homes, business attire to the women's shelter that helps underprivileged women reenter the workforce, food bank donations (though after seeing they took a lot of our donations to the local work release jail, where inmates are required to pay for their room and board, I am rethinking this one. Food bank should not give to state funded and inmate funded programs. It should go towards the needy), and every year we adopt children to buy holiday gifts for. I say anyone who wants to donate should do their research first. Not just assume every cause is worthy and their money is going to be well spent.

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    3. That's very admirable. I was impressed to hear earlier this month that the organizers of Movember weren't sending out welcome packs to registrants unless they were requested so that they could save a bit more money for the cause. If we want receipts etc, we have to go to the website and print them off ourselves.

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    4. The halloween nazi agrees with me, the cat thinks that is a first lol

      Oh yeah, other things I do. done the adopt a family at christmas, gave to foodbank, women's shelter and of course animal groups, because they do what they say and you can see it. The big cancer ones just ask for more and more. When the first "cure" thing is done, the next one ramps up.

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    5. It's interesting hearing what some people are morally opposed to. I heard a lot of people complaining about the ALS ice bucket challenge because you shouldn't have to donate as a punishment.

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    6. Since this kind of topic was already started, all I'm going to say is that I don't give with my money because in many cases, with all of the "overhead," you can end up donating $100 toward a charity and after everything is skimmed for overhead/operations/whatever you end up giving only like $10-20 toward the actual cause itself, which I don't agree with.

      Instead, I donate my time, which I personally deem more valuable and more effective. Plus, I'm not just throwing money at something. I know where it's all going. The wife and I take part in a program called Hotdogs for the Homeless where we take out some time to not just feed the homeless but talk to them, see where they're staying, see how we can help them get back on their feet, etc. And the wife also volunteers at the local hospital a lot. Our dog is a certified service dog and she uses him to bring comfort to sick/dying patients. He also has his own business card, which is hilarious because I don't even have my own business card but my dog does. My dog is more business professional than I am.

      I say that not to be holier than thou. We don't ever tell anyone we do this because we don't want glory or attention. But I just wanted to answer your question about volunteering and say that those of us who don't give money aren't heartless people trying to justify being a tightwad, we just prefer to give in other ways. :)

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    7. Yeah I understand. I agree that time is more valuable than money. I don't feel like I have enough time to give, so I stick with money.

      I try to do nice things without letting anyone know, but it's hard. Whenever I donate to a friend's cause, I'm always itching to tell them. But I remind myself I'm not doing it for the credit ;)

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    8. My wife's more into it than I am (I don't have a lot of time, either), so I only do it once per week for about 1-2 hours max.

      I don't think there's anything wrong with giving money. Just make sure you find out where that money's going before you donate.

      Oh, and I don't think there's anything wrong with telling your friends, either. But some of the people we volunteer with who spend half their time taking selfies and posting it to Facebook so they can say OMG aren't we suuuuch good people? ...They can all get hit by buses.

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  4. I think the cause is worthy, but I'm not sure this trip is the best way to go about raising money for it. Seems like there ought to be easier ways. Good luck to you whatever you decide.

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  5. That is a very large amount of money to be fundraised just to cover the trip. Say you are able to collect that high amount, will you be able to collect more. And by more I mean enough to justify spending donars dollars on an expedition??

    Let us know what you decide. Id love to see those pictures!!

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    1. Yeah that's the biggest factor for me. I feel like the only reason I want to go is so that I can visit South America.

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  6. Since breast cancer runs in my family (grandma passed away from in in her early 40's) I want to applaud you for trying to bring awareness to the issue. However, I am with Pat on this one. Big fundraising usually means most of the money goes towards corporate overhead, and spending for the next fundraiser. Only a very small portion actually goes towards research for a cure. I refuse to buy pink ribbon items also because it is usually unclear where and how the funds are going to be spent. You can read a little about that issue here http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/before-you-buy/.

    I think if you wanted to go on a trip, you could save the money for yourself, and maybe dedicate sidebar space on the blog towards the cancer centers that are most important to you. JMO :)

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    1. Yeah I guess my instincts were right on this one. It's a very inefficient way of getting to the cause.

      However, before I pass judgement on the amount of money that goes to marketing, I'd want to compare the NBCF to other breast cancer funds to see who actually donates more. It could be that all the extra funds that are kept for marketing pays off in the long run.

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  7. I think the fact you are asking for advice seems to indicate you are having strong doubts about it, or else you would just embark on it like your other adventures. Seems like too much of a risk to me, so I wouldn't recommend it. However, I am usually wrong about everything so maybe you should just do the opposite of what I say. On the other hand, if I am wrong about everything, maybe I am also wrong when I said to do the exact opposite of what my advice is. In conclusion, you should probably just not listen to me.

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    1. Or should I??

      Nah, by now I've realized that the only reason I wanted to do it was to get a free trip to Peru. Not very ethical ;)

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  8. My first thought is that a Sausage Sizzle sounds scandalous. It also sounds like an odd way to earn money. I think you ask the right questions. I'm wondering if there's a way to connect with people who've done the trip/hike, to get their perspectives?

    I'll go visit your campaign and make a donation now. I didn't know what the mustache thing was all about, but it's a very worthy cause. To further help support you, I won't shave my face at all this month...or ever, unless, for some very odd reason, I have to.

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    1. Wow, that's dedication! Thanks Robyn :)

      I thought they had sausage sizzles in America? You set up in front of a hardware store or similar public place, cook up a whole bunch of sausages on a barbecue and place them in bread, sometimes with onions. Charge people $2 a sausage and people come flocking. I know a guy who does it in front of an entertainment store on Saturdays and Sundays just to make money for himself. I hear he makes $300 a day doing it :P

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  9. I say plan your own trip to Peru. You could do it way cheaper than that, for one thing. And then in addition to that, you could also raise money to donate yourself. Because at the amounts they are talking about, really $10,000 if you were to raise the travel money and donation money they suggest, that would be like a part time job for the entire year prior to the trip, trying to raise all that.

    But Peru is on my bucket list, to hike the Incan trail, so I am definitely not encouraging you to forget the trip entirely.

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    1. It's on my bucket list to visit every continent. If I'm to plan my own trip to South America, I'd probably go to Brazil.

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  10. First off, I like your Movember look! Here we have No-Shave November which can get pretty unruly for guys with heavy beards. Lots of good advice here! I also think a better deal to Peru might come along someday. In the meantime, you could still donate to breast cancer. All the best on whatever you decide.

    Julie

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    1. I've been donating a tenth of my savings to a different charity each week for a while. NBCF has been one of them.

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  11. Oh wow, that's so kind of you to collect all that money. Have a lovely weekend.

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  12. Most of my donated money goes towards an organization called SOFT. My nephew that's 4 has a chromosome issue - too much of the 18th - it's called Trisomy 18. Anyhow SOFT helps raise funds for research. My mom, sister, and a different nephew are all carriers to pass on Trisomy 18. It's an ugly disease. Most people that have Trisomy 18 don't live at all. They don't even make it into the world. I'm hoping one day doctors can figure out more with Trisomy 18.

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    1. I promise, the next donation I make after Movember finishes will be to SOFT.

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  13. A lot of South Americans say Peru is a depressing place. I would give the money to cancer research and go to Tobago instead.

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    1. Just Tobago? I heard it's kind of a package deal with Trinidad.

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  14. I'm a local donater too. There is always someone right here in my community whose suffering. I'm not opposed to the other sorts of charities, but I know when I see a post for say a spaghetti dinner for someone in my community- 100% of my money goes to help the family.

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    1. Yeah, I prioritize friends' causes over established charities.

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  15. It is a good cause, and you're nice to promote and donate. My oldest is in the military and said the first thing he's doing when he gets out is growing some face hair. ;) His wife says nuh uh, no way. Maybe it'll be Nov. when he gets out next year, and he'll have a ready-made/good-cause excuse. :)

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    1. Hahahait's nice to be able to use the 'it's for a good cause' line.

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  16. You asked about SOFT. Their website is here: trisomy.org it's not a pretty website, but I like their cause. These kids have no chance of being surgery free, many of them can't talk, some can't walk, and a lot of them get cancer of some kind. SOFT supports all chromosome disorders. They have a UK version of it to: soft.org.uk

    I started donating to the organization because my sister wanted that over gifts. My nephew has limited play, and older brothers to pass things down to him. Really the only things he needs are super expensive. His swing cost $700, and his stander chair was way more than that.

    Any organization that helps something is great to donate to. It's nice when you know someone that it effects directly. that makes it all the more meaningful.

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    1. I agree, and your passion for this particular charity is infectious :)

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