For years, cancer has been a leading cause of death worldwide. The statistics are staggering: Every year, cancer affects millions of people, leading to more than 10 million deaths annually.
For Mahmoud Khattab, CEO of Precision MD, cancer hits very close to home. After his mother passed away from the disease, he knew he had to do more to help. That’s when he started supporting the American Cancer Fund.
Since his family was impacted, Mahmoud Khattab has been making philanthropic donations that promote research toward cures and to help those whose lives are affected by cancer. Of course, financial contributions are a key component in the fight against cancer… but did you know that there are other ways you can help, too?
Read on to learn more ways to donate and join the fight.
Volunteer Your Time
Many people want to give to charitable organizations, but find they have more time than money to spare. That’s where volunteering comes in.
Many organizations dedicated to finding a cure or helping those with cancer need volunteers. From tabling at events to taking care packages for patients to reading in children’s wards, here are a few places to start your search for a volunteer opportunity in your area.
- American Cancer Society recruits volunteers who want to use their community connections to fundraise, participate in events, drive patients to appointments, share your own experiences, and much more
- Children’s Cancer Research Fund volunteers engage in community outreach, help with fundraising, and sometimes even wear a mascot suit at events
- McKesson, a healthcare company, needs volunteers to put together with care packages for cancer patients and survivors
- Prevent Cancer is a non-profit organization focused on early detection and cancer prevention; you can help by writing blog posts, hosting fundraising events, or serving on committees
- Susan G. Komen offers volunteering and internship opportunities at their headquarters and through affiliate offices around the U.S.
- Volunteer for telephone or email help lines that offer support, information and mentoring
You can also check with your local hospitals, cancer clinics and cancer associations to see how you can donate your time. If you’re a cancer survivor or helped care for someone with cancer, you may consider becoming a “support buddy” and sharing the lessons you learned through your own experience.
Several kinds of cancer treatment require blood or platelets. You can help by donating yours. Choose to make one of the following types of donation:
- Whole blood donation: About one pint of blood is removed from your arm. The entire process takes just over an hour, but the actual blood donation takes only about ten minutes.
- Platelet donation: Many cancer patients need platelets to help them through treatment. During a platelet donation, blood is removed from your arm, then separated into platelets and plasma. Most of the plasma is then returned to you. The whole process takes about three hours, but can yield a much greater volume than a whole blood donation.
Going through cancer treatment can be difficult. Dealing with hair loss that’s a common side effect makes it even harder. Fortunately, you can donate your hair to an organization that provides wigs to cancer patients. Most offer the wigs for free or at a low cost.
Each organization has its own special guidelines, such as the length of hair they’ll accept, and whether they’ll take donations f dyed, bleached or permed hair. Be sure to check the rules for each organization before making a decision.
Donate Bone Marrow
Some cancer treatments rely on bone marrow transplants. Also known as stem cell transplants, this type of treatment essentially works by replacing diseased bone marrow with healthy marrow from a donor. Once transplanted, the marrow helps the patient’s body start making new, healthy cells.
The process is called allogeneic transplantation. In order to qualify, cancer patients must find a matching donor. There’s always a need for more marrow donors, and the donation process isn’t difficult. Start the donation process by registering with the Be the Match database.
Cancer researchers use samples from lots of human bodies — and you might be surprised what they need. Stuff like saliva, urine, tissue, cells and blood can all help advance research toward a cure. Samples from people with cancer and people who don’t have cancer are needed.
You may even be able to donate biospecimens when you take routine medical tests, such as providing urine samples at your annual checkup, or have a biopsy done.
One especially valuable biospecimen is umbilical cord blood. Pregnant people can donate the blood from the umbilical cord in a safe, easy process that only takes a few minutes. Since the cord gets discarded anyway, it’s a great way to help.
Donate a Vehicle
Do you have a vehicle that you’re not using? Why not donate it to a cancer organization! Several groups accept donations of cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats and farm equipment. The vehicles don’t always have to be running or in great condition.
In some cases, you can get a tax deduction for your vehicle donation. Sometimes, trying to sell a vehicle can be a real hassle. Donating it to help cancer research may be a great option.
After Mahmoud Khattab lost his mother, he knew he had to take action to help find a cure. That’s why he started making regular donations to the American Cancer Fund.
The good news is that you can still help, even if you’re not in a position to donate money. By giving your time, blood or making other gifts, you can take action in the fight against cancer.