Help Atheists Raise $1,000,000 to Fight Cancer

Last month, I mentioned an atheist-led effort to raise $1,000,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The Foundation Beyond Belief along with the philanthropic Stiefel family are eager to make this happen.

The Light the Night walks — the banner events for the fundraising drive — take place this fall, and we want to get people signed up now. (Chicagoans, please join me!)

Need some inspiration? Check out Todd Stiefel in the video below:

Please consider helping out by starting a group or joining one. The fundraising can happen later. Right now, we just need your commitment to participate!

If you don’t, you’re going to force me to grow a beard like Todd. And I promise you nobody wants that.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Annie

    I just set up my team’s page through the directions provided.  Nothing on my page says anything about being under the umbrella of Foundation Beyond Belief.  I will call in the morning, but was wondering if there was an easy way to make sure my team is part of this group.  My group is in Gainesville, Fl, and the team name is, “We’re “Hitchen” for a Cure”. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.stiefel Todd Stiefel

      Hi Annie, they are manually adding all of our local teams to the FBB international team.  If you create a team name like “We’re ‘Hitchen’ for a Cure – FBB” they would find it and add it.  Anything with atheist, humanist, freethinker, etc. would also be captured.  That sometimes takes a few days.  That said, I’ll let them know about your Gainesville team and ask them to add it.  Thanks so much for creating a team!

      • Annie

        Thanks Todd.  I didn’t think to add FBB to my team name (I also wish I would have read more carefully about adding ‘atheist’ , humanist’, etc. into the name title.)  I have been a team captain with the LLS several times, and they are wonderful to work with.  I’m sure we can get this settled, I was just wondering if I missed something (I also just set the team up tonight, and realize there is lag time).  Thanks so much for your generous matching donation.  My daughter is a leukemia survivor, and she is an outspoken atheist, so this fundraiser is right up our alley!

  • Ricklongworth

    I made a contribution from Poughkeepsie, NY.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to disabuse you, but the “war on cancer” has already happened (President Nixon declared it in 1971!), and it has wasted fortunes which could have gone to more productive uses:

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/war_on_cancer_a_progress_report_for_skeptics/ 

    Contrast this situation with the war on cardiovascular diseases, which has some successes to show for all the money spent on it. 

    • Annie

      The cancer my daughter was diagnosed with in early 2000 had  a survival rate of less than 18%.  Today, the infants diagnosed with the same disease have a 56% chance of survival.  You can call this anecdotal, but I have carefully followed the treatments and cure rates for the last 11 years.  Cancer is a very generic term. Sure, the war on cancer might have begun long ago, but to  say there haven’t been huge strides simply means you’re ill-informed.  Going from 18% to 56% survival rate (in one rare cancer) is not wasted fortunes to me.  It means we’re learning, we’re growing, and we’re saving lives.  If you don’t care about raising funds to find cures or help families when they need it the most, then I suggest you just move along.  There is no need to call the process of raising money to help research and family support “wasted fortunes”.

      • Mairianna

        Research and Clinical Trials to find cures are very very slow processes and sometimes the findings are meager.  The war needs to go on for a long long time.   Everyone  thinks research is all about big “breakthroughs”, but it ain’t.   Annie’s example is true.  The changes are barely noticeable by the masses, but the ones who are in the cancer trenches see the small changes.   I am very proud to be a soldier in the “war on cancer”. 

      • Anonymous-Sam

         To interject a note of skepticism, what constitutes “survival” has changed over the years. I seem to recall the goalposts being moved from 10 years to 5 years, so now anyone who goes 5 years from their last tumor has “survived” cancer. Even though they might get another tumor at 6 years. Or 7. Or 8.

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.stiefel Todd Stiefel

      First, you are simply wrong that the war on cancer “has already happened”.  It is happening right now and we are making huge progress.  For example, from The Leukemia & Lymphoma site: 
      - “The five-year relative survival rate for patients with leukemia has nearly quadrupled in the past 50 years from 14 percent in whites from 1960 to 1963 to 56.5 percent for all races from 2001 to 2007″
      - “The leukemia death rate for children and adolescents aged 0 to 14 years in the US has declined 77 percent from 1969 to 2007.”
      - “The five-year relative survival rate for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma has increased dramatically from 40 percent in whites from 1960 to 1963 to 86.3 percent for all races from 2001 to 2007.”
      - “The five-year relative survival rate for NHL patients has risen from 31 percent in whites from 1960 to 1963 to 69.5 percent for all races from 2001 to 2007.”
      - “In children and adolescents ages 0 to 19 years, the five-year relative survival for NHL is 84.7 percent. This represents a significant improvement in the rate of recovery. As recently as the mid-1970s, most children and adolescents with NHL did not survive five years after diagnosis.”

      Second, even if  we had not made any progress, that wouldn’t mean we should stop trying.  Medical technology is advancing quickly and what was not possible yesterday may be possible tomorrow.  If we want to stop this horrible disease, we need to keep fighting.

      Todd

      PS. I tried to pick a charity everyone could get behind.  I figured, “who is opposed to fighting cancer?”  I should have known there would be someone…

      • Anonymous

        Just remember: Replace “this horrible disease” with “these horrible diseases.” The more our researchers learn, the more they know that “cancer” is highly complex and no two are alike, either in causes or cures. Even the same cancer in two locations in the same patient, I recently read, can have very different features (can’t remember whether of cell metabolism or genetics or what).

  • Mairianna

    The FBB needs to get the site up and running for my team.  It still says the site is “under maintenance”.  I wanna join the Cleveland Freethinkers Team!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      We’ll fix this soon!

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.stiefel Todd Stiefel

      Try this link.  It takes you directly to where you can sign up for the Cleveland Freethinkers Team.  http://www.lightthenight.org/noh/register/#eventDate=10%2F13%2F2012;view=personalInformation;action=join_team;eventName=Cleveland;eventLocation=Wade%20Oval%2C%20University%20Circle;teamName=Cleveland%20Freethinkers%20FBB;teamID=236417;eventID=8746

  • Lee Miller

    The way the beard thing works is you have to start growing it now, and you don’t get to shave it off until the goal is met.  That way you have real incentive to get people to give.

  • NoLeftTurn

    Atheists are a cancer.


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