This is a two fold petty hate that isn’t quite as uncharitable of me as it might sound. So I want to say this important bit first before you read on:
A charity close to my heart is Mind. Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. You can donate to them here. If you’d like to donate to a service more local and very special to me, with amazing volunteers, please consider sending something over to Yewdale Counselling Services.
The thought was triggered by a recent charitable “Match For Cancer”. This was a special football match organised to raise funds to tackle cancer through three equal-beneficiary charities – the James Milner Foundation, Celtic FC Foundation and Stiliyan Petrov Foundation. Petrov is a former footballer who, in 2012, had to put his career on hold when he was diagnosed with acute leukemia. His treatment was ultimately successful.
The charity match is not a new phenomenon. Back in the day, footballers who served their clubs for a long time would be granted a testimonial match to raise money to see them in to retirement. With most footballers now being staggeringly well paid, the proceeds of most testimonials are now donated to charity.
Soccer Aid is another famous one of recent times, raising money for Unicef.
So what’s my problem with this? My problem is actually with the title, and this is equally applicable to the guy in the street trying to raise money for something. “Match For Cancer”… Maybe I haven’t quite understood it and “match” should be read as “in competition against” cancer, but raising money for something bad sounds counter productive. The most extreme example I heard was actually someone say, “donate for cancer”. It’s alright thanks, I don’t really want it.
Donations should be made to charities or in support of a fight against something, not for that thing itself.
My second irritation is sponsoring someone to do something that they want to do. “I really want to do a parachute jump if you’d like to sponsor me for it.” Even the Soccer Aid match, the celebrities get a chance to play with absolute legends of the game at a fantastic venue, broadcast nationwide. How about, you pay for your own parachute jump and do it because you want to, and I’ll sponsor you to run half a dozen consecutive marathons?
I know it sounds wrong, and I’m not against charitable giving – I support a few charities myself without asking other people to do it for me. (However, please see below!) I just feel that there should be an element of selflessness in the good deed which isn’t quite there when you’re basically asking someone else to pay for you to do an activity. Bah humbug.