The community of Calabasas, CA has been recognized for their donations towards disease research and awareness for years, and both Calabasas and fellow neighbors continue to raise funds at great numbers. However, new statistics are showing that our choices of funding select organizations are actually not for the leading causes of death in the United States. The Chicago Phoenix posted an article “Where We Donate Versus Diseases That Killed Us” that show our donations and where they are going. Gerald Farness, author of this article, depicts the graph use you see below.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in a study conducted in 2011, the leading cause of death is Heart Disease, followed by COPD, Diabetes, Breast Cancer, and at the very bottom, Motor Neuron Disease (ALS). If we look at the money raised, breast cancer has accumulated the most money, with $257.85 million. Following that is Prostate Cancer with $147 million followed by Heart Disease with $54.1 million. At the bottom of that list is Suicide, collecting $3.2 million.
I spoke with Chris Cruz, a residence of the San Fernando Valley for five years, to ask him if he donates and if so, what drives his decision to choose a specific charity. He said, “I donate based upon personal feelings. Like prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men, so being a guy I donate for something in my own reality”.
I asked Nancy Ellen, mother of one and resident of Calabasas for twenty years, the same question. She told me, “The most publicized charity is what I contribute to because you hear more about it. They have more fundraisers and you hear more stories. Unless there is a relative you know with a specific illness, you normally wouldn’t be aware of these other issues.”
What drives you to donate to your charity of choice?