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Monday, July 2, 2007

Jewelry for Charity - June Recap & July Kick-off

June was good to me, so that means I get to be good to Vegan Outreach! I'm sending off a check today for $302 to help them spread the word about the benefits of veganism - not only for animals, but for human health and the planet as well!

My chosen charity for July is the Children's Cancer Association. There's a bit of an explanation about how I made this selection, so bear with me while I explain... every July, for as long as I have been old enough to notice, our local community has held a Relay for Life event to benefit the American Cancer Society. This event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year - an admirable accomplishment - and many people I know participate. I wholeheartedly support cancer research, and I appreciate the ways that Relay for Life provides emotional support and cameraderie for cancer survivors and those who have lost loved ones to cancer. What I don't support is the fact that the American Cancer Society funds cruel and unneccessary testing on animals - a bit more on that later.

So around this time of year, with all the publicity surrounding Relay for Life, my thoughts turn to cancer and the lives it affects. I think fondly of my grandparents, Sam and Louise, who both died of cancer, and I think very un-fondly of the last weeks and months of both their lives, when their diseases turned them into mere shells of the vibrant people I once knew. Nobody wants that, either for themselves or for anyone they know and love. Like many others, I feel an impulse to do something to help, and since I'm not a doctor or a nurse, or a research scientist, the obvious thing to do is make a donation of some kind. Luckily, there are many cancer charities that fulfill their missions of hope and healing without inflicting pain and suffering on other sentient creatures. One such organization is the Children's Cancer Society.
The Children’s Cancer Association is a non-profit leading the way in creating innovative, award-winning programs for children with serious illnesses, and providing resources and education for families. Last year, CCA served children and family members over 23,800 times.

CCA supports children and their families with a variety of unique programs.
  • The Music Rx Program brings the healing power of music medicine to the bedsides of hundreds of children each week.

  • The Chemo Pal Mentor Program pairs children with caring adults who spend time, share hobbies and build friendships.

  • The DreamCatcher Wish Program grants wishes and helps meet the everyday needs of families coping with a medical crisis.

  • CCA shares the power of information with the Kids Cancer Pages, a free national directory with hundreds of resources relating to all aspects of pediatric cancer.

  • And with the Alexandra Ellis Caring Cabin on the Oregon coast CCA provides a peaceful oasis where seriously ill children and their families can enjoy time together away from the hospital experience.
You can learn more about CCA on their website:

Now back to my soapbox (or did I ever step off of it?) - There are many reasons why animal testing is unneccessary, cruel, and inaccurate. This short paragraph from sums it up well:

"Humans and animals both feel pain, fear, sadness, joy, love, and other emotions, but physiologically there are vast differences between the species. Data from one species cannot be correctly applied to another. Different species of animals vary enormously in their reactions to toxins and diseases and in their metabolism of drugs. Consequently, reliance on animal 'models' to address human diseases has been misleading, unnecessary, and dangerous. "

There are a myriad of testing methods that don't involve animals at all, summarized in the following excerpt from the Humane Charity Seal's Research Without Animals page.

  • Epidemiological and clinical studies, including studies of human populations as well as individuals afflicted with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and brain injury using sophisticated scanning technologies (CT, PET, and MRI). All drugs must undergo clinical testing before becoming approved; carefully crafted clinical research is the best way to determine human reactions to new drugs.

  • In vitro (test tube) research - The National Disease Research Interchange provides more than 130 kinds of human tissue to scientists investigating more than 50 diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and glaucoma. Cell and tissue cultures are used to screen new therapies and to test for product safety.

  • In silico (computer) technologies can often predict the toxicity of chemicals, including their potential to cause cancer or birth defects, based on their molecular structure. Computer simulations can also predict the metabolism and distribution of chemicals in human tissues.

  • Safety tests using human cells are more accurate than animal tests. Pharmagene Laboratories conducts new drug development exclusively using human tissues and computer technologies. With tools from molecular biology and biochemistry, Pharmagene investigates how new drugs affect the actions of human genes or the proteins they make. These techniques replace animal tests in many cases.

You can see a list of cancer charities that don't fund testing on animals, or search on any other type of charity, on the Humane Charity Seal website, and be sure to look for this symbol when considering new charities to support:

[descending from soapbox, but I can't promise that it will last for long]


msbelle said...

Wow. Well said. Bless your heart.

JudyM said...

Yes, good job. I'm proud of you and the way you continue to "give back."
Love, Judy