I had a very bad experience with a cancer charity today and after being upset all day I decided the best way to deal with it was to vent here on my blog.
I think most, if not all, of you know I am a cancer fighter. I live in Sunny Florida but receive my treatments and follow ups at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. For the past two years I have flown up to Boston every three months for Surgery, PET Scans and other fun doctor appointments. For the first year the cost of these flights came out of my pocket (or my parents pockets). Then I was told, by a fellow fighter who lost her battle, that there were services for people battling cancer who needed to fly. And so I started using one of these organizations, Mercy Medical Airlift, and they were wonderful!
Because I fly so much I had to find another charity to help me with my flights and let others use the services of Mercy Medical (they are a small organization with limited funds). So began the very difficult search for help. To say it mildly it did not go well....
I was put in contact with a charity called Miracle Flights. This charity requires you send a photo of yourself before they will donate a flight. I have gone through several other charities for free flights to treatment centers and have never been asked for a photo of myself. To ask is one thing but these people REQUIRE it before they will consider giving you a flight for cancer treatment.
Having cancer is horrible. Telling friends and family that you have cancer is difficult. Letting current or future jobs know of your diagnosis is also unfair and at times humiliating...cancer becomes a part of your identity. If you need assistance to pay for services you are required to share all your very personal medical information, call many numbers, talk about your cancer and divulge extremely personal information just to get some assistance. I understand why this is and that its necessary but to take it a step further and also require I send you a photo of myself, thats one step too far.
What could be the purpose? Everyone knows you cannot get on a flight without a picture ID. All my medical information includes my full name and social security number. I know what they want my photo for....PROMOTION! Well to that I say "NO" I am not going to be exploited because I have cancer. You do not get a picture of a sick young woman who needs chemo/radiation and surgeries. It makes me sad that a charity that is suppose to be doing something good insists they have the right to require so much from the one in need. They feel its their right to know every personal detail about your battle with cancer and then put a photo of you in their file to complete their intrusion.
I would rather not get my treatment than to let an organization violate my privacy any more than it already has!