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Cancer Donations - A Guide to Cancer Charity, Cancer Research, and Fundraiser Options

Updated on February 24, 2011

Cancer is one of the most formidable diseases faced by humankind to this date, hence is it all the more important to do everything possible to aid cancer research, donate to cancer victims, and raise awareness on screenings and early detection.

Because so many people have become involved with giving charitable donations to fight cancer, it can be difficult to decide exactly how one shall pitch in.  To make things easier, I've created an overview of sorts of some major ways in which you can contribute to the cause.

Many like to donate to Cancer research and other cancer-related causes through large races, walks, and other fundraisers.
Many like to donate to Cancer research and other cancer-related causes through large races, walks, and other fundraisers. | Source

The Major Cancer Charity Organizations

There are so many amazing charities out there that are working toward preventing, treating, and eradicating cancer for good that it would be impractical to cover them all here. I've done some research to find the most highly rated cancer charities to save you some time when it comes to research. Here are the major players:

  • The Breast Cancer Fund
  • The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • Cancer Care
  • Cancer Research Institute
  • CureSearch (aka the National Childhood Cancer Foundation)
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
  • The National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund
  • The Prevent Cancer Foundation
  • ALSAC (aka St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
  • Susan G Komen for the Cure

Each of these organizations received between an A and a B+ from the American Institute of Philanthropy ( and is listed amongst their top rated charities.

Cancer Car Donations

A lot of people donate their cars in the name of charity- not only because it is nice to get rid of an old clunker and trade in for something really nice, but also because car donations can make a big difference, and offer a decent tax write-off, too!

If you would like to donate your car to a charity that focuses on cancer, you are in luck! Most of the major cancer charities accept car donations, and some of them make it SUPER easy, picking up your car wherever you like, giving you all the IRS forms you need to get your lovely writeoff, handling all the troublesome paperwork, and accepting cars regardless of their (crummy, unfashionable, etc.) condition or registration status.

If you want to donate your car toward cancer research or treatment, I recommend choosing your favorite charities first, and finding which of them accepts car donations, then going with the charity that offers the best conditions.

Cancer Society Donations

Though the American Cancer Society did not make the top charities list on the Institute of Philanthropy site, it is still a major organization involved with raising awareness about cancer, supporting prevention and treatment, and supporting involvement and research.

If you want to give cancer donations to this organization in particular, I recommend going to their website ( to see the various ways in which you can become involved. Through their "Get Involved" section of the site, you will find ways to donate, participate in one of their many events (from galas and golf to Relay for Life and DetermiNation), volunteer, get involved in political activism, and even send e-cards.

One fun aspect of monetary donations that you can give on the American Cancer Society website is that you can choose between three different types - memorial gifts, which honor loved ones, honor gifts, which are given in the name of a friend or family (these make for excellent gifts!), and general gifts, for those simply wishing to donate for themselves.

There are SO many different ways to donate and give back through the American Cancer Society, I'm not going to try to detail them all here.  Suffice it to say that there is a LOT you can do with this organization.

Cancer Research Charity Options

I am personally very passionate about cancer research.  I love the idea that cancer may be more or less eradicated in my lifetime, and I am even more excited about the chance to "be a part" of that effort.

Again, there are SO MANY different cancer charity organizations that take cancer donations for research efforts, so if you're interested in donating toward this specific aspect of the cause, I recommend checking to see if there are any particular research arms of your favorite cancer charity.

That said, there are some EXCELLENT research-only cancer charities out there.

Cancer Charity Christmas Cards

One surprisingly common way that people donate money toward cancer-related causes is to purchase Christmas and other holiday cards by purchasing charity greeting cards.  Several large greeting card brands offer specific lines, from time to time, that direct proceeds toward charitable efforts, and several charities also offer lines of holiday and other greeting cards that act as fundraisers for a cause.  

There are even organizations such as Cards that Give ( that help you navigate the astoundingly extensive world of charity greeting cards - cancer charity Christmas cards included. I recommend checking with the charity with which a set of cards is associated before making a large purchase to be sure that the proceeds are being utilized in a way that you find to be fair and honorable.

Cancer Awareness Bracelets - Many Styles & Choices

Cancer Awareness Bracelets

By now we are all familiar with bracelets associated with raising awareness and donating funds toward specific causes. Cause-related bracelets really saw a boom with the rise of those rubbery Livestrong bracelets some years back, and the bands are now ubiquitous and by no means limited to one specific cause.

Luckily, you need not turn to simple rubber bracelets when you want to donate funds toward Cancer awareness, treatment, or research by purchasing jewelry. Today, there are TONS of choices, ranging from fetching steel cuff bracelets to beaded bands.

Of course, rubber cancer awareness bracelets are still available to those who like the look, and they also have the attractive benefit of being less costly than some of the fancier charity-related adornments out there, so rest assured that you have plenty of options to choose from!

Among these, of course, is the classic, original LIVESTRONG bracelet, in that bold, bright yellow that so many people were originally drawn to. If you're going to go with a rubber cancer awareness bracelet, I suggest that you go with the original.  All the others are just imitators, right? 

Women dress in pink for a 2010 cancer research Race for Life at Heaton Park
Women dress in pink for a 2010 cancer research Race for Life at Heaton Park | Source

Donations Specifically for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the more popular cancers to rally around when it comes to charitable donations, hence there is a preponderance of organizations that rally around this specific type.

Some of the major options include the Breast Cancer Fund, Susan G Komen for the Cute, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund.

If you want to donate your car specifically toward a breast-cancer-related cause, consider the Breast Cancer Survivors Cars for Breast Cancer program ( They're super accommodating when it comes to pickup and handling paperwork, and you can rest assured that 92% of the value donated goes toward patient care.

Research, Give, and Mix it Up!

No matter what you ultimately choose to donate toward cancer research, awareness, or treatment, be sure that you carefully research organizations first.  Also, I strongly recommend giving to new charities from time to time, and giving in different ways (e.g. sometimes giving cash donations, other times donating your time, etc.).  By doing this, you will continue to learn more about the cause and feel excited about the difference you are making.

Thank you so much for your interest in supporting cancer charities - together, we can make a huge difference!


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