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I delivered one of the most difficult messages I’ve had in years recently.  No, it wasn’t the wedding I did.  That was great (the wedding was great, my sermon was fine).  No, it wasn’t church.  That was a huge blessing.  It was when I spoke to kickoff the Relay for Life in Penn Hills (which turned out to be a huge blessing as well).

It started when I was asked to speak.  I kind of cringed.  Well, I had to check my schedule first and it was open (well, crammed but open for that time slot).  Why did I cringe?  Well, I was conflicted.  You see, those that asked me and those that would be there have all been great supporters of our journey with Trey.  They too are brothers and sisters in a fight against cancer.  No problems there.  The problem lies with The American Cancer Society.  I had to ask myself if I should speak.  Should I use it as a platform to explain why I’m not a supporter of the ACS?  Yet that wouldn’t be fair to those who asked me to speak.  No, my concern and calling was to those who were there that day and the battle that they are facing.  I did drop my website URL and hoped/hope that they would see this…who knows?  What could be so wrong with a great organization like the ACS?  Allow me to explain.

First off, I’m not going on an epic rant against them.  That was already done here.  The ACS states that although they only give 1% of it’s funding toward pediatric cancer it’s because only 1% of all cancer patients fall in the pediatric range (or something to that fact).  Many others have a problem with the fact that 25% of their income goes toward overhead (salaries, etc.).  Yet others, and many of the same, have problems with the CEO making more than a million dollars/year.  I’m not a fan of any of the above but my main problem is elsewhere.

The ACS continually uses (very appropriate word choice) children in their promotional materials.  While they can justify the 1% giving I can’t see how they justify the manipulative  nature of using the images of kids in far greater fashion in their publications/advertising.  It is way way way above 1% of their images.  What does that lead people to believe?  It says, “Your money will help find a cure so that kids won’t suffer anymore.”  Well, about 1% of that is true.

Here’s where the conflict really sets in.  I have had several people “Relay” for Trey.  They raised money, participated in 24 hours of walking laps, and did it all in the name of Trey.  I wonder each time I see someone who does this, “Do they know?”  Do they know that if they raised $1000 that $10 went to pediatric cancer research and programs?  Do they know that $250 went toward overhead costs?  Do they know that there are other organizations that give 95% or more of the money that is raised to pediatric cancer research and programs?

The one thing that they can know for sure is that the thought, effort, intention, and support is GREATLY appreciated and humbling.  It is exactly why I wonder if they know those other things.  Also, please hear this.  I am not begrudging the money that is raised for other cancers.  Looking around the field as I spoke I saw the same warrior spirit that I see in my son (and our entire Team Mitlo for that matter).  Cancer knows no boundaries and attacks all types of people in oh too many ways.

Lastly, and this goes in 100 directions if you’d like, where does your time/money/efforts go?  Not just your fundraising for your favorite cause but for your time, your investments, yes your giving/and even (gasp) your tax dollars?  I could break each one down but I don’t think I need to or that it would be helpful.  One of them stood out to you.  That’s the one to which you should pay a bit (or a lot of a bit) more attention.  That’s kind of how God works.  He speaks to us/you in a way that is directly to your heart and wants you to choose what is best.  Not that it makes you better than anyone else or more lovable to Him.  No, it’s because He actually loves you and wants what is best for you.  Then, when you have been loved and blessed, you are at your best to love and serve others.


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