People donate money to causes that matter to them personally but there are obviously those that are more “popular” than others.
Various forms of cancer (breast the most obvious), heart disease, AIDS, diabetes. But what this infographic shows is that money isn’t going to fight the diseases that result in highest mortality.
It literally pays to be popular.
When considering the number of deaths per year in the United States for any given disease, it’s important to consider the number of years lost due to its rate of fatality: diseases affecting children, for instance, may be considered more insidious than, say, prostate cancer because it takes away more years of productive life. Yet childhood leukemia doesn’t even make the chart.
Where does the money go?
What does make the top of the giving chart are breast and prostate cancers; they are, however, responsible for many fewer deaths than chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which you don’t much hear about. And the “ice bucket challenge” has raised awareness and countless dollars for a terrible neurodegenerative disease that–fortunately–causes the deaths of many fewer still.
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Some diseases are more prevalent in other countries, like HIV/AIDS, but Americans have much more disposable income than those most affected by it in Africa. Americans are known for their generosity with $335 billion donated to registered charities in 2013, most of it (72%) coming from individuals. This, in light of a high unemployment rate nationwide. We are truly givers.
Not all charities are created equal.
Some charitable organizations sustain high overhead, so not all of the money donated goes to the cause but rather the charities’ administration costs. There are places to go to find out which charities need money most and spend their donations well; what you find may surprise you.
The best cure is prevention.
Generous hearts and compassion are part of what being human is about. We want to share what we have with others who have not. We want to cure our loved ones–and others’–of disease and hardship. That much is apparent.
No one is saying that those foundations who collect the most money aren’t worthy or the cause isn’t worth fighting–far from it. With information like that provided here, we can become aware of those who may have been forgotten or neglected, allowing us to help those who need it most.
Many diseases are preventable through diet and lifestyle. It’s relatively easy to write a check and much more difficult to incite societal change to prevent the diseases that are preventable, like Type 2 diabetes, obesity (and its consequences), heart disease, and depression.
Yet the power to do so resides in all of us, regardless of how much money we make or any other demographic. If we took the annual money spent on bottled water and chewing gum alone, one fifth of children living below the poverty line in our country would never go hungry.
Eating fresh foods, freedom from environmental toxins, engaging in physical activity, cultivating meaningful relationships, and holding government and corporate interests accountable all contribute to human wellness and should be the focus in our daily lives.
Charity begins at home.