The coronavirus pandemic has postponed or canceled a lot this year. But, pandemic or not, cancer is still affecting people. An estimated 1.8 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Many cancer charities continue to step up to help those affected with this disease. As the season of giving kicks in and you consider end of year donations, I wanted to share my cancer charity giving guide.
Each of these charities greatly impacts the community, helping meet the needs of cancer survivors and their families. Many cancer charities saw an increase in requests for support this year as COVID-19 caused delays or cancellations in treatment, mental health concerns, financial challenges and more. And these charities responded.
Most charities unfortunately had to cancel or change their planned fundraising events. While many still hosted virtual events, there is no doubt that their bottom lines were impacted. Many heavily hit. So as the giving season starts, I wanted to share my cancer charity giving guide.
There are thousands of great organizations doing amazing work to support cancer survivors and caregivers. However, each of the following charities has in some way positively impacted my journey as a three-time cancer survivor so I want to highlight these. If you’re looking to donate to a nonprofit this year, please consider one (or more) of these. Any amount helps continue their missions of supporting people facing cancer.
Livestrong began around the time of my first diagnosis so we’ve ‘grown’ together. Their programs support people from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Navigation services, fertility assistance, exercise programs and more support cancer survivors. I also love the Livestrong @ School program which helps educate children in grades K-12 about cancer. Advocacy and community solutions grants help keep person-centered care in the forefront of the fight against cancer. Special note: Donations are matched now through Dec. 31, 2020! Double your impact today.
This magical place located outside of Missoula, Montana immediately captured my heart the moment I arrived. I visited shortly after treatment ended for my first cancer. I was just 23 and so grateful to meet other young adult cancer survivors (read why I love this place). Age-appropriate camp sessions are offered free of charge for cancer survivors ages 6-40, including a siblings camp. Survivors in and out of treatment are welcome as an onsite medical center is staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses. My experiences here truly changed my life as I learned so much about myself as a cancer survivor. Michigan residents can apply for travel scholarships and support.
A leader in cancer advocacy, ACS CAN brings volunteers from across the country to work with state and federal legislators to fight cancer. These actions make a difference. New treatment options, preventive screenings, research and other advancements result from this type of work. I’m alive thanks to these advancements (read about research’s impact on my life). We need more volunteers to make a difference! Please consider signing up for action alerts in your state.
There is a lot of information available on cancer, which is good but also sometimes overwhelming. Talking to someone who went through similar treatment and experiences can be very helpful. Imerman Angels provides one-on-one support to people with cancer and caregivers. Cancer survivors who completed treatment are matched with individuals needing support who are experiencing similar cancers, treatment and more. Caregivers can also be matched with others in similar situations.
Mixing two of my favorite topics, horses and helping other cancer survivors, makes me smile. Horses have been my favorite animal since I was a small child. I started riding horses when I was nine. But my bone cancer diagnosis replaced my femur with a titanium rod. Riding became too risky. It devastated me to stop riding but I’ve found ways to keep horses in my life, including volunteering for Camp Casey. This awesome organization brings a horse to the home of a child or teen with cancer for a surprise visit. The visit includes guided horse rides, crafts and snacks for a small group. They also offer special camp outs and outings for families. Nothing makes my heart swell bigger than seeing the smiles that these horses bring to the kids’ faces.
This organization brings social and emotional support to cancer survivors and caregivers in a community setting. Support groups, social activities, education programs and more are offered free of charge. Cancer Support Community has more than 170 locations worldwide, plus online support and education materials related to an array of cancer types and issues.
Transitioning into adulthood during your 20s and 30s can be tough. Job, housing, relationships, health and more can impact you financially. Add a cancer diagnosis and the financial impact of treatment can be devastating. The Samfund provides support to young adult cancer survivors through direct financial assistance and free online support and education. The Samfund’s founder and I became friends years ago at a young adult cancer survivors conference hosted by Camp Mak-A-Dream in Montana. It’s been awesome watching this organization grow from an idea into a huge positive impact on young adult survivors.
I hope this cancer charity giving guide helps highlight some great nonprofits! If you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow me to hear the special impact these organizations have on cancer survivors.
*Please note that the coronavirus pandemic has caused some (temporary) tweaks to many of these organizations’ programs and services. It’s super impressive seeing the creativity from these organizations as they continue to meet the needs of the cancer community. I have been a participant and/or volunteer for each of these organizations and these are my opinions only as a cancer survivor and donor.