Never too early to start

Every year, my family back in Seattle/Tacoma participates in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser, in memory of my sister-in-law, Karen. The big event is in June, 80 days from now, but they’re looking for lots of donations, so I thought I’d mention it now — if you were planning to support cancer research anyway, funnel it through some good people with real fervor for the cause.

The reason our team relays is for Karen Myers, who lost her battle with melanoma skin cancer in 2004. We have team Karen’s Krew in her name to honor and remember her. It’s our goal to raise money and awareness so that others don’t have to go through everything that she did. Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own personal battle or through someone they love and this is your chance to help.

Every day, the American Cancer Society is helping us stay well by preventing cancer or finding it at its earliest, most treatable stages. They assist families in finding the best resources to help their friend or loved one deal with a diagnosis and their journey to get well. The American Cancer Society is also rallying communities (like ours!) through events like Relay For Life, to fight back and find cures for this disease.

Please join our team help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.


  1. madrone says

    I give ACS a hundred bucks for Relay every year, but am concerned that they apparently turned down a big donation from Foundation Beyond Belief. What became of that story?

  2. Mattir says

    Relay for Life? Really? Can we donate somewhere else in your SIL’s memory, please please please?

    I really don’t want to give money to people who won’t take money from icky atheist people.

  3. says

    I hate to say it, but not even for you, PZ. The Relay for Life, despite having garnered huge support from me in the past, is forever cast aside. I’ll support the universities doing the research instead.

  4. jayhawk says

    The latest I heard on the story was Relay from Life changed their policy to not allow national non-profit teams (presumably so they would not have to allow Foudation Beyond Belief), but then did allow national non-profit teams while essentially ignoring FBBs phone calls and emails.

    We need to get an update from Dale McGowan, but yes, I suggest another agency for our donations.

  5. mattand says

    You mean this Relay for Life?

    I dropped out of the RFL I was working with over their treatment of atheists, which I thought was a principled stance. Now you’re reminding your readers, some of which I hear are atheists, to give to this same organization?

    Nice application of reason there.

  6. Aquaria says

    Sorry, PZ, these people hate atheists, and actively and dishonestly tried to exclude them.

    Not in several billion years will I give a dime to ACS.

  7. mattand says


    Maybe. I would hope so, as it’s the only logical explanation for making such a lubricous request. Particularly given what a shit storm that whole incident kicked up in the atheist community.

  8. herb says

    Way too much money being diverted to the “CURE’ or “TREATMENT” aspect.

    I think we need to attack the “KNOWN CAUSES” and work at PREVENTION…as a cancer survivor,I’d prefer toi have not had the cancer and the cure was pretty rudimentary!

  9. keenacat says

    for most cancers, sadly, we lack knowedge of actual causes (as opposed to mere risk factors). And even if we have knowledge of actual causes (like smoking for certain kinds of lung cancer or HPV for anal and cervical carcinomas) and know what to do to prevent it, there is still a huge set of people who are incompliant with prevention measures.
    Also, a lot of cancers are mainly linked to old age or genetic factors. There is no meaningful prevention possible for these conditions.

  10. Matt Penfold says

    I think we need to attack the “KNOWN CAUSES” and work at PREVENTION…as a cancer survivor,I’d prefer toi have not had the cancer and the cure was pretty rudimentary!

    The problem is that the causes of cancer are very difficult to pin down. Genetics clearly plays a role, as does environment.

    There are some breast cancers that are almost entirely genetic in cause, and a person unlucky enough to have the “bad” genes is almost certain to develop cancer. So certain that it has become routine to offer these unlucky women breast removal before they develop the disease.

    However most cancers are not like that. They are partly down to genetics, and partly down to the environment. And the interactions are hugely complex. Given there are so many different types of cancer, and each will need to be investigated, it is simply not a realistic prospect to concentrate on prevention rather than cure. There will be so much data, and many of the effects of genes and environments will make such a small difference to the chances of getting cancer that it will be next to impossible to come up with meaningful results.

  11. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Not giving for all the reasons mentioned above, but another: I’m done ever giving any money to any organization (they’re mostly corporate behemoths) that talks about “raising awareness.” Everyone’s bloody fucking aware of cancer. That’s a stupid piece of jargon that needs to be handcuffed to “closure” and thrown into an abandoned well.

  12. says

    Points very well taken.

    I’ll talk to my brother and explain people’s objections, and ask if he’d be willing to consider adding an additional organization — one that even atheists can contribute to in good conscience.

    And not Susan G. Komen, either.

  13. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And they call you the “shrill” unreasonable one, PZ. Hey Hemant? Know a good way to be actually friendly (as opposed to burnishing a brand name? Taking criticism seriously without denigrating the critics to protect your ego.

  14. says

    I’m hoping this is a good place to ask for help. I just learnt about an hour ago that my mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It still hasn’t quite sunk in for me yet, but my parents are quite stressed and unhappy and uncertain about the future. My mum’s going for surgery in four to six weeks, followed by chemo.

    If anyone knows of good resources for families dealing with breast cancer (or any other cancers), please share them. I’m looking around online, but I feel a bit suspicious of some big breast cancer organisations. Also there are plenty of quacks out there. And I have studies and things of my own that take up my time.

    So if anyone has found any good resources, please share them. They would be much appreciated.

  15. Richard Austin says


    Looks like you’re in Australia? We’ve got a few people in those parts, but I’ll check with some folks (I work at a world-known cancer treatment center in the US) to see if we know anyone you can contact.

    I’ll post back here tomorrow or as soon as I get information.

    We’ve apparently worked with the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia, but that’s the only thing I can find in a quick search.

    *hugs* are offered if you want them from random strangers; hope I can get something more substantial.

  16. says

    Richard Austin:

    Thank you for the hugs, they are appreciated. I just learnt that the cancer is very serious and the surgeon is recommending at least one mastectomy. The other breast is being tested and the cancer looks invasive so now my mother is facing a double mastectomy and a lot of treatment if the cancer has spread. She’s obviously very shocked and upset. This was really sudden. We’re all trying to support her.

    And yes, I am in Australia. It would be good if you can recommend some really helpful organisations. I have a feeling that there are some cancer organisations out there that are more interested in business than in providing help. Obviously fundraising and research are important, but I’d prefer to contact an organisation that has been recommended by cancer survivors or doctors.

  17. Richard Austin says


    Okay, I got a few resources.

    The one that seemed to be most recommended was Life Force Cancer Foundation. Now, they’re located in Sydney and I’m not sure where you are – but with them and the rest, I’d recommend calling up and asking if they can help you get in contact with services in your area.

    The other one that seems to be good is Breast Cancer Network Australia. They’ve got a Sharing & Support section with lists to local support groups and resources. Again, even if they have nothing immediately in your area, most of these orgs will help put you in contact with something local.

    I hope one of these, or the one I posted earlier, can help you find some people to talk to and help out. The thing we usually find most helpful for patients is the peer or survivor support group, as it’s often comforting even just knowing there are real people you can call who have been through what you’re going through now and come out the other side (whether a patient or a caregiver).

    Good luck – to both of you. Feel free to pop back to FTB or into the Endless Thread (there are new incarnations all the time, but that’s the current one) if you need anything or just to talk.

  18. Richard Austin says


    One last thing (never type when you’re too tired to think – that’s not it, but it’s still good advice):

    Most hospitals and cancer centers should have a psychosocial group who can help – people like psychologists, social workers, resource navigators, etc., who can both help you and your mom talk through some of the stress and fear as well as try and put you in contact with support groups. Even if you’re seeking a second opinion (which is rarely a bad idea, though it sounds like she may be far enough along that there aren’t many variables), you should be able to approach the doctor or nurses with a question like, “Do you have anyone who can help with anxiety for my mother and I?”

  19. says

    Thank you, Richard Austin. I will definitely check out those groups and try your suggestions. They were very helpful. Thanks again.