Fed up with Race for Life

This is building on from my previous blog post on The most annoying kind of Facebook status. On Sunday, thousands of women up and down the UK will be taking place in the Race for Life in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Now for a moment, I will try my best to ignore the fact that I get annoyed with how Race for Life is targeted at only women – considering it’s organised by a general cancer charity. I really don’t get why men aren’t being asked or allowed to join in.

My main problem with Race for Life – and this goes for a lot of charity fund raising efforts – is that it isn’t direct action. “Oh, we need money to fund research into cancer.” U-huh, okay, sure. But, erm, who is going to perform this research? In fact, who are going to become the oncologists that treat people when they are diagnosed with cancer? The nurses that deliver the meds? The radiologists who perform the tests? The engineers that develop new scanning and detection techniques? The chemists that synthesize new treatments?

Medical research for conditions that affect the wealthier sections of the world, from what I understand, already has quite a bit of money thrown at it. Unless it’s a gender specific condition of course.

Money going straight into research isn’t what we need. What we need are the people that are going to study medicine, bio-chemistry, nursing, engineering or all sorts of “ologies” that specialise in different parts of the body. Not sure if anyone’s noticed, but we’re a little thin on the ground when it comes to people who are involved in those things and I would say that it is this lack of people on the research and treatment side of things that is holding back cancer research and its successful treatment.

“Ah, but the cancer research money will be spent on employing those people anyway” – you might well say. Yes, it is, but what I’m saying is that there aren’t enough people becoming interested and going into studying those areas in the first place.

Race for Life have been running an ad campaign to encourage women to enter the various races that are happening this summer. But where’s the ad campaign encouraging young people – teenagers – to study science subjects and mathematics? Where’s the millions we need to give free higher education to people who are studying medicine and other science subjects or nursing?

Screw “£10 for 300 glass slides”, because that won’t mean a thing if there isn’t a cancer research specialist to use them in the first place.

Sure, you can go and run, jog or walk on Sunday, but when you get back, think about what you are doing to encourage your children – or indeed grandchildren – to do well in school and college. It’s easy to run five kilometres – it’s a lot more effort to inspire kids to apply themselves in school.

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