Life Pro-Tip #1
If you go through a fake cancer scandal on national television,
you may not want to start a charity involving cancer.
You and I might find this advice to be obvious, but as my grandmother said, there is no piece of advice is ever too obvious.
Last season, Season 10, on the Real Housewives of Orange County, Vicki Gunvalson and her bad boy beau Brooks Ayers went through a cancer scare that quickly devolved into a cancer scandal. (#justice) Turns out, Brooks faked documents, Vicki faked stories, all in order to gain sympathy for Brooks, who according to Vicki’s own daughter is a deadbeat to his other children and also an abuser. At the very least, he is a a verbal and emotional abuser and we can’t say for sure physical, legally, but he admitted to leaving a horrific voicemail with directions for Ryan to beat Briana during a previous RHOC reunion.
We don’t know what Vicki knew and when or if perhaps she was even in on the cancer scare from the beginning. If you listen to fellow RHOC Housewife Heather Dubrow’s podcast “Heather Dubrow’s World”, in the debut episode she chats with costars Shannon and Tamra about the Vicki-Brooks cancer issue. We find out 1) there is no cancer and 2) there are LOTS of stories and versions we didn’t necessarily see as viewers. You can listen to the entire show here. I wonder with this current season, Season 11, if we will find out more about Vicki’s role and the extent of the cancer lies.
So on June 14th, Vicki announced her “new venture” on instagram. The details are still slim, but she provided the hashtags (in order) #insurance #charity #helpingothers to inspire us. Glad to see where insurance falls on that hierarchy.
Turns out Vicki is starting a charity called “Kill ALL Cancer”. She has even updated her instagram bio to make sure we know that she is a co-founder:
Over at the Kill All Cancer website, we are greeted with a video of Vicki, imploring us about how this is about transparency and fighting cancer.
Transparency is a rich word for a women who less than a year ago was lying about her loved one’s cancer condition.
If you are not familiar with charities, certain ones (depending on their status, etc.) do disclose every dollar. Most do give a percentage breakdown on their dollars and often, you can request reports, especially if you plan on donating. Outside of that, everyone should cross check charity reviews and read up on the specific charity if you plan on giving. Some great charity resources are:
- Consumer Reports: article to Understanding charity assessment websites and giving
- Charity Watch
- Charity Navigator
- GiveWell (focuses on charity addressing poverty and has very stringent requirements)
I wanted to investigate this more (#justice #MKE) but for being a transparent organization, there is relatively little information.
Let’s look at the “about us” section:
The purpose of killALLcancer.com is to reinvent the way charities are run while building an International Cancer Killer.
I am not 100% sure why “International Cancer Killer” is capitalized. I presume this means the organization will be killing cancer itself?
Raising money via bracelet sales is the main driver of funds.
Raising money via rubber bracelet sales is not how you “reinvent” charity. It was perfected by livestrong bracelets a decade ago.
We will run the organization with all volunteers and there will be no salaries paid by any charitable contributions.
Do the bracelets count as charitable contributions? Is this a part-time charity? Do you have accounts who volunteer for free? Lawyers? Etc.
A separate foundation will be created to hold & disperse funds. (sic)
Okay, now that is odd. It wouldn’t be so odd if they said what the foundation is. How am I supposed to know where my plastic bracelet dollars go?
killALLcancer.com will only donate to those meeting specific guidelines i.e. overwhelming majority of their funds must go to the intended people or purpose!
Okay! So…what are those guidelines??
Inspiration, support & an international network of supporters will bring all of the reputable and above-board charities under our umbrella for strategic partnerships, fundraisers & as beneficiaries of the monies that are donated to us.
This is the most complicated sentence of the lot. Essentially, supporters will bring charities to their charity for “strategic partnership” (aka marketing) and so forth. No real details on the international network of supporters though. Are these doctors? Are these cancer survivors? Are they use, the fellow plastic bangled donators?
This charity will spend all of its time trying to end cancer but also help the millions of people suffering today as well as their families, friends & more.
Actually, it will spend most of the time on marketing and strategic partnerships, whatever that does, and mailing plastic trinkets. It is a lofty amiable goal, but what does that look like?
The transparent charity component is a real game changer.
A number of charities follow transparency practices.
We will show every dollar raised, every dollar spent & how it was used.
So does my local animal shelter.
This is a charity, not a business.
Considering you call yourselves a charity and filed as a non-profit organization, I’d hope so (but we can’t be sure because there is literally nothing about the foundation the money goes to OR their tax filing status, at the state or national level.)
Elsewhere on the website is an “inspiration” section, with a hashtag #killallcancer feed (and if you asked, yes, I will be sharing this article via #killallcancer. #killallcancer.) This is to inspire and uplift us about cancer I guess? There are what appears to be rss feeds or some kind of article pull on cancer from the American Cancer Society and Cancer News from Science Daily. There’s also a twitter feed and facebook link, along with instagram. Part of the strategy, I’m sure. If you missed the social media, don’t worry, it’s also decorating the bottom of each page.
The support page literally goes to nothing and the contact page is a web form. No phone number. Not even an email address.
(Don’t worry, I will get to the charity tab in a moment.)
Life Pro-Tip #2
If you decide to start a cancer charity,
you may not want to solicit for cancer insurance leads.
The section that grinds my gears the most is probably the “insurance” tab. We are met with yet another video of Vicki shuffling papers, with sappy music, and stock videos of people walking through meadows and a family on the beach. When you click on the page, this box comes up:
Do…I need insurance products when I am donating to charity? Why is the bracelet there on the page? In the video, Vicki doesn’t outright say “insurance”, but it is heavily, heavily implied that we all need a “peace of mind” (aka insurance.)
OH. There it is…that first box: critical insurance / cancer insurance.
Those with cancer or family members with cancer will tell you the absolute worst thing following the cancer itself is insurance. Dealing with insurance, getting insurance to pay out, begging, crying, stressing, and it goes on. No one is ever happy to deal with it because they don’t make profits by paying out.
It is in poor taste to have a cancer charity when you’ve lied about cancer, then on a top tab of the website, siphon off potential insurance clients for your for profit insurance business on that cancer website. Not only that, those who are more likely to give to cancer charities? Those who have experienced or have love ones with cancer and looking for cures and answers. It’s a tax on the grieving and struggling. It’s taking advantage of those looking to help and instead of helping, you’re goal is to help yourself.
She could have at least hid it better.
Finally, the actual “charity” tab. This is where you can put in your information to purchase one of those fancy rubber plastic bands. For transparency, there are NO prices for the bracelets. When you input your information in, you get a “Thanks for contacting us! We will get in touch with you shortly.” message.
Now for my skeptical add-on.
There is nothing inherently wrong with charity. Many of us feel a great deal of desire to help people and address suffering, especially when we feel hopeless in cases like cancer.
The problem with this cancer charity idea?
- Cancer isn’t something you can necessarily “kill”. It is an abnormal cell process.
- Cancer has different bio mechanisms it affects. Thus a single solution is quite unlikely.
- Cancer is caused by quite a number of various factors from habits, environment, chemical, natural, etc.
When you say kill ALL cancer, you also obtain leads on ALL types of cancer to your organization, rather than focusing on one that might be a personal cause to you. I presume it would benefit an insurance company to get leads from cancer patients of all stripes.
Instead of donating to this charity, I would recommend this:
- PAY YOUR TAXES. Especially if you are wealthy, like Gunvalson.
- Contact your representative and DEMAND more funding to NIH and research.
- Donate to local charities in your area that help patients who receive cancer treatment in your area. They often need cash for hotels, food, medical expenses, etc. The money is generally used immediately and also makes a positive community impact.
- Donate to local charities that generally serve medical and total basic needs of low-income residents. Low income individuals are the most likely to not get screened until it has progressed and often, they are unable to afford treatments, or even unable to afford bus fare to the health clinic.
Why do I say pay your taxes? Because our taxes help fund Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance) and also go towards funding government research dollars at institutions. Without tax dollars, that isn’t possible. So, it is exceptionally important people like Vicki, who own multiple millions of dollars in property and assets contribute their share. I don’t know Vicki’s tax payments obviously, but starting a charity is a pretty great way to write off cost, particularly if she uses her insurance business to run it out of. Considering the low-level of transparency with its launch, would that be all that surprising?
What is Vicki’s motivation for the #killALLcancer charity?
At first, I thought maybe it was because of Briana’s healthcare scare previously. But there are no mentions of her daughter in the videos or on the site. Why wouldn’t she have started it a while ago? I’m not sure.
Maybe it is rehab her image? Perhaps if she starts a cancer charity, we will all forgive her for made up medical documents and lies about cancer and medical treatments? I don’t think many viewers (maybe even the other housewives) would be as quick to forgive either.
Is it just for insurance leads? Why not just run typical advertising? It seems like starting a charity is a lot more work.
There is the possibility it could be used as a personal tax write off or to funnel into nefarious businesses that prey on chronically ill individuals looking for alternative help, like Club Detox, which is a favorite of Vicki’s. Will the rubber bracelet go towards Club Detox spa retreats? Will it to the American Cancer Society? Will it cover CT scans at Newport Imaging? At this point, no one can say for sure.
Life Pro-Tip #3
If you decide to start a cancer charity after faking cancer,
a blogger will find out and point out how it is in undeniable poor taste.
And then post about it on the internet.