Earlier this week I was pretty pumped about helping with the Movember campaign. Now I just feel sick.
I was doing my rounds of the blogs when I ran across a post about sleazy book marketing tactics, and the second tactic they mentioned was donating a portion of book sales to charity.
The writer specifically targeted authors who announce a special offer on their books in support of a charity. His exact words were, “…there’s an invisible line between using your work to help a good cause, and using a good cause to sell more books.” Relenting, he did mention he thought it was okay if the author’s personal story was somehow related to the cause in question, or if it was a community effort.
I thought I was doing a good thing by advertising that I’d donate half my November book royalties to the Cancer Society. I’m part of Bloggers for Movember, and cancer looms larger in my personal story than I’d prefer, but that post still hit me like a kick in the gut.
What kind of slimy, contemptible douche would exploit a charitable cause for their own personal gain?
Is that what I’m doing?
When I read that post, I felt as if I’d just mugged a cancer patient for lunch money.
I still feel awful.
My mom died of lymphoma when I was nineteen. Anybody who’s lost a loved one to cancer knows how it ends: the naked scalp, the bruised and jaundiced skin, the stick-like limbs, the sunken eyes and distended belly. She had been a slim, attractive, athletic woman. When she died ten months after her diagnosis, she was barely recognizable.
My dad was successfully treated for prostate cancer. My aunt survived an intestinal tumour. My step-mom is just recovering from her recent (and successful) fight against breast cancer. Pretty much every year, my doc removes some bit of my skin that’s starting to look “suspicious”.
I’ve donated regularly to the Cancer Society for nearly three decades. Often it wasn’t a lot, but even when I could barely make ends meet, I usually managed to send a few dollars their way.
Exploiting Movember wasn’t my intention.
I didn’t mean to be a douche.
But I really feel like one.