Online Only: All I want for Christmas is a Thingamaboob

By Kristina Waldmann

The only reason I would want a Thingamaboob is so I could tell people that I have one. A Thingamaboob is an exclusive product, offered by the Canadian Cancer Society, that is not only an educational tool, but a fundraising gimmick. It’s an overpriced keychain with a couple of pink beads strung together.

More and more often charities are using attention-grabbing schemes to try and get donations. Breast cancer seems to have dominated this field, especially when it comes to advertising. Breast cancer fundraising has become a commodity and an industry in its own right. Thousands of manufacturers have jumped on the band wagon by slapping pink ribbons on their products. They’re clever for clinging on to the idea that consumers can shop for the cure. Pink toasters, pink socks, pink water bottles and even pink motorcycles can be purchased. People are being lured into purchasing items that are garnished with pink ribbons, all in the name of ending breast cancer.

While all this attention is being focused on breast cancer, other charities are being left in the dust. Mental health, for example, is often ignored when it comes to donations. It’s likely due to the enormous stigma that still exists, but it’s ironic that more people will suffer from a mental illness than breast cancer.

Perhaps women feel they’re compelled to purchase these pink items in an unconscious effort to feel liberated. Talk about breasts has become less derogatory and less taboo. There is a sense of freedom in discussing them. But there’s got to be a point when you ask yourself how much of your decision to donate and to participate in breast cancer events is influenced by the media and marketing scheme. It’s also important to be aware of how much of your donated dollars and time is being wasted on overhead costs.

While most people have heard of the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, most have not heard of CauseForce. This is a California-based corporation that makes profits from charities around the world. An article on claims that anywhere from 30 per cent to 57 per cent of the money raised at events like the Weekend go towards overhead costs. At first glance the website for the Weekend to End Breast Cancer seems very transparent. The truth of the matter is that plenty of valuable information is left out or unavailable. Both CauseForce and the Alberta Cancer Foundation have refused to answer questions concerning the amount of money it cost to contract with CauseForce.

Someone else is profiting while people are participating in backbreaking walks and shamelessly asking everyone they know for donations.

It is vital to our society that people contribute time and money to charitable efforts. With our ever busy schedules, I hold much esteem for those who do make it a priority. It is also important that we know where our dollars are going, who is gaining profit or otherwise and that we do not ignore other charities in our effort to feel liberated.

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