The Truth 365 has launched a week-long selfie campaign aimed squarely at the National Cancer Institute, which allocates a mere 4% of its funding to pediatric cancer research. My Facebook feed is filled with children–those still fighting, those who are NED, or those who are related to children who have died from the disease–holding a sign that says “More than 4.”
It’s a powerful campaign, not just for its message, but because it’s grounded in the children. Children whose lives have been touched by the awful world of cancer.
It appears that the people who work at the National Cancer Institute are not too happy with the campaign, standing firmly in their belief that they are doing their part and the children and their families are wrong to insinuate otherwise. They believe that the allocation of 4% is appropriate, if not inflated, according to a scientist who provides support for the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics of the National Cancer Institute, Childhood Cancer Research. According to this scientist (unofficially), childhood cancer research appears to get 5 times its fair share of federal funding for research. In fact, these were his words (taken from a post on The Truth 365’s Facebook feed):
“Given that less than 1% of all cancers affect people younger than 20 why is 4% not enough? In 2014, 855,220 men and 810,320 women were diagnosed with cancer, while 310,010 men and 275,710 DIED. So childhood cancers at 13,500 represent about 0.8% of the total but absorb 4% of funding. That looks like 5x overfunding if you assume proportionality is equitable. So there are non sequiturs in the unsupported assertions.”
Forget about the fact that this man just swept 13,500 children under the rug as if they don’t matter. Forget about the fact that these children won’t get the chance to grow up and even have the chance of being affected by the cancers that these 275,710 adults died from. Forget about the fact that unlike adults, when a 7-year-old, for example, dies, that’s a loss of, on average, 70 years of life lost. To a disease for which the only treatment is often chemotherapies that are over 30 years old and created for adults.
Even if you forget all that, how can you forget that at the heart of this campaign are CHILDREN? Children who are suffering from cancer and its treatment. Search the hashtag #Morethan4 on Facebook, Tiwtter, and Instagram. You’ll see that the kids holding these signs are almost always bald, emaciated, traumatized children pleading with the NCI to allocate more money to saving their lives. And this guy’s response is that childhood cancer is OVERFUNDED? How can he sleep at night, knowing how his words betray each and every one of those children and their families?
Here’s the bottom line: One of every three children diagnosed with cancer will die from the disease or from the antiquated adult-based treatments used to cure it. So to those who say the success rate of curing kids with cancer is high so more funding for research is not needed, you’re grossly misinformed. And if childhood cancer is so rare that it doesn’t warrant more funding, why is my Facebook feed filled with children fighting one of the many 12 types (and 200 subtypes) of this awful disease: Neuroblastoma, DIPG (which has a 0% survival rate), osteosarcoma, hepatoblastoma, medullablastoma, Ewing’s Sarcoma, ALL, AML, AT/RT, and so many more?
Sorry, National Cancer Institute: 4% is NOT enough. So don’t dare try to justify it.