Bald Barbie Demand is an Over-Reach – UPDATED

I want to sincerely apologize for the pain my post, which I have now removed, has caused. Like many other committed staff members and volunteers at the American Cancer Society, I have lost loved ones to cancer, and I work here because I want to help end the suffering caused by the disease. But losing a child to cancer (or for any other reason) is unimaginable to me. The idea of having one of my children diagnosed with cancer is a pain I cannot comprehend. I am sorry for making anybody feel marginalized. It was not what I intended. It is not how I feel.

When I set out to write I wanted to raise questions about activism and social media around disease. I did not mean to imply that I or the American Cancer Society believe that sick children are not important. Indeed I wrote that each of these cases is tragic, and that the children and their families deserve both sympathy and support. That is what I believe.

I am committed to repairing the relationship between the advocates I have upset and the American Cancer Society. The idea that my words would cause people to lose faith in the good work of the Society is horrifying to me. The Society succeeds because of our more than three million volunteers, and because of millions of others who generously support our work. In my more than four years working at ACS I have seen one example after another of this organization’s incredible mission being carried out, and each time, I am inspired. I have also seen success that extends to all of us, as cancer incidence and death rates continue to drop. I hope I have not jeopardized the good will that makes this progress possible.

Andrew Becker

About asbecker

is Director of Media Relations. He is the New York-based member of the national media relations team. His work includes all patient and fami
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377 Responses to Bald Barbie Demand is an Over-Reach – UPDATED

  1. concept of bald barbie is great to convey the idea about cancer and what happens to the females during chemo. Cancer can be healed only when you have desired and strength to fight with yourself. Their is one small devil who want to weaken our faith on the creator and also on our self so that we loose. but why to loose. humans are great remember this thing and you will be recovered as fast as you never think. examination is the only solution to protect your self and to stay aware of any kind of changes in your body. I will say to every women that regularly or irregularly do breast examination If you are observing any kind of changes.

  2. Pingback: Do We Really Need a Bald Barbie? @ Nancy's Point

  3. Lara Bullard says:

    Thank you for this article. Be prepared though, to be villified for it. Sad to say, but the bald barbie debate has gotten completley out of hand, and I fear it will only get worse with the latest publicity stunt.

    • krstwlkr says:

      A publicity stunt? Are you a mother of a child with cancer? Out of hand? Has anyone bothered to ask the children what they want? This isn’t about adults with cancer, this is about CHILDREN with cancer. I want my child to grow up, have her first love, have a child of her own and unfortunately, my reality is that it may not happen. Hell, to be honest, if you could tell me today that she will be healthy, but at age 30 or 50 or whatever that she will get Breast Cancer, I’d take those odds. 99% is better than what my daughter is facing.
      They use that “greiving mother” Mary Tyler Mother as a spokeswoman, but she is 1 person whose daughter didn’t play with Barbie. What about the girls who are older, like 5-9 who do play with Barbies?
      Again, this is about CHILDREN and ACS does not give a rat’s butt about children. They barely donate any money to help awareness or research or anything. You’re damn right it is going to get worse because those who oppose this idea, doesn’t get what it is really about anyway…THE CHILDREN. The money, if Mattel would mass produce and give a portion to St. Judes or CureSearch (the places that do care about CHILDREN), that would be a bonus. The Bald Barbie would give my 7 year old a toy that wants.

    • 81chris81 says:

      @Lara, PUBLICITY STUNT??! You don’t have a clue. For three years I watched my strong handsome son fight Ewings’s Sarcoma. A rare childhood cancer. When he died this football player weighed less than 100 lbs! We sat their and watched him melt away to nothing!! Did you know that the color of the childhood cancer ribbon it gold? Metalic gold? It’s gold because a childs life is even more precious than gold. FOr you to call this a stunt makes me want to vomit!~ I hope things do get out of hand. It’s time to get the word out. Childhood cancer is a GROWING issue. And from this mother who doesn’t want another family to feel the pain we ARE feeling we need to do all we can to help these kids and find a cure. There hasn’t been a new drug approved for CHidlhood cancer in 20 years.Even if these kids do make it though many have them have life long issues! Go spend a few hours on a peds oncology floor. Then lets have a chat!!!

      • mydaughterwasonchemofor30monthswhenshewas3 says:

        You have no clue. Do you know that 1 in every 330 kids will be diagnosed with cancer. 1 in 5 will die. Childhood cancer IS NOT RARE. Cancer remains the number one disease killer of children; more than genetic anomalies, cystic fibrosis, and AIDS combined. There is so much money given to breast cancer and awareness. I applaud that but what about the kids? Don’t they deserve a fighting chance? My daughter was diagnosed with leukemia when she was three years old. She was on chemo EVERY DAY FOR 2 1/2 YEARS. Almost half of her life by the time she was off treatment. She is one of the lucky ones. She is a survivor. She is now 13 years old but she has a host of late effects. Try being a kid and having migraines, fibromyalgia (this is very debilitating) and Peripheral neuropathy. Lets not mention all the days she missed from school in 2nd and 3rd grade because she was so sick (this is when she was off chemo). In 3rd grade she was finally diagnosed as having a huge gallstone and had surgery to remove her gallbladder.

        These kids are being treated with the same chemo drugs that were used in the 60’s and 70s. There have been no new drugs designed for children. They are treated with drugs designed for adults. As a result these children have a lot of late effects or health issues that they have to live with for the rest of their lives, if they are lucky. Why not give more research for the children? Aren’t they our future? As it is now. The kids that are lucky enough to be survivors will have some or all of these side effects. This is a very short list of late effects of chemo for children. Hearing loss, Heart damage, Possible other cancers caused by the chemo that saved them, Peripheral neuropathy, learning disabilities, etc, etc, etc. This is a VERY SHORT list. Shouldn’t children have a good chance of living a good life?

        The ACS gives something like 14% of their proceeds to Breast cancer. I wouldn’t have a problem with that except that they give LESS THAN 4% to childhood cancer. Did you know there are 12 DIFFERENT kinds of childhood cancer? How would you feel if they only gave 4% to adult cancers (this is all adult cancers)? This is the reality of the ACS. Sure they LOVE to use our bald kids and their pictures to raise money but the kids sure don’t get the money.
        What is so wrong about having something to help raise money for childhood cancer research? I don’t care if it’s a bald barbie. Maybe if there were a bald barbie kids would not stare or question kids that are bald. Breast cancer has the pink ribbons everywhere and raise more money by that. Why can’t Childhood Cancer have something? Gold is the color for Childhood Cancer.

        How would you feel if your child was diagnosed with cancer? I bet you would want the research for Childhood Cancer. I haven’t supported the ACS or LLS for a long time now. Neither one gives much money to childhood cancer.

        Here are some facts about Childhood Cancer:
        Childhood Cancer Facts

        * Each day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer
        * One in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20
        * Each year approximately 235 Arizona children are diagnosed with cancer
        * Although cure rates are steadily increasing, 35% of children will die
        * Cancer remains the number one disease killer of children; more than genetic anomalies, cystic fibrosis, and AIDS combined
        * The overall incidence rate for childhood cancers has increased significantly by almost 33% during the period 1975 to 2001
        * On average a treatment for childhood cancer diagnosis is two years
        * Cancer treatment can cause serious side effects that may last a lifetime
        * Research on the emotional impact of childhood cancer finds that parents and siblings report even greater longterm emotional impacts than the diagnosed child

    • ryanneborden says:

      Bullcrap. This is not any kind of “stunt”! We’re trying to help make little girls who may never be able to have children, may never be able to grow their own hair, or a lot of things that most girls and women can do. Their self-image is deflated more and more every time they see the barbie, which is the young child’s idea of the perfect-looking woman, and it happens when they see people who don’t have to fight the battle just walk down the street. Take it from someone whose best friend had to fight that same battle as an EIGHT-YEAR-OLD just seven years ago, the barbie was a brilliant idea, and it could brighten up a child’s life…

  4. I cannot understand how you can say CHILDHOOD CANCER IS RARE?? Did you know that everyday 46 kids are diagnosed with Cancer and 7 Kids DIE?? How can you say that is RARE? My child is fighting Neuroblastoma for the 2nd time and i have Hundreds of friends that have children fighting or children that have lost the fight to what you deem a RARE CANCER?? Get a Grip ACS Childhood Cancer is No Longer RARE it’s a REALITY that you need to start facing instead of pushing under the rug. That you need to start raising awareness for and funding for so our babies stop dying…did you also know that less then 3 percent of all the money the ACS raises for cancer awareness goes to Pediatric Cancer?? Why because you say its to RARE to matter…well im here to tell you it;s not Rare anymore and we need to have awareness and funding raised to save our kids. Why wont the ACS start a GOLD RIBBON CAMPAIGN like they did the pink ribbon? Why is it that every September when its National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month we as families do not see a Gold Ribbon anywhere in stores all we see are Pink Ribbons out a month early for Breast Cancer Awareness Month which doesnt start till October?? I personally think the Bald Barbie would be a Great think for little warriors like my daughter to show her its ok to be bald and you can still be a beautiful princess without hair…and i also think a portion of the proceeds for each doll should go towards pediatric cancer funding…either to St, Baldtricks which raises Money for Pediatric Cancer or to St Judes….BUT NOT TO THE ACS who does nothing to help our kids!!!!!!!

    • caterinafmig says:

      Angela, you are SO RIGHT!! CLEARLY THIS INDIVIDUAL HAS NO CLUE! Mr. Becker should take time visiting the pediatric oncology floors and get a dose of reality. How dare he complain about $$$ going towards a Bald Barbie when ACS gives practically nothing towards childhood cancer research. Shame on him and shame on ACS!

    • sarahrutland says:

      Well said Angela !!!

    • I have given up on ACS doing anything to help our children. We now support CureSearch and COG. Funds raised are only for pediatric cancer…approx 94% of the money raised is used for research….check it out. It isn’t a household name like ACS, but we are trying to change that. I am not saying that what ACS has done for adult cancer isn’t a wonderful thing, but our children are our future and it’s about time that something should be done for them too.
      -i have been there with my child and chemo, surgery, hospital stays, hair loss, you name it, she fought it, and i will fight to my dying day to try and make it so other beautiful babies and children don’t ever have to go through what she and the other children she met did.

    • lauraleegee says:

      Angela. Just wanted to let you know that I am a neuroblastoma survivor. My family was told that I only had a 10% chance of survival. They also said if I did survive I would probably only live to be about 20. That was back in 1955. I’ve lived a fairly “normal” life and have 2 children (they told me I would have none) and 4 grandchildren. Keep positive. Best wishes for your family.

  5. Jim Lipski says:

    “Sadly, some 1340 children under age 14 are projected to die from cancer this year. Each one is a tragedy, and they and their families deserve sympathy and support, but it is critically important to pull back from this exercise in consumer bullying and ask whether the need this movement is rising to meet is as big as imagined, and whether it will result in any meaningful support reaching those who need it.”

    ACS throws the kids 1/2 cent out of every dollar they bring in. I would imagine that ANY amount from funds raised would be a step up. And ACS calls themselves the sponsor of birthdays…

  6. Dari McManus says:

    Dear ACS,
    I suppose asking for more than HALF A PENNY for each dollar you raise, to go to the kids is overreaching as well. HOW DARE you weigh in at ALL, when you do almost NOTHING and care so little for the kids.
    Remember the “MORE BIRTHDAYS” campaign where you paraded beautiful bald children all over your advertising, only to be pressured to remove them due to your abysmal lack of support for children. Well the same people who fought for those kids are still fighting now. Advocacy comes in many forms, and we DO care about those children. Bald Barbies, lemonade stands whatever it takes to get better cure rates, funding, and new trials. So maybe they can beat the odds and actually survive. Its a very sad state of affairs that this is what we must do.


    Once again THANK YOU FOR NOTHING AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY. At least you are consistent.

    RE: that lovely little comment about it being a publicity stunt by one of your readers…. DYING BABIES DESERVE A VOICE. I will hold my tongue…

    A Warrior for HOPE.

  7. Jim Lipski says:

    @ Laura Bullard. Why do you call this a “publicity stunt”? Have you ever held a child that has cancer in your arms and explained to her/him why they have to take the medication? The treatment? Why their hair is going to fallout? And a thousand other questions? Have you? Please, do share your story.

  8. “In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything (a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives),” “do we need one more thing whose function is to “raise awareness” about cancer?”

    The purpose of “Bald Barbie” isn’t to raise awareness…she’s for the children. You remember the children, right…they figure prominently in your ads, but not so much in your funding.

    “Is raising awareness worthwhile?”


    “This isn’t to say that awareness doesn’t have an important role in defeating cancer. It can be incredibly important when it comes to informing people about ways to reduce risk or about getting recommended screenings regularly. But there may be better ways to attack childhood cancer.”

    There is one risk factor for childhood cancer…childhood. You have to turn 20 to screen out of that…my son didn’t make it to 7. So don’t you tell me that “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare”.

    Until the ACS is ready to actually DO something to cure childhood cancer, don’t talk to or about those who are actually walking the walk.

  9. I am so disappointed by this blog, but not surprised that it was written by a man. I’m not a feminist, rather an advocate for cancer patients, young and old, male and female. I would think that ACS would think this falls under their “support” model, a coping mechanism for the youngest patients telling them bald is beautiful. If it raises some research dollars, then it has attained two noble goals. I would love to see the money go to St. Baldrick’s; it’s a nice hook with the bald connection and their support is broad. I think Mattel does have the choice of “win position” in this, but I hope St. Baldrick’s solves the problem for them by manufacturing and marketing the dolls themselves.

  10. You know, I’m sure a lot more of us (parents who have fought childhood cancer alongside our beautiful children) would be more sympathetic to your message if it hadn’t implied that pediatric cancer is not a worthy cause. I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt that it wasn’t your intention to word your article in this way but I’m having a hard time convincing myself otherwise. I would imagine since you are an advocate for one of the leading cancer societies, you couldn’t possibly ACTUALLY think that any kind of cancer isn’t worth the time.

    For starters, 90% of those rubber bracelets and “pink” objects to raise cancer awareness that your going on about have nothing to do with childhood cancer. When my son was diagnosed with JMML, I went on a search for some kind of “awareness” ribbon and my search came up rather short. I ended up having to create my own. Sadly, most of the products out there to raise awareness are for adult cancer. Not to say that adult cancer isn’t a worthy cause, it most definitely is. But the facts are that pediatric cancer, for whatever reason, is still considered a “rarity” as your article so clearly dictates. Rare it is not. What IS rare is how much money actually goes TO pediatric cancer research.

    Second, the comment about how this doll could affect perfectly normal, healthy children blew my mind. You are really suggesting that a bald Barbie would create some kind of mass hysteria for children? How do you figure? Is there a tie string to the back of the Barbie that when pulled is going to say “you could have cancer” in a panic stricken voice? Is the parent that bought the doll going to tell their kid that they are going to die? I can’t imagine on what universe children are going to be running through the streets with this doll screaming about how it’s the end of the world because *gasp* a bald Barbie was created for other little girls that were less fortunate than them. In fact, I would imagine this would be a great opportunity for parents (that are worth their salt) to teach children that all kids aren’t created equal and that this doll was made for kids that were ill. If that isn’t how it goes, then perhaps that is something you should be blaming the parents of the kids for… not on the kids who are stuck to an IV drip of poison running through their veins for wishing that one of their childhood heroes hadn’t been made with long, luscious locks of hair.

    Now, onto the main point of the article. For some reason, you’ve decided to lump childhood cancer parents with that of a lynch mob. Yes, us parents are a very passionate sort. We want childhood cancer to become a priority. The fact that it isn’t (unless you are an actual pediatric hematologist/oncologist who are also very passionate about what they do) is a sore spot for all of us. What you seem to be missing in all of this is that the doll has nothing to do with money for any of us. It has do with the self-esteem of little girls (and even boys) everywhere to have some kind of an idol to look to when all of their other heroes seem to lose their meaning. These kids have already had their childhood ripped out from under them and our job as parents is to try to give them something to grasp onto to maintain some kind of a life inside those walls. Are we going to string up the CEO of Mattel if it doesn’t happen? Absolutely not. Will we be disappointed? Probably. Are we going to stand by while people like you claim that we, the parents who would give up our arms, legs, internal organs, life, for our children are being SELFISH for wanting that Barbie? Heck no and YOU are the crazy one if you think we are.

    So really, pardon us for thinking that a bald Barbie might be a good thing for our little ones. We weren’t really thinking how painful it might be for those healthy kids that get to ride their bikes with their friends. Oops, how clumsy of us. I guess we just thought that perhaps a CANCER SOCIETY would look beyond the “garnering sympathy” to the crux of the matter. These kids are dying. And (no pun intended) would it kill YOU to act like it?

    • beth60497 says:

      Very well said. I do not have a child with cancer, but having just nursed my mother thru Lymphoma, I have experienced being a support person. I can’t understand why this person doesn’t realize that it’s not always about the money. It sometimes is about supporting the patient. A bald Barbie that looks like them will help these precious kids feel ok about themselves.. even if it’s just for a litle while.

      • sarahrutland says:

        Well said to both of you! I don’t have kids, but I follow A LOT of kids who have different forms of cancer. I, too, have experienced being a support person. My Dad passed away from cancer back in 2006. I can’t believe out of all the money I have donated to ACS over the years since my Dad’s death is hardly benefiting the kids! This is RIDICULOUS. They are our future. Lets get with the program and help the kids! Childhood cancer is no longer RARE!

      • Thanks to both of you for the support. I’m still trying to bring myself back down after reading this…

    • mightyducks9 says:

      I agree, well said. I am fortunate to have a healthy little boy. I did deal with watching my grandma go through breast cancer treatment and it was hard as a young kid. I feel childhood cancer does need A LOT more attention. As someone said this is our future! Also these little kids don’t even have the chance to have a childhood. It was hard to watch my grandma go through it, but at least she had a childhood, she had a good life, she had that opportunity. These kids are not getting that opportunity to have a childhood. Yes adult cancer is very important, so is childhood cancer and you really do not hear anything about it. I am happy that CNN did post articles about the Fitzgerald family that their childs battle with cancer. That is how I got turned onto wanting to support anything and everything to fight childhood cancer. It is the least I can do for these families as I was very blessed to have a healthy little boy. God bless all those families that have to fight this! So sad to see an article like this. So it’s all good to have every different ethnic dolls but can’t have one with no hair???? I would buy a doll to support and have no problem giving it to my child to play with. Needless to say I will not be supporting ACS but I will be individually supporting cancer societies.

    • mydaughterwasonchemofor30monthswhenshewas3 says:

      I agree 110% with what you said.

  11. Jenni Peck says:

    ACS ,you have a lot of nerve- you cannot help bring awareness to the kids on your website in September nor do you try to educate the public about the signs or symptoms of cancer in kids. But, you use pictures of children to pull the heartstrings of your public to fund your top five cancer priorities. Breast, Colon, Colo-rectal, prostate, and Lung.

    Everything that the ACS stands for is a contradiction to what children face. You preach about eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, using sun block and not smoking as a way to prevent cancer. Parents follow your recommendations and kids are still getting cancer. There are cancer clusters all over the country- we have four in Ohio- Why? No one knows. So how can you prevent cancer if you do not know what causes it?

    Your slogan we want a world with more birthdays is a lie. You want more money. Why else would you march breast cancer survivors on a NFL football field in October and have them dance along to “I am a survivor”??? To compete for the pink bucks that Komen raises- I know you are the expert and I don’t have to tell you, but breast cancer is NOT the number one disease killer of women and it isn’t the number one cancer killer of women. But Cancer is the number one disease killer of children. And these kids are suffering- even the survivors are battling horrific side effects from treatment including secondary cancers from treatment.

    I agree with Mary Tyler Mom the kids do need money for research. There are only been two drugs developed specifically for pediatric cancer in the last 20 years. There are over 120 different types of childhood cancers. ACS you are a billion dollar business why are you not helping more? I know, I have been told several times by your reps that is not what the ACS does…the ACS is focused on prevention.

    I am focused on doing what is morally right for children and I do not think it is okay to rattle off some statistics which represent lives of DEAD children and then tell the public that it isn’t enough to matter. One child killed by cancer is too many. I have lost all hope of your organization ever understanding this. My money and support will go to organizations that do care, like St. Baldricks, CureSearch, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand

  12. Jim and Diana, You know when your kid scrapes their knee and you hurt for them and actually feel their pain? That is what I feel for you both right now. I feel this white hot pain for you. You two do more for childhood cancer on a Sunday afternoon that the ACS does all year. That is some BS!

  13. Hmmm… why doesn’t ACS send more money towards pediatric cancer? You sure like to use little bald kids in your commercials–while most of your funding goes towards adult cancers, such as breast and prostate. Instead of slamming people trying to do some good, why don’t you try it yourselves?

  14. I have to agree with so many posts here but a few. Unless you are thrown into the childhood cancer community and physically see children battling on a day to day basis, you have no clue as to what devastation it entails. Watching your child, suffer and die because there is NOTHING for them because so many feel that cancer in children is RARE is a huge understatement. Did you also know that if a child is “cured” in your eyes that “cure” brings a much higher risk of coming down with a secondary cancer, for which there is NO CURE…

    Your article states, “that about one in 20 who are diagnosed with LCIS, a condition that may lead to breast cancer, are choosing bilateral mastectomy; the surgical removal of both breasts.” The key word here is CHOOSING. Children have NO choice. 99% of the time children are mis-diagnosed until they reach stage III or IV, WHY you may ask. Because there is NO preventative or pre-screening for childhood cancer! Most cancers in children mimic other childhood illness so the children go mis-diagnosed for months. This I know for a fact because I experienced it with my own child. WHY you may ask again. Because so many like yourself feel that 10,000 to 15,000 per year is not worth the research….Also, take a good look at your statistic’s when was the last time that they were updated, 2007 maybe even long before that. In your eyes, there are only a few forms of cancer. There are 12 major types of childhood cancers, each have multiple sub-types most that have NO CURE.

    Maybe, if you a SOCIETY for cancer would promote and research ALL cancer and not just one or two, maybe just maybe we will find our answers. I as a WOMEN and MOTHER would take having breast cancer or any other cancer any day over that of watching my CHILD suffer and die. What MOTHER/PARENT wouldn’t? Since your primary focus is on prevention, where is your prevention into childhood cancers. Wait, you have none. No worries I as a parent will find the prevention on my own, with the continued support of other parents. Or, wait maybe you’ll fund my research as you do for the SGK foundation. That is one reason you sport pink over other colors isn’t?

  15. While I have mixed feelings about this Barbie situation, my feelings about this blog post are very clear. It is condescending and misinformed and gives me yet another reason NOT to donate one penny to the ACS and to encourage my friends to be similarly tight-fisted.

    RARE, huh? Let’s see — My godson was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2007. A friend’s daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2008, and a friend’s grandson with NB in 2009. That’s THREE children within my own circle and does not include the dozens of children I now know because of them and my subsequent involvement in fundraising for pediatric cancer awareness and treatment.

    A world “littered with cancer totems?” i don’t consider this bracelet I have worn 24/7 since February of 2007 a “totem.” It is a constant reminder of what my godson has endured and continues to endure, as well as a way to raise awareness of childhood cancer. It’s not a fashion accessory.

    Perhaps the ACS should actually DO something to help, rather than denigrate well-intentioned people who are trying desperately to support these kids.

  16. My 11yr old son Wilson is a 10yr survivor of stg3 Neuroblastoma one of the deadliest childhood cancers. For you to imply that raising awareness for childhood cancer by making a Barbie doll that could make a little girl fighting cancer isn’t worth it? You go tell some members of my family who were at my son’s side while he suffered threw chemo and the loss of a kidney because of Neuroblastoma that efforts to help spread awareness isn’t worth it. See what they have to say about that.

  17. How could the ACS NOT support childhood cancer awareness-in general and bald barbie in particular. And in fact get your facts straight– how did you put it– “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare.” Really?????!!!! It is in fact the number one cause of disease related death in children. Even one child is too many. What have you got against supporting children anyway? Shouldn’t they be our number one priority. Obviously the ACS needs to spend a little more time in children’s hospitals with these innocent victims! There is so little done for and about the far too may children and their families…. then along comes this ONE THING that could make a BIG IMPACT. And this is how you react. How dare you!!! Thanks for the support ACS. You should call yourselves the AEKCS – American (except for kids) Cancer Society!!

  18. 2trakmind says:

    Wow. Exceedingly rare? What world are you living in American Cancer Society? This article is yet another example of why we don’t support the ACS in our fundraising and don’t encourage others to when they ask us who they should send their money to. The ACS is all too happy to use bald children in their commercials, because the kids can make them money, but when it comes down to it, ACS commits very little to helping research and development for pediatric cancer.

    While I agree that a bald Barbie would do very little practically speaking, it could mean something very important to a little girl fighting cancer; something quite intangible, but nonetheless important. I also agree that bullying manufacturers in to producing products for what is a very small percentage of their customers is out of line, but getting public support for it and asking them to consider it is something else completely.

    As far as I’m concerned, ACS needs to get off their high horse and put their money where their mouth is before they start pointing the finger at the many committed families who are just trying to make a difference in the lives of these little children.

  19. With this post, you have lost a lot of donations. This is not about fundraising, but about acceptance, love and kindness. A little girl should never feel compelled to cut the hair off her dolls so they can look the same again. A little girl should never feel ugly and alone. A doll. It’s a doll. A doll that would make a child feel better. A doll that would make it easier to accept and unnessecary and evil fate. A small and insignificant thing that could make the 12,500 girls who get cancer each and every year feel better, happier and beautiful. That could make their sisters cope with this strange thing their sister is going through. That could make a daughter not feel so bad about their mother’s illness. A small and insignificant thing that would cost Mattel nothing to make. One step in the doll making process skipped. A small thing that a company could do to make the children suffering from cancer happy. Which is apparently something that the American Cancer Society cares nothing about.

  20. ldgropp says:

    This coming from an organization who fradulently and knowingly EXPLOITS children to steal money from the public by making them believe they are helping a child, when, in fact, you give NOTHING to children! A whole whopping HALF A CENT of each dollar for kids, pay your NON-PROFIT salaries and what minute amount is donated isn’t even for cure research! You have ZERO right to weigh in on ANYTHING involving our children, let alone even speaking about them! Maybe we should start spending more time on filing lawsuits against you for fraud and making that kind of awareness brought to society! You do NOTHING to help children or their families, but sure have our babies littered all over your campaigns. Lying to donors and falsely advertising to exploit donations under false pretenses is far more of a crime then us doing something wonderful for our children. And let’s see? The kids would get a beautiful doll to make themselves feel pretty again AND proceeds WOULD actually go to a childhood cancer organization! So, we WOULD be providing that donation of $10-20 AND the kids would get their doll and boost their self esteem. How about you and your so called cancer parent get the facts straight before either of you run your mouth about something you know nothing about! Sounds to me like it’s a double win for the kids and you’re just pissed you didn’t think of the idea to where you could suck the life out of more funds away from children!

  21. Wow, I am shocked that the ACS would let someone be so insensitive to the community of Children battling cancer. I hope this goes viral and people get angry and promote Childhood cancer awareness ten fold. My son is suffering right now next to me and all I can say is Wow.
    I will be posting this for the sake of all the angry people before me on my facebook page and blog.!/pages/Speak-Up-to-Silence-Cancer/272558346126344

  22. Very unhappy with this article as a parent of a daughter who had cancer, I have seen 1st hand how difficult it is when children lose their hair and the toll it takes on them emotionally I think the idea of a Barbie just for them would be amazing and do wonders for them not to mention they left out that the FB movement was also proposing a portion of the money go to a childhood cancer charity like St Jude etc but I shouldn’t be surprised by an organization that spends so little on childhood cancer to really care about them.

  23. Lara Huffman says:

    To anyone who doesn’t believe Mattel cares about children or childhood cancer, please take a look at the children’s hospital they fund: Should we take away the money they provide to this hospital to fund the mass production of this doll?

    I’m a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30 in September 2010. My hair is growing back amazing, and I struggled with self-acceptance when I was bald. I’m also the child of a woman who went through breast cancer and lost her life when I was 7. I’m sympathetic and stand with the cancer community, but not this. Just because someone doesn’t support your one idea, it doesn’t mean they hate kids or want to see them suffer.

    • beth60497 says:

      Didn’t see anyone bashing Mattel here.. just ACS’s assertion that childhood cancer is rare; it is not. And that the ACS loves to parade sick, bald children in their fundraising, and yet they give only 1/2 of a cent towards childhood cancers.
      Childhood cancers react differently to the drugs and treatment protocols that treat adult cancers. There needs to be more funding to find cures for our kids.

      • kwanner2000 says:

        I agree Beth. No one said Mattel was an issue….its this idiot’s assertion that childhood cancer is “exceedingly rare”….and the fact that the ACS only allocates 1% of funds towards childhood cancer research!

    • krstwlkr says:

      I am happy you survived cancer and are living past 30. I hope I can say the same for my 7 year old. I’d be happy if she grew up to get boobs. But your cancer fight is not the same as a child’s. These kids can’t go outside to play, or go to school while fighting cancer. Did you go to school as a child? When kid’s are most vulnerable and developing their identity, they lose their hair? Did you have hair as a child? Did you dream of your wedding or what you wanted to be when you grow up? Well, my daughter is dealing with all of that. And while I tell her that she can be whatever she wants when she grows up, MY reality is that she may not reach those goals. At least you were old enough to reach some of them. Breast Cancer cure rate is higher than my daughters. And this isn’t about a doll raising awareness for childhood cancer, this is about a doll that will make little girls happy. Little girls whose world revolves around hospitals and chemo and back pokes and radiation (probably all the things you went through, only imagine doing it at 7 years old or even at birth as some of the cancer cuties I know are doing). Why is it so wrong to have a doll that will make a child happy? ASK THE CHILDREN WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE. Any awareness or money from it will be a bonus.

  24. Here is my daughters story. She suffers from Trichotillomania and is 12.

    Here is a video she made about WHY this doll should be made. Remember she is 12 and this is her opinion.

  25. “Childhood Cancer is exceedingly rare”. 46 kids are diagosed with cancer every day in the USA and 7 children die from cancer each day in the USA. My son had Ewing’s Sarcoma, (4.6 cases per 1,000,000 in adolescents aged 15–19 years in the US per year) and it is “exceedingly rare”, but does that make him any less important than any other cancer patient? ACS, you better watch what you say about Childhood Cancer and who you dare to insult. Until you step up and do more for the children, you have no right to try to stop anything from happening, including the sale of a Bald Barbie. Give me a break.

  26. Maybe I should ask my son how rare childhood cancer is Mr Becker you ignorant fool.. Sorry i can’t because like thousands of other children he is DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yes killed by cancer which you claim to be so rare… I cannot believe you would write such a pig ignorant article.. SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • dmurrayarmitage says:

      That’s it, Becca. Give them both barrels! The shear entitlement that ACS displays acting as if anything to do with cancer that does not come from them is not worthy or worthwhile! A day of reconning is coming for this organisation. They have become too bloated and complacent and have lost sight of their raison d’etre, the very reason they exist. Lost in their clamour for public and private funds, they have become a monster rather than the sum of good deeds as their short-sighted comments show.

  27. The biggest problems with this movement are apparent in the comments to this article. Criticism of an idea does not amount to deserving to have cancer wished upon you.

    • lafevem says:

      I took the time to read your blog (way to self promote) and while I agree with some of the assertions you make, you come across as quite the elitist. The founders of the Facebook page are lacking in PR skills, and definitely could use a good editor, but that does not detract from the passion for their cause. Your opinion seems to be only really smart, media savvy people have the right to start a movement. Historically, successful change came about from the “least of these” gathering together and raising their voices in defiance. The movement could definitely use some organization, however, I am certain the moderators of the page did not expect it to grow exponentially in just days. Have you offered to help “learn them to spell” and teach them some of them “big words”. I doubt it. It’s easier to sit back and make fun of those you view as unrefined. Honestly, I am more interested in the fire in their souls and the commitment to the cause.

    • krstwlkr says:

      As a mother and a human being, I’d take any suffering away from a child, even if that meant giving me the cancer instead. And if giving a doll to a child with cancer will put a smile on her face because the doll resembles her, then why not? ASK THE CHILDREN IF THEY WANT THE DOLL, after all, isn’t this what this is about?
      But instead people like you are bashing the movement. Please, come to my home and tell my 7 year old that you are fighting against a doll that she says will make her happy and feel good. Tell that to my bald, cancer fighting child who desperately wants this doll. Go to the hospitals and tell all the little ones that a toy that may make them feel better is a bad idea. Face to face…because these children live in more adult worlds that even you do. They hear words like mortality, death rate, side affects, and make life or death decisions. Do you do that? Because honestly, they don’t care about the money…that is our job as parents, they just want to play.

  28. This is a friend of mine’s comments as he is mobile and cannot log it.

    Jim Calistro ‎Jason, I cannot post as I’m not logged in to the ACS. But feel free to post this on my behalf: This opinion, coming from the FOR PROFIT organization known as the American Cancer Society?
    What a shocking surprise…
    In a laissez-faire capitalistic economy, the CONSUMER should be able to say what they would like. If the manufacturer is unable/unwilling to accede to the demands of its customers, then those customers will look elsewhere, or boycott the unresponsive company.

  29. Sounds like the guy who wrote this just wants money for ACS.. Wonder if his time is donated or does he get a check. I am appalled to read what he wrote and to know how little of money I donate to the ACS goes to childhood cancer. My mom survived breast cancer, but now what money I donate will go to St. Judes or any other research for childhood cancer. This doll is not for awareness it is to help children with acceptance. To teach Love of others no matter what they look like. To help girls to know how Beautiful they are and to know that hair isn’t what makes you Beautiful, you are what makes you Beautiful..To understand that Beauty comes from within. I can’t believe that after making this statement that this guy still has a job..

  30. Jason,

    When I grow up I want to be as strong as your daughter Chloe.

  31. Oh poor American Cancer Society, how clearly un-informend you are! How do you have a right to call childhood cancer rare?!?!? Perhaps that is why you give less than 3% of your funding to Childhood Cancers. I wonder how rare the 46 families who were just told their child has cancer today feel it is? I wonder how rare the 7 families who just watched their sweet angel slip into heaven today feel it is? I wonder how rare the 1 in 330 who will develop cancer before the age of 20 think it is? I can tell you that rare is the LAST word I would use. Open your eyes!

  32. One child suffering from cancer is one child to many. It is not rare. Maybe the person who wrote this article should visit some pediatric oncology floors, then tell how rare it is.

  33. Wendy Tarlow says:

    Amazingly inaccurate post ACS! I am now 43 with a 3 year old and have an incurable form of lymphoma. In fact, there are a huge amount of women who are in their childbearing years with various forms of cancer. Especially, lymphomas! You should be ashamed at how badly researched your message is. Have you looked at our page and seen the number of children on it and families that are affected? Or even heard what they are asking for? And I don’t see where there have been any bullying tactics except maybe from you.

    Wendy Tarlow, Administrator

  34. YOU WILL COMPLETELY NOT BEING GETTING MY HELP AT OUR RELAY FOR LIFE IN JUNE I CANT BELIEVE THIS HOW NASTY DO YOU GET I had to hold my 3yr old cousin dieing in my arms of Leukemia while her parents fell to the floor screaming my babys gone Kids are fighting terribly much worst amazes me how they smile through it and adult whine so much not sayin they need but wooo is us adult selfishness to help ourselfs not our next generation be considered if you want to play this game i will be sure to tell many in our state not to support your lies like the Susan K Breast foundation does I HOPE YOU CHANGE YOUR WAYS HAVE A REAL HEART

  35. Gwen Smith says:

    Articles like these cause such anger and sadness in me because of the pain and continued pain that goes with watching your precious child or grandchild die of cancer. My grandson, Hawk, forever 5, was not a statistic….he was our precious grandson. How dare the ACS even wade in on this when they have very little concern for children with cancer. You stated that a mom said, ” a donation of $10-$20 to support cancer research would make far more of an impact than buying a doll.”….Maybe, but not if the money was given to the ACS who gives a measly HALF A PENNY for each dollar you raise to the children. In my opinion, since you have very little concern for the children, HOW DARE you ever way in on this subject. And it’s not about the $10 or $20 you spend for the doll, IT’S ABOUT GIVING SOME COMFORT TO A LITTLE GIRL WHO IS LOSING HER HAIR BECAUSE OF CANCER. Have you ever watched your precious grandson during the last 2 weeks of his life, knowing he is not going to be healed, knowing that he is going to die at the age of 5, knowing that you will never see him again on this side of heaven again. I have done this. So, HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT CHILDHOOD CANCER IS RARE…A LIE. HOW DARE YOU SAY THERE ARE TOO MANY “TOTEMS” OF CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS. THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH “TOTEMS” TO BRING AWARENESS TO CHILDHOOD CANCER. BUT YOU WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT THAT, SINCE THE ACS REALLY IS NOT TOO CONCERNED ABOUT THE CHILDREN. I WILL NEVER GIVE A DIME OF MY MONEY TO THE ACS….

  36. Susan Monroe says:

    I am absolutely sickened by this article. As a volunteer with the ACS and a two time cancer survivor, I WHOLLY believe there needs to be more funding from the ACS to childhood cancer awareness and research. I am working on implementing a program for the ACS, specifically for CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS AND RESEARCH. I have been affected by cancer, twice, neither of them being breast cancer. We are in a new millenium since ACS started and ACS needs to step up. This article is completely RIDICULOUS and you, ASBECKER, should be completely ashamed of yourself, for your thoughtless comments about the “stats” of childhood cancer. Really? 1 child is too many!!! WE, ASBECKER, need to be the voice for these children, the advocates, the investigators and the supporters. I am so completely flabbergasted at why you would even write this article, let alone POST it!!!! YOU, ASBECKER, DO NOT represent those of us that are on the front lines of ACS, fighting cancer, raising money for awareness and research and volunteering for the programs that ACS offers to cancer patients and their families. I guarantee that you, ASBECKER, have never stayed up all night, at a Relay For Life event, holding the hand of a caregiver that recently lost a family member, cheering that cancer survivor on, as they walk the track, using a walker or cane, watching the youth of our communities help fight back against cancer with their fundraising efforts. Whether Mattel makes a bald barbie or not, should not be ANY or YOUR concern, what should be YOUR concern as a “national media relations” for the ACS, is what can the ACS do to change the amount of money that NEEDS to be going to CHILDHOOD CANCER RESEARCH!! I, as a volunteer with ACS am going to continue my efforts in finding a cure for cancer, ALL CANCERS!!! I will also be watching to see if ACS, nationally and worldwide, will step up and endorse the BACC PACC (Bringing Awareness to Childhood Cancer by Pedaling Against Childhood Cancer) event. This is a brand new event, that the ACS office in Phoenix, AZ, is proud to be a part of. I am truly concerned as an ACS volunteer and as a cancer survivor, about your position within the ACS, ASBECKER. I am the FACE of the ACS, you are NOT!!! I freely give my time and efforts to something I believe in, would you, ASBECKER?

    • sarahrutland says:

      VERY well said Susan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • krisays72 says:

        Thank you for saying everything I wanted too. I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer in December 2009. I relayed for my first year in 2010 with a friend’s team whose 20 year was diagnosed with cancer and is now a survivor. Well I watched my mother dying, I watched this families fight for their daughter and she was one of the lucky ones! Also at this time a good friend of mine’s daughter was battling neuroblastoma for the 2nd time! My first year I raised over $3,000 on my own half of the team total! I was asked to walk with their team again but I chose to form my own team in memory of my mother. And we rocked! Together we raised $6065 and we won 1st place Rookie team! And on our team was 4 year old Kadie Stonebraker, battling neuroblastoma for her 3rd time! Her mother and her did the survivor walk and it was one of the most emotional things I’ve experienced in my life (might I add along with the 2011 St. Baldwick’s 46 Momma’s Shave for the Brave in Washington, DC that I attended a month after her passing with her mom, Sarah). Kadie passed away less than a month after the relay and in honor of her we changed our team name to include her too. Nancy and Kadie’s “Lucky” Nuts because we were all so lucky to have been blessed with both these ladies in our lives! This year we are well on our way to surpassing last years amount raised and I am so appalled by this article for all the reasons you wrote above! Thanks to ASBecker I think that ACS is going to lose a lot of donations instead of gaining them by supporting and raising more awareness and prevention for Childhood cancer! I support Chili’s and Hyundai because they support Childhood cancer! The ACS does a lot of good things for many people battling cancer which I learned through my mom’s battle but ASBecker’s lack of compassion for this NON rare cancer is just plain wrong! I am so glad to see you are endorsing the new event BACC PACC because we here in PA are totally ready to go GOLD with it! I think the ACS needs to make some huge changes in their future possibly who they let represent them without a face!

  37. All it takes is NOT putting hair in the doll, is that so difficult to leave one step out? And for the thousands of children suffering from Childhood cancer, it is a big deal that we support them! Your obvious ignorance about Childhood cancer is frustrating. If your child were diagnosed, you would not be so quick to dismiss this idea. Shame on American Cancer Society for acting this way. Seems like really only Breast cancer is a concern for you, even though millions suffer from so many other forms of cancer.

  38. If it could help children at school learn about and feel more comfortable around a bald little girl with cancer, then it is worth it. If it can help one child relate to their mother or other family member losing their hair to cancer or allopecia, then it is worth it. My 5 year old daughter has leukemia. If it could help her have less anxiety and feel better about herself then it is worth it. As a parent, I am less concerned with awareness and fundraising than with my little girl’s experience with treament, and anything that would help her cope is worth it.

  39. I can’t even believe what I am reading! “Do we need one more thing whose function is to “raise awareness” about cancer? Is raising awareness worthwhile?” REALLY? SERIOUSLY? You can’t possibly be SERIOUS! You are the American CANCER Society! Awareness is EVERYTHING! Awareness equals funding which equals a CURE. What do you suggest then, a LACK of awareness?! Awareness really IS about fundraising. The more people that are aware, the more money will be put into a cure and better treatment options.

    And to me, those are not cancer totems, they are symbols of hope and a drive to help and to make things BETTER.

    Childhood cancer is NOT rare. Our kids ARE important enough. Are you implying that there are not many of them enough…to save? We need people to stop trying to sweep childhood cancer under the rug and believe me, that isn’t going to happen.

    My 3 year old daughter died from pediatric cancer. She was not a statistic. She was not rare. She was a 3 year old girl who loved life, who was sweet, funny, beautiful, and brave. And, she loved Barbies.

    And by the way, I’m young too and I have cancer. I have a rare form of thyroid cancer, which is the fastest growing cancer, which affects a lot of women UNDER 40.

    A bald Barbie would certainly NOT TERRORIZE children. It can’t even be compared to a lightning strike Barbie! Have you turned on the TV lately?

    Are we a social media mob? A MOB?! And we are bullying?! The page that started this attention actually promotes no bullying! Yes, we are a passionate group. We love our children with cancer, some are NED, some are warriors currently fighting…and tragically, some are angels, like my daughter. What we want is a cure for the most precious beings on this planet…our children. That’s not bullying or being a mob scene…that’s called passion and love.

    I suppose in our society it’s ok to talk endlessly about celebrities, have dolls that wear suggestive clothing, and have video games that are graphically violent, but it’s not ok to save children or have a bald Barbie doll. At least that is the message I’m getting. And that to me, is negligent and unacceptable.

  40. Victoria, it isn’t all about cancer. It is about making awareness of bald little men and women who suffer from Alopecia, Cancer, and Trichotillomania to name a few. Watch my daughters videos above. I think you can see where she is coming from.

  41. “In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything”….So how about organizations like ACS and Susan G. Komen stop inundating us with this stuff? How about you give some of these sick kids their say in what they want without you bullying your opinion? Why don’t you stop pressuring schools into having “Relay for Life” or pressuring the NFL to wear pink? Oh, I know, because you rely on donations to pay all your salaries! You are no different than a politician bought off by special interests. Your opinion means NOTHING!!! Have a heart for once, ACS and Susan G. Komen. Stop suing charities that use your “copyrighted” slogans. Stop being bullies to charities that want to help kids. We all know that you will NOT!!

  42. Ok I read this article and they interview one mom who had a child whom died, very sad, but did they interview any children who are dealing with the issue? NO This article also insinuates that it is ok for a big corporation to make one doll for one little girl? What made her more special than all these other girls who really want one?? BECAUSE SHE KNEW SOMEBODY IN HIGH PLACE???
    I also disagree with the fact that they say this movement needs to stop because it is corporation bullying?? WHO PAID FOR THIS ARTICLE TO BE WRITTEN?? Lastly OUR ( AMERICAN) history is full of ppl who disagreed with what they felt was wrong and YES IT DID MAKE DIFFERENCES… I SAY LETS KEEP PUSHING LETS KEEP FIGHTING!!!!

    OHHH and to address the fact of we would nevr know if the money went to cancer research or not, Well Honestly that isn’t as much of a point to me is the fact we let our girls know, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL WITH OR WITHOUT HAIR!!! an

  43. To Lara: You missed the point entirely of the comments section. We’re not even remotely close to up in arms about Mattel. We’re flabbergasted by a supposed advocate for ACS making a claim on either outdated or completely made up “statistics” about how childhood cancer already has enough, what did he say, totems?

    Bald Barbie or not, this guy has absolutely no right belittling the actions of families who have suffered or even those who haven’t been stricken by cancer but want to make it a little bit easier on those who have. Parents are not meant to bury their children but it happens everyday thanks to childhood cancer. And for it to be shoved down our throat that WE’RE the selfish consumer bullies for asking for a doll…a friggin’ doll… makes me sick to my stomach in ways that can’t even be explained. Because ya know what? I bet any one of us would prefer a cure for cancer… but until that happens, if a doll can make a little kid’s life just a tad bit easier during the process, why shouldn’t I be pushing for it?

    And that’s great that he has a different opinion than us. He just needs to learn to respect those kids with cancer while he’s expressing it.

  44. Mr. Becker,

    Sadly you are uneducated and misinformed about Childhood Cancer. Shame on the ACS for allowing your article to be published. Stop to consider that maybe this Barbie would not only benefit children suffering from cancer/hair loss but also educate adults and children who stare, gawk and make rude comments to those who are suffering from one of these conditions. Maybe it would teach a little compassion and empathy. Obviously you could learn a little as well. Childhood Cancer does not receive the recognition, funding or research it deserves due to views of people like you. I would like for you to tell my daughter, ALL/Burkitts Leukemia Survivor and my son who is currently in treatment for ALL that Cancer is rare. Matter of fact, I invite your to our Oncology clinic to express your views to all of the children there receiving chemo, puking, unable to walk, BALD and dying that it is rare.

  45. Tell a parent who has lost a child to the cancer beast that childhood cancer is rare. It affects far too many children ….. far far too many families have been broken by the disease. It’s time that childhood cancer gets the attention it deserves, even if it has to be a bald headed Barbie. The treatment my daughter received was a 20 year old protocol. Come on. The most innocent of victims get the least amount of attention. ACS, shame on you.

  46. Your 1/2 a penny does NOTHING for our children. RARE??? you say. It is the NUMBER 1 KILLER of children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You people should be ashamed.

  47. As one of the administrators of the Facebook page, as a woman with cancer, as a woman who has friends that have children with cancer, as a woman who has an 11 year old neighbor with Alopceia, as a woman who is part of a Relay for Life team to raise money for the American Cancer Society, with the kids from Clearview High School, team called Mohawks for Mom, the kids are shaving their heads into Mohawks…. (I am that Mom)…I am so very disappointed in the American cancer Society. Dare I say even almost ashamed to participate in the Relay for Life now. I will still participate and help raise money for the American Cancer Society in the upcoming Relay for Life, but I will be doing it with a sad heart towards the ACS and I doubt I will be doing another Relay for Life after this, my efforts will go to other cancer organizations that are not so heartless as to the children with cancer.

    Jane Bingham
    Beautiful and Bald Barbie
    activist and administrator

  48. I agree with you that pushing Mattel to produce a bald barbie as a viral grass roots effort is at least somewhat misguided. I also agree both childhood cancer and breast cancer in women with children is rare (although I disagree that further awareness is not needed for childhood cancer). Furthermore, I agree Mattel has to weigh the positives and the negatives and further agree mass marketing of a bald barbie is probably not the best for business (focused marketing or even charitable creation (Make a Wish bald Barbie), I would disagree with). The problem I have with your argument, or rather how it is stated, is the use of emotional and, unfortunately, condescending words. You disagree with the idea? Wonderful. You feel you have a good argument against the idea? I am right behind you. But I find the use of words like “littered”and “consumer bullying”, amongst others, extremely distasteful. Using negative emotional wording is a tactic employed by immature or manipulative people, primarily to end the debate and get the other side to simply “shut up”. And, if you have a solid argument, you should never have to resort to these types of words to make your point.

  49. I’m not entirely sure if this blog makes my blood boil or makes it run cold, it seems to do both at the same time; in fact, it has a similar effect to the fact that I was once one of those kids who was diagnosed with cancer. I’m definitely pissed because still – almost 44 YEARS post dx of Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma – kids who are diagnosed with cancer are being treated with downsized adult versions of chemotherapy; kids are DYING needlessly because people like these in the ACS won’t get off their asses and DO something about it!! They would rather just say “Childhood cancer is EXCEEDINGLY RARE.” (Half a penny on every dollar going to Childhood cancer JUST DOESN’T CUT IT!!) Sometimes, the only thing RARE about Childhood cancer is the Long Term Survivor!!! As one of the Long Term Survivors, it is my duty & honor to be a voice for the kids fighting today, for the kids who were ripped away from their parents & families by this monster, for the kids newly diagnosed, for the kids yet to be diagnosed and for all the Survivors!! My monster wasn’t under the bed, in my closet, outside my window or wherever those damn monsters like to hide – my monster was INSIDE ME and you can’t just close your eyes to wish a monster like that away!!

    It is true that not all girls want a Barbie doll, but ALL GIRLS WANT TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL!! ALL GIRLS WANT TO FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG!! ALL GIRLS WANT TO BE INCLUDED!! This doll would certainly help!!

    So sick and tired of the term “RARE” being connected to Childhood cancer!! Please ACS & Mr. Becker, I would like for you to tell my friends (who have become family) to their faces, the monster that is killing/changing/or has murdered their child, grandchild, sister, brother, niece, nephew, godchild, bestest buddy is RARE; because when you look into their eyes, then through their eyes at what they lived and continue to live everyday – you might come to understand RARE is a TERRIBLE SELF SERVING LIE used to downplay a disease that is reaching epidemic proportion!!! A disease, in fact, that is the NUMBER 1 DISEASE KILLER OF OUR CHILDREN!!

    I put my money where my mouth is…
    Awareness => Funding => Research => CURE
    My money goes to St. Baldrick’s Foundation – because Shaving The Way To Conquer Kids’ cancer is better than being like the ACS, lying and exploiting kids just to gain another dollar!!

  50. I’m not sure that I can call NOT including the hair on an existing model of doll a “major investment” in production. Frankly, I see a cost saving. Moms, grandmas, aunts, friends – there are people who face cancer or some other ailment leading to baldness that LOTS of little girls interact with. Could be their teacher. A neighbor. The cancer in the two groups you pinpoint might be “rare” by your standards, but to think that a great many children aren’t being impacted, that they aren’t encountering friends or women with hair loss for some reason, is burying your head in the sand. This isn’t a request for a doll for awareness, it’s a request for acceptance. Understanding. It’s a recognition by Mattel that ALL girls can be beautiful, not just ones with long blonde locks.
    Do I agree that a better impact is made by donating to cancer research? Yes. I donate to pediatric cancer causes. You know what else I do? I purchase Christmas and Birthday gifts for kids who are facing the monster that is pediatric cancer. You know what they ask for? Dolls with ports. Bald Barbies. Things that are familiar and comforting to them, and share the “new normal” that is their life.
    The little girl from my church with alopecia? She would love a bald Barbie, one that is like her.
    No, I don’t think I’m quite ready to back down on this one. Not just for my cancer kids, but for my healthy kids who love and respect their friends and family members who are fighting.

  51. Lara Huffman says:

    @Beth and Rachel Morrow:

    To Lara: You missed the point entirely of the comments section. We’re not even remotely close to up in arms about Mattel. We’re flabbergasted by a supposed advocate for ACS making a claim on either outdated or completely made up “statistics” about how childhood cancer already has enough, what did he say, totems?

    Didn’t see anyone bashing Mattel here.. just ACS’s assertion that childhood cancer is rare; it is not. And that the ACS loves to parade sick, bald children in their fundraising, and yet they give only 1/2 of a cent towards childhood cancers.
    Childhood cancers react differently to the drugs and treatment protocols that treat adult cancers. There needs to be more funding to find cures for our kids.


    I wasn’t making commentary about the comments section. Why would I make a comment on everyone’s comments. That doesn’t even make sense. I made a comment about the Bald Barbie move itself. I think the movement is misguided but if I tried to write my views on the Facebook page, they’d get deleted. The movement is asking for a company to make a Bald Barbie. I saw that people on the FB were calling for a boycott of Mattel because they won’t make this doll. How is that supposed to help?

    You know the odds of me getting breast cancer at the age of 30 were? I had a 2 percent chance. I also had a less than 1 percent chance of going into anaphylaxis and coming close to death during my first chemotherapy. Both of these things happened, and yet I’m still considered a rare statistic, an anamoly. That doesn’t change the fact that what happened to me was rare but it doesn’t discredit it either. Cancer has been a huge presence in my life since my mother died from it when I was 7 (diagnosed with it when I was 2 years old). I went through chemo and had all my hair fall out. I know what it’s like to be bald and have people stare at you like, “Oh you poor thing.” I’ve also learned that nobody is a winner when you start comparing cancer stories. Just because I don’t agree with the Bald Barbie movement, doesn’t mean I hate children or think what families have been through is meaningless.

    I’m sure St. Judes and Baldrick’s would love all of you who are behind the Bald Barbie movement to make donations to them.

    • Then I would love to apologize for misinterpreting your comment. I’m very sorry for the misunderstanding.

      I’ll be honest, I’m pretty indifferent to the bald Barbie. If it happens, that is wonderful. If it does not, then that is also fine.

      What baffles me, Lara, is that this man doesn’t seem to have any empathy. And I honestly don’t believe that a bald Barbie will put a full stop on donations to those places you mentioned. I’ll still be giving my money at all those gas stations and grocery stores who are making money for whatever disease they are donating to. I will still ask for JMML Foundation donations for my birthday rather than presents. And I bet every parent out there that already does that will too.

      If Mattel can’t do it, then I am not going to lynch them for it. I am, however, going to continue to disagree with the words this guy spouted out of his mouth like we’re all a bunch of mobsters with a tommy gun. Which is absolutely ridiculous.

    • beth60497 says:

      Honestly, I haven’t been on their Facebook page, so if there is a call for a boycott, I was unaware of it. My comment/response was based solely on what I read here on this blog. As consumers, we have the ability, or maybe the responsbility to speak with our dollars. If they don’t see the production of a bald barbie as feasible, but another company makes a bald doll.. then the consumers will vote with their dollars.
      All cancer is heartbreaking, and it doesn’t affect any 2 people the same, so isn’t everyone an anamoly? They didn’t even want to offer my 80 year old mother chemo for her brain tumor…they were talking weeks to live at her first diagnosis.. And almost 2 years later, she’s in remission and doing great.. another anamoly.
      My issue isn’t about whether or not Mattel makes the doll.. we have a right to participate in a campaign to request it, and they have a right to say no.
      But I think we can all agree that more research needs to be done to understand why the increase in childhood cancer and how to better treat all patients.
      I’m glad your story so far, as a happy ending for you.
      And for the record, I already donate to St Baldricks.. made aware by a friend whose child is a survivor (so far) of childhood cancer.

  52. The American Cancer Society trivializes childhood cancer, compares kids with cancer to lightning strike victims, and thinks that raising awareness is a waste of time. They also call it ‘exceedingly rare’. The only thing more rare the childhood cancer is ACS funding for it – but you wouldn’t know that from their ads or relay for life campaigns shoving bald kids in your face. Bravo ACS – you have somehow set the bar at a new all time low.
    To be clear: I have no opinion whatsoever on a bald doll for kids. However, this blog post on the ACS website is written by a director in their media relations department. It is their stance on childhood cancer (not the doll) in this post that has flabbergasted the childhood cancer community. quoted from Friends of Will on facebook
    Shame on you ACS. One more reason you will never see a dime from me.
    sums it up for me exactly.
    mom to a Rhabdomysarcoma child

  53. Mr Becker,

    It really has been a long time since I’ve read anything this ignorant, shameful and hurtful. It is apparent you’ve not experienced Pediatric Cancer up close, personal and in your face. It’s apparent you’ve never experienced a child dying, well I have.

    Totems?? Really, did you say Totems? How horrendous!? Those so called Totems help bring awareness, they raise much needed money for research as well as financial assistance to parents who have a child Dying of this Rare Disease called Pediatric Cancer.

    I seriously see nothing wrong with a bald Barbie or bald GI Joe! Isn’t it enough these children can’t go to school, they have toxins pumped into their little bodies just to MAYBE they can live, so MAYBE they can be that 80% survivor that ACS is oh so proud of (which by the way doesn’t exist)?? Isn’t it enough they give up their childhoods to spend their days vomiting, shivering, losing their hair, having their broviacs accessed, and so on? Would it be so God aweful if there was a doll that they could identify with, something that brought some normalcy to their little lives, like they aren’t going it alone, or maybe it’s not THAT scary?

    Awareness? You dislike awareness?,46 new diagnosed each day, 7 die each day! It’s a waste of time, blah, blah, blah. Of course you do, a CURE (which is what is needed right now) would take precious money from all of you at ACS. John Seffrin might take a “small” pay cut… hoo! Pulling in over a million a year is FRAUD at a minimum….not for Profit??? Yeah right! You at ACS are as guilty and as bad as the drug companies……Reseach=Cure= OH NO WE HAVE NO MONEY COMING IN!

    Get it straight Mr. Becker AWARENESS=$$$ which should =RESEACH=CURE=NO MORE PRECIOUS CHILDREN DYING!

    Mr Becker, retract your foolhearted blog!!!! Issue an apology to the children with the OH SO RARE disease called CANCER!!!

    I sincerely hope you never have a child in your family that will EVER suffer from this RARE thing we all call cancer……God forbid they have a doll that might bring them comfort, a bracelet with their name on it to help pay for care that insurance won’t pay for, incidentals etc. God forbid Mr. Becker this monster ever show it’s heinous face in your family. If by chance it did, you would experience first hand what a real fight looks like, what a child who is dying looks like, what a small child in a casket looks like, what a birthday celebration in a cemetery looks like.

    ACS will NEVER get another dime from me!

  54. Astonished that the ACS even feels they have the right to add their opinion into the bald Barbie. You lead people into believing all cancer is treated equal while I see it as the least goes to those who can’t speak for themselves. Innocent children have NO choice. They have cancer. They feel different, they look different and can’t understand. And then the ACS throws 1/2 a penny towards childhood cancer while appearing to be a major supporter. As an organization you shoud be ashamed.
    As for the concept that a beautiful, bald Barbie could frighten other children. How absurb. Number 1 children are resilient. That is what makes them beautiful and kind. If a parent doesn’t want to buy a bald Barbie, there is no need. If the child sees a bald Barbie, they may have questions, but I doubt they would have fear. What a wonderful opportunity for parents to have to discuss differences. Life is not always perfect.
    As for childhood cancer being rare, why would I know closely and personally know 200 children who have passed from cancer in the past 3-4 years. These aren’t children I heard about in passing or even read about through someone else. They are someone’s child, brother, sister, grandchild, niece, nephew or best friend.
    I am not a parent of a child with cancer or a medical/health worker. I’m just a 53 y.o. informed wife, mother and Nana who cares. I use to donate to the ACS Relay of Life event in my town. Then when I learned the truth, I was heartbroken and felt had been scammed. You seem to have no problem using smiling, bald children in advertisements but other than that, children are not a priority.

    Jeri Geary

  55. Ryan Marsh says:

    “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare.” [citation needed]

  56. Tracy Boltz says:

    I don’t have a child however my sister does,and so do MANY of my dearest friends…How on earth can you say Childhood Cancer is rare when on average 46 kid’s are diagnosed every day & 7 die. in regards to your comment regarding who it would benefit …Why does it have to “benefit”anyone ? Donate a portion of the sales to a Childhood Cancer organization,there are plenty of them out there.Thank God ! We need more than your “GENEROUS” half cent per dollar you give to Childhood Cancer research. This article saddens & sickens me. Job well done ACS…You’ll NEVER see another dollar from me !!! 46/7 It isn’t rare, it’s KID’S!!! They deserve “MORE BIRTHDAY’S” !!

  57. Pediatric cancer is the #1 killer of our children, over asthma, HIV, auto accidents, and choking on hot dogs. How can something so “rare’ be the #1 killer of kids? Obviously not that rare. ACS funds a minuscule tidbit to the research of the #1 killer of kids yet parades them around and pictures them in the adds. Let’s keep in mind that these kids did nothing to acquire their cancers; they were not smoking tobacco or illicit substances, they were not boozing, they were not consuming excess coffee, and they had not enough time in their short lives to consume all the wrong foods and drink available to them. Yet, oddly, the ACS finds sufficient funds to support research for adults cancers, many of which are a direct result of poor lifestyle choices or lack of regular checkups, or having lived long enough for environmental exposures to effect them. I wish my daughter was here to have had an opportunity to make lifestyle choices. She died a day before her 11th birthday. She did nothing for her cancer, as none of these kids do. They are the Innocent victims being ignored. Why is it you can spend thousands of dollars to put 5 years on the average 70 year old, and not spend the same amount in the hopes of putting 70 years on the average 7 year old? Makes little sense! And to use the word “littering,” just turned my stomach. Most of the “littering” you refer to would be PINK, and not at all related to pediatric cancer. And you absolutely missed the entire purpose in the bald doll; get informed, You weren’t even close.

    Teresa L, Radke

  58. you know its no wonder why canadians think americans are stupid… childhood cancer is common you just hear less about it because organizations like you guys shut it down and make it seem like its nothing. Its not nothing. children today are the future for tomorrow. im a nurse and i think that this comment fron a cancer society who is to help motivate give strength and support to children families the survivors nd the fighters nd the ones we lost hope not to dis them and tear them apart. these are children who are dying nd fighting to live… i was one of those kids who nearly lost her life. nd now im 20 and a mom to a 3 year old girl nd if she was to be diagnosed not onlt would my world shatter so would hers. i wouldnt expect her to know or understand y she is in pain or why hers in clumps in her hand nd not on her head. pull your head out of your asses. its time to wake up… i see more things support cancer in adults than i do for kids. more awareness for the cancers adults get but not children. this barbie doll could not only change a childs life…but bring awareness to the level that hey kids get cancer too…nd 9/10 times its kids who rise up when they face a battle with cancer nd see it as a second chance nd see the world as it truly is…evil nd corrupted the states government is a malicous tyrant… and its clearly poisioned u. wake up abd see what u truly said. its is after all the childhood survivors who become drs nurses nd surgeons nd prove people like you are asshole idiots

    • dmurrayarmitage says:

      mostly well-said, canadian survivor girl, but most Canadians do not think most Americans are stupid. We do, however, find there are a lot of stupid people involved in ACS and writing ill-conceived blogs like this one that miss the issue completely and make enemies where they should be bringing cancer organisations together instead. Sad isn’t it? Yet somehow the childhood cancer community manages to continue to work together to make a difference – and mostly with no support from the ACS (Thank goodness)!

  59. Jim Lipski says:

    @Deborah: perhaps you would think differently if your child hadn’t survived… But hey, you can always come on by the house and I can take you out to visit my son. It’ll be 5 years on the 31st.

  60. Saying that I am disappointed in the American Cancer Society is an understatement.

    The doll is about comforting children, not awareness for the masses about cancer in general.

    Though apparently the awareness that needs to be had is to the public so that they can know how little money is put towards pediatric cancer research by organizations like the American Cancer Society. That way they can better chose an organization like CURE Childhood Cancer to put their money towards, knowing that it’s going for the cause rather than a large overhead of desk monkeys.

  61. Well, just another reason why I’ve never donated or volunteered for this fortune 500 company…err my bad… “non-profit”.

  62. John Dever says:

    you are stupid and shame on ACS for allowing this dribble to be posted! Imagine a child with cancer and then realize you will do anything for that child. if a doll can distract a sick child, I say make them all day.

    Exceedingly RARE – what a dumb ass!

  63. BRAVO needs to go out to Chloe!!!

  64. Terry Beck says:

    I have no opinion on the doll. The ACS position is not surprising. This has always been their position. They don’t believe Childhood Cancer is worthy of their attention because they believe it affects very few people. They are certainly entitled to that position. This is something I have tried to convey to children, schools, parents and survivors of childhood cancer who participate in the relay for life. There is nothing wrong with supporting ACS, just know that you are not helping children by supporting ACS. When I posted this link on my FB, many people were shocked.

    ACS should make this absolutely clear.

    • cathy1701 says:

      I did not know this until today. I will be posting this info on all my sites and pages.

      I agree ACS should make this absolutely clear!!!

  65. If I were in charge of the American Cancer Society, I know someone whose head would be on a chopping block right now. I hope that, at least, an apology, or even better, a retraction would be demanded. And, then… Good-bye, Mr. Becker, because NO ONE should be director of Media Relations for the Cancer Society if they are so against helping children cope with such a horrible thing as cancer.

    • krisays72 says:

      I totally agree with this and if they seriously have such little knowledge of a NON rare disease that is the #1 cause of death in children! 46 children are diagnosed everyday and 7 of them pass away! That isn’t rare it is heartbreaking!

  66. cathy1701 says:

    Hi. You seem to be missing the point. It is about many things such as: self esteem, not being made fun of, for families to understand, and many other reasons. As you stated it is NOT just about cancer or even childhood cancer. Did you READ any of the posts put up by the over 125,000 people who have “liked” this and have become proactive and made it viral.
    This is my personal reason. I think this movement for Bald and Beautiful Barbie (Mattel) and Bald and Brave G.I. Joe (Hasbro) will help not just cancer and hair loss disorders such as Alopecia or Trichotillomania, but all the kids and adults dealing with friends and family members who have had cancer/chemo or who have come back from the war and no longer look physically the same. That can also be done with accessories for the doll or action figures. It would be great if part of the proceeds would be donated to one or all of these causes.
    I am surprised and disappointed by your reaction to this wonderful cause. I will be donating my hair to one of the charities. I, like so many, have lost a lot of friends, and pretty much one of the entire sides of my family to cancer and know I will lose another soon enough. I will not be donating to you while this statement still stands.

    Cathy Cleary

  67. I think that a bald Barbie is amazing and worthwhile. I think that the fact that for every dollar raised, ACS donates LESS THAN ONE PENNY to childhood cancer research is what is ridiculous!
    I believe that people should be aware that perhaps their money is better spent donating it directly to the family who just lost their two year old to this “rare” illness yet still face the mountain of medical bills…news flash, it is not as rare as they let on.

  68. What an offensive and ignorant article!
    Yes, by the strict numbers, pediatric cancers are small compared to other types of cancer, but that hardly tells the picture. Childhood cancer is LIFELONG for the lucky ones who survive it, who will deal with health effects and increased mortality due to the harsh treatments and secondary cancers that too often develop. It’s ridiculous to say that ANYTHING that raises awareness for and support of pediatric cancer is a bad thing. Childhood cancer research is vastly underfunded. When you consider the years of life affected. Could it be that ACS’ criticism of the bald Barbie stems from it’s own underfunding and lack of support for childhood and adolescent cancers?
    Hooray for those who are championing this! Children need every bit of support they can get if they are going through treatment and already feeling isolated.
    Even when you put childhood cancer aside, YES, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, teachers – lots of people in a child’s life can be affected by cancer, and a doll that could help children to understand and cope with some that is a wonderful idea.
    If ACS wants to lend anything to this, it should instead be urging Mattel to not only create a bald Barbie, but to donate the proceeds from it’s sale directly to pediatric cancer funding.

  69. Not a surprise to hear this comment by ACS regarding the idea. THE WORST SCAM CHARITY in the country.

    I can’t even believe the audacity from you scum bags. An organization who lines their executives’ pockets with charity money and then donates less than one cent towards childhood cancer.

    The people who work for ACS should be ashamed of yourselves for being affiliated with such a self enriching so called charity org.

  70. Shelly Smith says:

    I am the mother of a little boy who died… DIED from a leukemia just weeks before his 12th birthday. Killed by cancer before he even had a chance to live. Only those who wish to ignore the fact that children get cancer call it rare. The rest of the hem/onc world knows different. Is the ACS just angry that funds wouldn’t be going to them? So they can pay their CEO’s a larger salary (that is already ridiculous)? Or is the ACS just primarily ticked off because they didn’t come up with the idea themselves??? My son DIED because organizations like the ACS deem childhood cancer so rare that they set aside very little funding for research… research that could have saved his life, research that could have led to at least one treatment for my son’s cancer. That’s right, my son DIED from a leukemia because there is no funding for treatments, because of the lack of funding for research, there was NO TREATMENT for him. Instead, awareness is blown up everywhere for adult cancers, meaning that those adult cancers get the research dollars WHILE OUR CHILDREN DIE. Our children die so men can keep their prostrates and women can keep their breasts. OUR CHILDREN DIE so that people, like those at the ACS can keep buring their heads in the sand. It’s only rare to them because it hasn’t been their child… yet. Hundreds of children die worldwide , cancer kills them, because of greed and voluntary ignorance. My son was the third in my immediate family to die from this form of leukumia in the past 30 years. Doesn’t sound rare to me. And by encouraging the public to turn a blind eye to these childhood cancers makes you as guilty of murder as the cancer itself.

  71. holliegreene says:

    Yes we do need to raise awareness for Childhood cancer. You see ASBECKER, before my daughter was diagnosed with cancer I never knew that children got cancer. I had never heard of a childhood cancer called Wilm’s Tumor. (Which is indeed “rare” with only 500 kids a year being diagnosed in the US and only 10% of those are considered unfavorable- harder to treat and a higher likliehood of relapse- 42%). But my daughter and every child diagnosed with cancer deserves great treatment and since there hasn’t been a new drug for 20 years, is not possible. Also did you ASBECKER know the long term side effects our children have to deal with IF they survive at all: hearing loss, bone loss, neuropathy, losing limbs or other body parts, brain damage, learning disabilities and countless others all before they have had a chance to grow up.
    Also you say children might be afraid that they will get cancer by seeing a bald Barbie… well what will they think when they are faced with a classmate who is sitting next to them and is bald because they have cancer. When my daughter was bald we went swimming and a child walked up to her and asked what was with her hairdo. My daughter (then 6 years old) calmly explained that she had cancer and the medicine made her hair fall out. The girl them told her she was weird. (What if that girl had seen a bald Barbie before seeing my daughter.)
    Also tell me ASBECKER how was I supposed to prevent my daughter having cancer. It’s been said by others but childhood cancer cannot be prevented!

  72. Shame on the person that wrote this blog. I hope all of the people you have officially pissed off, offended, and out right show NO concern for the awareness of this disease regardless of how awareness comes about. You should take time for a reality check on your values and overall compassion for ANYONE battling cancer or who has lost a loved one to cancer or is still fighting the battle. How could one be so callous? @Angela Santorelli Bartol you should team up with Maya Thompson. you two could shake things up a bit!

  73. Buffy Lael says:

    Exceedingly rare? Cancer is the #2 killer in children 5-14, coming in only behind accidents.

    Clearly you have opened Pandora’s box with this one. I have to really re-consider about doing the Relay for Life walk this year. I cannot support this sort of irresponsibility on an ACS website. A full apology should be posted SOONER rather than later.

    As a medical professional who treats these children every day in our outpatient clinic, I find this post full appalling. It is full of stereotypes and misinformation. This is about normalization of seeing someone bald. It’s about a kid being able to identify with a toy. If we didn’t think that was important, we’d have dolls with all the same flesh color (which is silly and we know it!). Plus, you’re insinuating that mothers who might become bald wouldn’t have children who play with dolls? Excuse me? I am 43, and I have a 1 1/2 year old. She hasn’t hit the Barbie stage yet…..she will in a couple years, when I am 45. Don’t stereotype my family as well.

    As I said, a full apology is needed and this post removed.

  74. I am so taken aback by your article that I don’t know where to begin. I too am a parent of a child with leukemia. Please excuse me if the word “rare” makes my blood boil. I take my son to a clinic where most days all the pediatric infusion chairs are full and the pediatric oncology inpatient unit is overflowing… and it’s not because it is a small unit. Next month I will participate in THON at Penn State where there will be over 260 families of children with cancer… from ONE treatment center.
    I dare you to try and tell the seven families that will lose their child today how “rare” childhood cancer is. Or better yet, you should explain to them that because childhood cancer is “rare” they don’t deserve the American Cancer Society’s support. $0.005 for every dollar you raise goes to all forms of childhood cancer, is that correct? And what did the CEO make last year? Tell me, does the CEO support you belittling children with cancer on his organization’s blog? I truly can’t believe that an organization that claims to support ALL types of cancer would put such a biased and subjective post in their blog This posting openly makes families of children with cancer feel unimportant to your organization. I hope that you don’t mind if I share this article with everyone I know… including the local media. I think many people should know how your organization discriminates between types of cancer and age groups. You are the one who put it in writing Mr. Becker. You may consider childhood cancer “rare,” but my donations to the ACS will now be extinct!

    Oh and you may want to do more research before you post:

    “In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything (a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives)…”
    Limited number from ACS you say?

    “Women have about a one in 50 chance of developing any kind of cancer before the age of 40.”
    According to the CIA’s website there are almost 7 billion people in this world, of which half are women, and the median age of women is 29 years. So, that one out of 50 leaves a whole lot of little girls and children who are young enough to play with Barbies, don’t you think?

    “This isn’t to say that awareness doesn’t have an important role in defeating cancer. It can be incredibly important when it comes to informing people about ways to reduce risk or about getting recommended screenings regularly. But there may be better ways to attack childhood cancer. Just like radiation and chemotherapy, awareness must be deployed thoughtfully and carefully.”
    And what “screenings” do you recommend for children to rule out cancer? CBCs every month? CT scans every year? Seems like a lot of needles and radiation for something that is so “rare.” What are the risk factors for childhood cancer? The only KNOWN risk factor for childhood cancer is being a CHILD. How are we supposed to effectively raise awareness if the mainstream organizations like the ACS keep telling people how “rare” it is and allow people to turn the other way?

    “If they are mass marketed, many of these dolls will end up in the hands of girls who luckily aren’t likely to be touched by cancer in themselves or their mothers. But could they end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances? There is no reason to create this sort of fear. It’s why we don’t see advocates calling for lightning strike dolls.”
    Doesn’t this statement alone contradict your wanting to spread awareness? Are you also saying that women under the age of 40 shouldn’t do breast self exams because it is not in “their realistic chances?”

    Yes, let’s just ignore cancer and maybe it will go away… And YOU work for the American Cancer Society

  75. Amy Currie says:

    This article is disgusting.
    “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare. I would also argue that cancer is rare among the age group of women likely to have daughters young enough to play with Barbies. Women have about a one in 50 chance of developing any kind of cancer before the age of 40 . Which brings me to the claim that bald Barbies can help improve the self-image of little girls who are faced with having lost their hair, or seeing their mothers lose their hair. If they are mass marketed, many of these dolls will end up in the hands of girls who luckily aren’t likely to be touched by cancer in themselves or their mothers. But could they end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances? There is no reason to create this sort of fear. It’s why we don’t see advocates calling for lightning strike dolls.”

    Well, this family WAS struck my “lightening” and so were many of friends’ families. Oh, P.S. it’s a 1/1,000,000 chance of being struck by lightening this article is crazy and I am supremely disappointed that ACS allows it to be posted on here. We are talking about a TOOL to communicate with children NOT a doll for every single little girl to play with.

  76. We parents are finally, finally, managing to get organized for our children on top of trying to keep them alive, keep them children and raise their siblings and for that we get called a lynch mob? Take your lousy 1/2 penny for dollar earned that you deem our kids worthy of, pull all kids from your advertising and get over yourselves ACS. You don’t even know what you’re talking about. I am disgusted by this blog.

  77. ‎”She makes the excellent suggestion that a donation of $10-$20 to support cancer research would make far more of an impact than buying a doll.”Well maybe some percent of the cost of the doll would go towards cancer research… ever think of that?

  78. Rare?! 6 kids in my hometown of 6000 people have been diagnosed with cancer in 10 yrs! my son being one of them! three of those kids have gone on to heaven! Rare? Tell the THOUSANDS of kids fighting everyday for their life that they are too RARE to need a doll!

  79. Leah Harris says:

    Rare or not, funded or not, adequately recognized or not, this doll is more about giving a young girl going through baldness something to look at and say, “yes I am bald, but I am still beautiful.” That can give a little girl so much hope and strength its amazing.


  81. RARE really? RARE???? Well at least my 5 year old daughter fighting Leukemia has the privilage of knowing she is RARE and her friend who fought Leukemia 2 years ago is RARE. But o wait if she knows another girl her age with Leukemia hmmmmmmm…… that would make it NOT RARE in my eyes! But I must be an idiot. So 2 little girls that have Leukemia in my town of 700 is RARE???? Wow I can’t believe these statements are being made by a cancer organization! Maybe if you guys spent a bigger % of your funds researching childhood cancer and helping them you would realize how it’s not really RARE! Really all I have to say is WOW!!!! I was gonna pass on commenting on this but after awhile I thought about it and I was just way to mad about that one particular statement!

  82. Kris Pearson says:

    Perhaps the ACS needs to do some research. They do EXTREMELY little to help children with cancer! In 1998, when my 5 DAY old son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, exactly ZERO DOLLARS were allocated to childhood cancer research! That should be criminal on their part! I agree that these barbies could scare kids, but with information enclosed (and parents with an ounce of brain) that could avoided. But, no, lets push a barbie doll with unrealistic proportions. That won’t cause any body issues!
    And if childhood cancer is exceedingly rare, why, in my kids private school of 60 students, have there been 3 kids with cancer? And, no, it is not an environmental issue. My son’s was when we lived in another town altogether! And the girl moved in from somewhere else too!

  83. Taura Hart says:

    The really sad thing, is how little funding there is for Childhood Cancer. “Only” about 650 kids a year get diagnosed with Neuroblastoma – too many really, but so few in the scope of the Cancer world.

    Below are some facts about Neuroblastoma and childhood cancer.

    * Neuroblastoma is a common and often difficult to treat cancer, the most common cancer in infancy. (UCSF)
    * In the United States, about 600 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year. (UCSF)
    * It is the most common tumor found in children younger than 1 year of age.
    * Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer in children.
    * Neuroblastoma is the most common extra cranial solid tumor cancer in children.
    * Every 16 hours a child with neuroblastoma dies.
    * There is no known cure for relapsed neuroblastoma.
    * Nearly 70% of those children first diagnosed with neuroblastoma have disease that has already metastasized or spread to other parts of the body. When disease has spread at diagnosis and a child is over the age of 2, there is less than a 30% chance of survival.

  84. Taura Hart says:

    VIA ROCKSTAR RONAN!!!! Childhood Cancer Facts

    * There are 15 children diagnosed with cancer for every one child diagnosed with pediatric AIDS. Yet, the U.S. invests approximately $595,000 for research per victim of pediatric AIDS and only $20,000 for each victim of childhood cancer.
    * The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) federal budget was $4.6 billion. Of that, breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7%, and all 12 major groups of pediatric cancers combined received less than 3%.
    * The American Cancer spends less than 70 cents of each 100 dollars raised on childhood cancer.
    * Cancer kills more children than any other disease, more than Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes and Pediatric AIDS combined.
    * Sadly, over 2,300 children with cancer die each year.
    * Every school day 46 children are diagnosed.
    * 1 in 330 children will have the disease by age 20.
    * Cancers in very young children are highly aggressive and behave unlike malignant diseases at other times in life.
    * 80% of children have metastasized cancer at the time of their diagnosis. At diagnosis, only 20% of adults with cancer show evidence that the disease has spread or metastasized.
    * Detecting childhood cancers at an early stage, when the disease would react more favorably to treatment, is extremely difficult.
    * Cancer symptoms in children – fever, swollen glands, anemia, bruises and infection – are often suspected to be, and at the early stages are treated as, other childhood illnesses.
    * Even with insurance coverage, a family will have out-of pocket expenses of about $40,000 per year, not including travel.
    * Treatment can continue for several years, depending on the type of cancer and the type of therapy given.

  85. This Article has done more damage to your organization that you know. Right now it is being posted on Facebook and Twitter , Your comment “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare” is appalling. I am proud to support St Baldricks foundation and not the ACS, at least St Baldricks gets it and cares about the kids !. Next time ACS do your research, hell why not even visit a clinic that treats childhood cancer. Did you know that 1 in 5 kids who get diagnosed, don’t win the battle with cancer ?..Over the past 20 years, there has been an increase in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of invasive cancer, from 11.5 cases per 100,000 children in 1975 to 14.8 per 100,000 children in 2004 and while this doesn’t seem a lot to you the fact remains that cancer is the leading killer of children under 14 in the USA. I challenge you to go to a parent who is fighting for their child, and to tell them ” sorry but its rare and you don’t support it”. Oh by the way, the only thing that is exceedingly rare here is your organizations level of commitment to childhood cancer research !

  86. phaedralbh says:

    I am SO appalled right now. Who has the nerve to say that this isn’t necessary??!??!?! WHO IN THEIR RIGHT EFFIN MIND would say that those children who have been faced with cancer themselves or their mothers shouldn’t have something in their lives to symbolize their bald head is beautiful and accepted in this culture. WHY would you not want to give these children confidence and security that what they have is not unusual? Childhood cancer is extremely rare, so that makes it a reason to NOT do this? Children are dying and no one least that’s how this article is making it sound.
    I personally think every EFFIN person on this planet should know about childhood cancer, how poorly it is funded, and how many children DIE each year because there is not enough research and treatments available to save them.
    Donate money to a cause instead of creating a doll that can help raise the confidence of children…wow that’s a no-brainer. How many times have you heard that the Barbie doll isn’t the modern-day woman as it is? Perfect face, perfect curves…our society isn’t perfect like the doll and more and more people are basing their appearance level on what is “acceptable” in our world. Thanks to the Barbie doll and the mass media, perfect figures and complexions are what is misconstrued as “normal” now.

    We need more things in the world to signify how important being WHO YOU ARE is, not what others think. These children with bald heads have enough to worry about, you know, like LIVING. If more kids knew about this, they wouldn’t look at the children without hair as weird, or bad, or ugly. They would see them as a normal kid, just like them. Which is what they are. Children need reality, not “media-based reality”. This doll would give children the confidence they need and deserve. I don’t have one nice thing to say about someone who may disagree with this, so I am not going to say anything about who that person may be inside. A big huge, EFF YOU is all I have to say.

    F U CANCER!!! F U to anyone who agrees with this article. Get your head out of your pompous ass and see the world for what it is. Stop being ignorant and naive.

  87. Taura Hart says:

    VIA ROCKSTAR RONAN!!!! What Causes Childhood Cancer?

    * Every family is potentially at risk.
    * In almost all cases, childhood cancers arise from non-inherited mutations (or changes) in the genes of growing cells.
    * As these errors occur randomly and unpredictably, there is currently no effective way to predict or prevent them.
    * Most adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupational hazards and exposure to other cancer causing agents.

    Cancer Research Funding

    * Nationally, childhood cancer is 20x more prevalent than pediatric AIDS.
    * Pediatric AIDS receives 4x the funding that childhood cancer receives.
    * In one month there are 2x as many deaths from childhood cancer as pediatric AIDS for the entire year.
    F U CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *********ROCKSTAR RONAN*********

  88. adriewg says:

    Oh dear, what a thoughtlessly worded article. I’m afraid that you’ll be getting quite a dressing-down over this. One in fifty certainly doesn’t seem rare to me, not at all, especially if you or your child is that ‘one’.

    On the Barbie notion, well, it would be nice to see Barbie reflect more diversity in general, rather than the same facial features for all races, with only a deepening or subtle change in skin tone and hair color. I think that the bald Barbie would be a good step towards making Barbie a doll that real girls can play with and feel good about. Perhaps it takes a woman to understand this concept, because when your doll is supposed to represent beauty, but it looks nothing like you or anyone in your family, it sends a message. Perhaps a man would have difficulty with this concept because he doesn’t face the same pressure regarding his looks, although that does seem to be changing subtly. Remember the controversy regarding the “Mommy-to-Be” Barbie? The worry was that girls would be influenced to think that pregnancy was ‘no biggie’, or something, but it ended up being a total non-event. Same thing here. You don’t have to worry if little girls will be terrified by the concept of Alopecia, or chemo hair loss. I’m entirely certain that these dolls will find their way into the hands of children who are already dealing with these issues, and I highly doubt that parents will arbitrarily purchase follicle free dolls for random children. So, there really isn’t a downside, make the Bald Barbie.

  89. I just want to say that I am only 13, a girl, and I’m shaving my head for kids with cancer. I am doing this because one in every 300 kids will be diagnosed before they reach age 20, and many of them will not feel beautiful or will feel embarrassed about their hair loss. Please STOP publishing such harsh and insensitive articles because it really hurts people who are going through this or know a child going through this.

  90. Child hood cancer is alot of things… but it is far from RARE…. I am offended by the AMC Society’s remarks and lack of awareness regarding the children fighting and drying from cancer every day.

  91. Denise Hall says:

    Childhood cancers are rare? Seriously?! I think what will be more rare will be any penny that comes out of MY wallet to fund ACS! I think I’ll find a new cause to support regarding ‘rare’ pediatric cancers.

  92. I can’t even describe how unbelievably angry I got when I read this. It seems the person writing this had absolutely NO sympathy for the children going through chemotherapy who feel out of place. Let me tell you something. I am a childhood cancer survivor- I was diagnosed at the age of 12, and sure, I might not play with barbies at that age, but I felt just as hurt when kids made fun of me. If I was uncomfortable to the point of tears, imagine a little girl! Words do hurt, and they ARE SAID! I KNOW this first hand.

    This barbie is not about money, it’s to spread awareness of what’s going on. In a world of pink ribbons, the gold ribbons can’t even be seen! What is so bad about making young girls feel accepted and NORMAL; that’s what I wanted to be seen as when I had no hair- NORMAL.

    And another point that got me mad is when you called childhood cancer RARE?!?! – I go to a camp for kids with cancer, and they have over 300 children attend every summer. You call that rare? Have you every been in a crowded oncology waiting room with a sea of tiny bare heads? That’s RARE? This is an outrage. These Barbies should definitely be made, not for money, but simply to spread awareness and make little girl feel like they are not ugly or different.

  93. “Is raising awareness worthwhile?” Are you BLEEPing kidding me????????? What kind of IDIOT would even speak those words?!?!?!?! Not only is awareness needed to provide the funding and attention child cancer research needs, but also for parents who have sick kids who aren’t aware of warning signs, and who allow their doctors to overlook things that are wrong because people with their children always want to assume it isn’t cancer!!!!!
    “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare. I would also argue that cancer is rare among the age group of women likely to have daughters young enough to play with Barbies. Women have about a one in 50 chance of developing any kind of cancer before the age of 40 .” OMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!!!!! First of all, with the worlds population 1 in 50 is NOT rare, it’s in fact VERY common!!!!!!! And as for childhood cancer, what the HELL is their definition of exceedingly rare. The author must NOT be much of a math wiz. I’m pretty sure their shoe size exceeds their IQ based off this comment!!!!!! And just for arguments sake, let’s say it WERE rare (which we all know it ISN’T) how the hell does that limit the importance of awareness and support and the severity of these conditions????????????
    And as for the proposed issue of other groups demanding a doll being made to support that cause, what the F&$* is the problem with that???? Really, this is a company that produces dolls for CHILDREN, even SICK children are their customers, and a company is SUPPOSED to back their customers, and give them what they want. It’s called supply and demand, and anybody who does NOT understand that in the corporate world is a pretty idiotic company who does not need MY money or MY support going towards their product!!!!!!!!!!!

  94. fdbecky says:

    I am totally in shock by reading this. You really shouldn’t be under the American Cancer Society Logo. You just slammed ever child with cancer saying its RARE! How dare you say they don’t need ‘awareness’ – then put the profits into ‘research’. I am just in shock that you really don’t seem to get that you need compassion with Cancer – ANY kind of Cancer. Obviously, you missed this point by upsetting people that have to live with this day in and day out. All about a doll and basically ‘why bother’… This is a horrible blog about Cancer. My thoughts.

  95. I think you should get your facts straight before you go writing an article. You are kind of a douche.

  96. I have come back to this article several times today to let my anger for the callousness of this person simmer. What maybe a “totem” by your standards, could be what gives a mother, daughter, sister, brother a shimmer of hope. Hope that the cause is being heard. Hope that because awareness is raised there one day might be a cure. In fact, your simple “totem” could be a cherished momento of a battle bravely fought and lost! A battle bravely fought and won! Who are we to say what someone considers a simple “totem”? And let us not forget this is not just about pediatric cancer…What about the child who fights a different kind of demon? A demon in themselves..a demon known as Trichotillomania. This goes way beyond a simple doll. The doors that this opens up are immeasurable. It teaches people sympathy, compassion, acceptance of difference. What about the child who wants to end their precious life for being bullied because of their difference. The differences that others might not understand? And while I understand Trichotillomania and Alopecia are not your genre..cause lets face work for ACS, so that makes you the expert, right? I think the real “experts” are the people who live this daily, who have had treatments, the experts are the ones who muster all the courage they have inside themselves to face the day and and give voices to those who no longer have a voice. Those who have had to be on the front lines. And despite what you think…You, sir…are not on the frontlines. And while I understand your byline says your works include patients and families..Maybe you need to revisit those humble roots..and remind you what it’s really all about.
    I also find it rather amusing that you posted a quote about “a donation of $10-20 to support cancer research would make far more of an impact than buying a doll.: But whom shall we donate that money too? You must be kidding to think we should donate that money to your organization when it is obvious, the children come last, yet you put them in the forefront of your commercials. Children are good enough to pull at the heart strings but not good enough to make a priority?

    • I think the real “experts” are the people who live this daily, who have had treatments, the experts are the ones who muster all the courage they have inside themselves to face the day and and give voices to those who no longer have a voice. Those who have had to be on the front lines.”

      ^^This. This made me tear up with pride. Thank you for posting that. Because that is exactly what this is. It’s a war zone against childhood cancer.

  97. And in case you missed it…

    May their faces haunt you…and their mommas rip you a new one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    For you, RONAN….”FU Cancer!!!”

  98. I am eternally grateful that this blog was posted, because it may finally reduce the amount of money ACS has been taking in via its deceitful advertising. They use the token bald children when it works for them and then posts things like this when there is a smidgen of a chance people may spend money on a cancer related product that doesn’t have their ACS stamp of approval.
    I am the mother of a cancer survivor. He is one of the 16,790 children diagnosed in 1998. I am eternally grateful he was not one of the 2,555 children that do not survive each year. Where, in any book, did the number 16,790 register as “exceedingly” rare? Certainly not in mine. Nor in the books of the 33,580 parents who have a child with cancer, or the 134,320 grandparents who watch as their children bear the heartache of watching their child suffer through the agony of cancer treatment. Without counting a single sibling, or aunt or uncle or best friends, or cousins, or any other loving member of a family with a child with cancer. . . we have almost 200,000 per YEAR that face the tragedy called childhood cancer. So please, don’t patronize those of us that have children with the exceedingly rare condition called cancer and don’t pretend that you care at all about the direction of fundraising, other than trying to get every single penny you can for the ACS.
    So yes, I am happy the true spirit of the ACS has made itself known and how they really don’t care in the least about those that really matter, the people who have cancer, regardless of their age.
    Renee Curkendall

  99. I just saw this posted on Face Book after running into a friend at the store who’s wife has had breast cancer in both breast. When I asked him how she was doing he said she was feeling better. He said she still had not been out of the house but one time in a year due to the fact that she lost her hair and had been so very sick with all the chemo. treatments. He told me that of all the stuff she had been through loosing her hair was the worst for her. She had the longest most beautiful head of hair, everyone was always telling her how much they loved her hair. To have an American icon such as Barbie represent women and young girls going through this would help their self esteem. They really should reconsider….

  100. Your comments on behalf of the ACS are horrific. To even mention a ‘when lightening strikes doll’ – how insensitive? – there is absolutely no comparison between a child suffering with cancer and it’s treatments to someone being struck by lightening. Maybe you should go get a job working for the ‘When Struck by Lightening Society’ instead of the American Cancer Society!

  101. Marsi Thrash says:

    This is one of the most poorly written articles I’ve ever read. The facts are incorrect, and it is full of misquotes. The spirit of the article is hateful and destructive to a cause. Cancer robs children of a future. Parents should never bury their children; it’s out of the natural order of life. For ACS to even weigh in on the issue is offensive given how paltry their financial contributions are to childhood cancer. I agree with what another parent said — the only thing rare is the amount of money ACS contributes to research for kids. And yet you will trot out pictures of bald kids to mislead donors for your own propaganda. @asbecker, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  102. I have faithfully given to ACS every year, believing that ALL cancers deserve cures and any cancer research is good research. I am so sad to read this article on the ACS website. (I did verify that it IS on their site) The idea that not only does ACS devote only 1/2 a cent of each dollar given, to childhood cancer, but that they would allow an article such as this to be associated with their website, makes me question their commitment to our kids. Until I see a response to this article that is apologizing to all cancer kids, I will have to give my money elsewhere. St. Baldrick’s, Families of Children with Cancer, etc.
    As a cancer mom, I fully support the movement to have a bald Barbie. This doll, for me, would not be about raising money. That would be a pleasant bonus, especially if they donated to St. BALDrick’s, such a perfect fit. It’s about teaching ALL children tolerance. Every child, regardless of how they look, deserves to be treated with respect, support and love. Cancer children, especially girls, face ridicule when they are not only bald, but are bloated from steroids, have to wear masks, etc.
    I am sad, angry, honestly, disgusted.

  103. Gail that was beautifully said. To call the bald children supporting this cause, such as my daughter Chloe in the video above. social media bullies is beyond offensive when these same bald children in many cases have been bullied to the point of no return. In fact I feel bullied on the behalf of my daughter just reading this. The point of a bald barbie is not even truly about cancer or any illness. It is about acceptance for a particular appearance.The whole point of barbie is appearance right? There are many causes for this appearance. The benefit of much needed, in my opinion, awareness of cancer, alopecia and trichotillomania is just a bonus. And cancer may not need the awareness but trichotillomania and alopecia sure do, because most people have not even heard of them. If we are lucky a portion of the profits donated to a worthy organization, even if it is just a half a cent per dollar like your organization. would be icing on the cake. But what people don’t realize is that you can not research and develop self esteem. Something that unfortunately disappears as the hair does. To make bald a socially acceptable hairstyle would be amazing. To destroy the stigma associated with bald women. Why is it bald men are sexy, but not bald women? Barbie would destroy that stigma over night and make these women feel beautiful. It may not save lives in regards to the wicked disease of cancer, but if it could prevent one suicide from a child or adult who feels unworthy just for having no hair it was worth every keystroke on a computer by every supporter.

  104. “In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything (a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives),” “do we need one more thing whose function is to “raise awareness” about cancer?”

    To me, with all due respect to your own opinion, this sounds as those there is a real fear that someone is encroaching in on ACS’s money maker market. It’s a Wal-Mart style response. “Do we really need one more lousy grocery story coming into the local area, when we provide you with everything in one store for one low price (ignore the fact that we do some pretty bad stuff and pay attention to all the funding we do in the community!). So if a bald doll IS made, then I think it is safe to assume we will be unable to find that in ACS gift shop? However, if someone creates a doll sporting the ACS symbol in support of ACS, well – we can be sure that ACS will be sporting that link to purchase said item all over it’s website.

    Allow me to also point out that while ACS claims themselves as non-profit, there is no such thing as an organization as large as American Cancer Society, or American Red Cross, or even Susan G. Komen Foundation who doesn’t have SOMEONE up in the big office, raking in the money hand over fist and calling it expenses that are being covered for their “volunteered time”. Take a person who stands in front of the media every so often, cuts a ribbon here and there, shares a little of the money they have had donated to them to some hospital in a well-to-do district, and then try to cut in on their profits. The result? There will be blood, and the big guys will come out on top.

    For every little non-profit organization that TRULY is giving 100% of their proceeds to the underdog, and their volunteers are TRULY volunteering and doing everything for free – no sponsors, no having their gas/food/hotel expenses covered … but for real – VOLUNTEER – there is one huge non-profit organization waiting in the wings to slam them down.

    Oh, and while I’m at it:

    “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare.”

    By whatever studies you have conducted, researched, read about, heard, or seen – I can most certainly PROMISE you it’s becoming quiet COMMON! Of the THREE “tweens/teens” I know, TWO died last year (2011). One is still fighting. I have counted them up… I have 46 friends with children. Of those 46 friends, I have 12 friends who have kids who are between the ages of 11-15. Of those 12 friends with kids in those age ranges, THREE of those kids have become ill with childhood cancer. Of those three kids, TWO have died. Do here’s my reality check on how rare childhood cancer is: Three in twelve kids get sick. Two out of three die. Those “rare” odds SUCK! If you want to write a good article on anything useful, try targeting the causes for this sudden rise in childhood cancers, because I don’t believe for one second that it’s complete coincidence that I run into that many cases in less than a year’s span of time. Something in the environment is making these kids sick. The food they eat, the air they breath, the medicine they take? I don’t know. However, I do believe it’s not as “exceedingly rare” as you claim it to be.

  105. thecookiegal says:

    Okay – so I really don’t think it would make a HUGE difference to the whole world of Childhood cancer, if Mattel made a bald barbie or not. It won’t stop the cancer, and I don’t think it would actually raise that much awareness in the long run. I DO think it would be nice if they – or another toy company made a doll that COULD be given to girls fighting Cancer. Alexander had a “Connor ChemoDuck” and I think it was wonderful for him to have a toy that had a line like him. However, all that being said, for someone to say that they SHOULDN”T make a doll because childhood cancer is so “RARE” is a bunch of BULL S*%*^ While prior to Alexander getting cancer, I didn’t know anyone that had a child with cancer, but I don’t think it is all that rare anymore! They wouldn’t have to Mass Market the doll – I understand they are a business, out to make money- that is fine – but why not at least OFFER one for those that MIGHT need it

  106. The admininstrators of the Barbie and GI Joe pages randomly and regularly… hmm, just like childhood cancer strikes but I degress… remind their members on FB that they do NOT support a boycott and do NOT want anyone to threaten Mattel or Hasbro in anyway shape or form. Did the author of this piece of rhetoric do even an ounce of research or did he just read Mary Tyler Mom’s blog and run with it. I’ll tell you where I’m running: far, far away from the American Adults but not their Children for more than 1 penny on the dollar Cancer Society.

  107. Gwen Haag says:

    You are wrong in so many areas, it’s impossible to list them all.
    Shame on you for your ignorance and insensitivity!

    Gwen Haag
    St. Jude Partner-in-Hope and prayer warrior for dozens of children with cancer.

  108. While we do not have a bald Barbie, Compass to Care Childhood Cancer Foundation does have the Dina Doll. She is a special doll that was named after the younger sister of Compass to Care’s founder, who is a childhood cancer survivor. Mary Taylor Mom suggests that $20 to support cancer research would make far more of an impact than buying a doll. But with the Dina Doll purchase 100% of the $20 purchase price will go DIRECTLY to support children who must travel for cancer treatment. And best of all, if you do not have a child to give the Dina Doll, you can donate one to a child who is battling cancer and the $20 will still be used to support children on their cancer journey. It is a win for everyone- especially the lucky recipient of the Dina Doll.

    Each Dina Doll comes with a special coloring book that tells the Dina Doll story- one of a little girl who is sick that has a special Dina Doll given to her by her parents to accompany her on her journey.

    Please consider buying one and telling everyone you know about the Dina Doll. She will make a difference.

    • fdbecky says:

      What a great way to know you are helping – truly helping a child and a family in need.
      I would of never EVER thought I would think so poorly now of the American Cancer Society. One man’s article changed me, and though it is just his thoughts, they aren’t good thoughts or positive thoughts in anyway for a child with cancer. If the American Cancer Society wants to be associated with this man’s thoughts they will have to consider the outcome.
      Thank you for sharing about the Dina doll – I will definitely remember this!

  109. Colie Toren says:

    No. That’s completely unfair. Being in a competitive business, I understand about costs, but so many people(close to 1000) on have signed a petition, and there are more than 79000 people posting about hope barbie on Awareness is good; it keeps people safe and it makes people want to help. Basically, I disagree and I think you’ve never had to feel the effects of someone close to you being diagnosed with cancer. I’m shaving my head to raise money for pediatric cancer, and I know I’m beautiful. You have every other Barbie out there…make a difference with one.

  110. Pingback: The Flimsy Compassion Cover « Bombo Box

  111. Dear Sir: As the parent of a child who was one of the exceedingly rare ones who died before her 13th birthday I want to agree and disagree with you at the same time. While I agree that a bald barbie is not the way to raise awareness for childhood cancer and completely agree with MTM’s take on the issue I am so disappointed by your discounting the number of kids who are diagnosed and die from cancer each year. Just so no one misunderstands I respect the bald and the horror for our kids. I participated in the 46 Mommas Shave For the Brave in Washington, DC this past September. In the beginning some of the marketing and awareness activities for breast cancer were in fact responsible for more research money coming into play. While I don’t think it was your intent, someone who works for the ACS should know better than to discount the importance of our children and the need for awareness and research on their behalf. The fact that childhood cancer is exceedingly rare will not make the 35 families who received the diagnosis today feel any better at all. When considering the number of deaths as a result of childhood cancer each year vs the number of adults who die have you considered the potential of each year lost by these children?
    Always with Hope in my heart,
    DEB Fuller

    • krisays72 says:

      Very well written Deb. And I attended the 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave in Washington, DC too with a good friend of mine who lost her 4 year old daughter to cancer in August a month prior to this event. Her and her daughter were on my Relay team which we changed the name of it for this year to honor her memory along with my mother’s who I lost to pancreatic cancer in 2009. We are both disgusted, disappointed and angry with Mr. Becker’s lack of knowledge and compassion for this NON rare disease. So sorry for your loss. Sarah plans to participate in the 2012 event in Los Angelos this year and I will be there to support her then too.

  112. Childhood cancer is NOT rare! These people need to do their research. A bald barbie would mean the world to little girls that are bald whether it be from cancer or other sources. Come on people…get you head out of the clouds!

  113. My daughter is a cancer survivor as well. Through it all, feeding tubes, central line, colostomy, no hair, hearing aides (because the chemo destroyed the cilia in her cochlea), she has maintained an inner beauty. She does not play with Barbie because I don’t like the stereotype that that is how a woman should look. Instead, her American Girl wears hearings aides (purchased from My Twinn because AG does not make them) that I’ve hot glued into her ears and we’ve added the necessary bags, tubes as needed on our own. It’s such a “high” for her to have a doll that “looks just like me.” And it’s a fabulous way to communicate what she’s been through/ is going through to her peers. That doll goes EVERYWHERE and now she’s not alone.

  114. Emily Hill says:

    Idiots its not just for cancer patient its for girls with diseases or disorders like Alopecia

    • krstwlkr says:

      Hear, Hear! I am a mother of a cancer cutie, but you are right…there are so many other diseases that cause baldness and would put a smile on their faces too!

  115. 1,340 children will die of cancer this year? This does not sound like childhood cancer is exceedingly rare to me. I believe if the bald barbie is available, people who want it, will buy it. People who don’t…won’t. If there is any small item, that can help a suffering child in any way…let them have it. My 5 year old had a very difficult time when he saw my husband bald for the first time. This was following brain surgery and cancer treatment. Bald is common for men. But not for my husband. It was shocking and scary to my son because he knew it meant his daddy was hurt and sick. Would a bald action figure have made a difference to him? I doubt it. But my point is…let families who are living this nightmare, decide for themselves.

  116. Dear ACS, since when did you start caring about children? Put your money where your mouth is. At least Mattel is considering doing something. Go Mattel!!

    (Mother of Carson – diagnosed with leukemia at 3 and 1/2 years old)

  117. My whole life, my momma told me what a bunch of crap the ACS was. I just shrugged it off, I’d never even KNOWN anyone who had cancer until I was 27 year old. I lost my aunt to cancer that year. I lost my momma in ’10. My 15 year old grand nephew has cancer (just finished his last treatment and is doing great!) I had never donated to the ACS out of respect to my momma. Today, I know without a shadow of a doubt that the ACS will NEVER see a penny of my money. Not mine, not any of my family members, as I intend to share this ignorant, misinformed, callous response.

    Mr. Becker, Director of Media Relations, be glad I’m not your superior because you sir DO NOT deserve your job. Have some dignity and step away from your position before you do anymore harm to an already crappy organization.

  118. beth60497 says:

    Your “social media mob” is my grass-roots movement. I see no vemon and hate here, just anger and frustration.

  119. Deborah Zube Greenbaum this is not hate and venom you are reading. This is passion for children and disbelief that someone would write about something they seem to know nothing about. This blog post was condescending and dismissive. It also repeats the message that childhood cancer is rare. It is not and it is dangerous to keep pushing that belief.
    The “totem” I wear…..the thumb print of my 12 year old son. He battled cancer for 8 years and after all that fighting, horror and pain I am left with a thumb print. It has been 2 years without him, it feels like 2 days and 200 years all at once.
    So rethink your comments, this is passion coming from people trying to save their children or save other children from a disease that kills more children than cystic fibrosis, ped. aids, asthma & diabetes COMBINED.
    If nothing else the heartlessness of this blogger should be enough to make people sick.

  120. Zin Zingali says:

    Actually, the Bald Barbie really isn’t an “over reach”, your administrative budget and fixed asset costs are. Ever thought of streamlining the unnecessary “extras” your organization partakes in, so that the money that hard working Americans are donating can actually go towards the research?

    We’re in a tough economy (in case you hadn’t noticed) and money is tight. The people that actually take the time to give you their hard earned money don’t want to hear about it being pissed away on administrative expenses.

    It’s absolutely amazing how many hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) have been donated to ACS over the years to “fund cancer research” and there’s still no end in sight towards any remote kind of cure.

  121. Thank God that neither my 7YO daughter nor I don’t have cancer, but my grandmother died of ovarian cancer, and mother has had it twice (Stage I breast cancer diagnosed 3 years ago, Stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosed three months ago). Thanks to the chemo, my Grandmother went bald, and Mom now is losing her hair. Because it’s neither a child nor her parent, does that mean that a bald Barbie has no role in my child’s life? Play is a way in which children can work through their concerns, and a bald doll would probably be helpful to children like my daughter (and sons) work through their emotions and fears. My grandmother put her hair on with her slippers as soon as her head came off the pillow in the morning, and she took it and her slippers off at the same time at night. Mom went out and got several wigs, and instead of just dropping by, we need to call ahead so she can “put on her hair and not upset the children.” If “no hair” because an acceptable thing to see, then maybe she wouldn’t feel so pressured to “suit up” before being seen. They don’t care if she has her hair on — they just want to hug their Grammy. Mom will not leave the house in a scarf or cap (even to go to chemo!) because she doesn’t want anyone to see it and feel sorry for her. And while maybe there aren’t so many kids *now* or “Barbie age kids with cancer-stricken moms” by the author’s standards, starting our daughters now with a “Bald is no big deal” attitude will change things for their daughters and granddaughters. Should I or my daughter ever develop cancer (statistically, not a stretch), I would hope that by then her children and grandchildren would just see bald as part of the healing process, not something to be self-conscious of.

  122. I have a child with Cartridge Hair Hypoplasia. Which means she is a little person with sparse Hair growth. Took us 8 years to grow 4 inches thinly…. then we lost it all to chemo therapy, in preparation for a Bone Marrow Transplant. My little girl is a a huge Barbie Fan This would be life changing for her to have a doll to help explain to friends and to help create a normal. Not to mention helping her get through a really tough time

  123. I have been a huge supporter for the ACS for years and more so when my 7 month old son was diagnosed with Brain Cancer 3 years ago.After reading this article(in complete disgust) I will think long and hard before I take part in any fundraising for the ACS and the Relay for Life from now on. It may have been a better idea to do some research before saying that Childhood Cancer is “rare”…I suggest you spend ONE day in your local Childrens Cancer hospital and take a good look around! SHAME ON YOU AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY.

  124. Pediatric cancer is not rare. 1 in 300 children will be diagnosed with cancer before age 20. It is about 1/3 as common as autism, and far more common than downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and other childhood maladies. The American Cancer Society spends a bare fraction of its grants from fundraising on pediatric cancer studies. Yet another indication that my daughter who was born with brain cancer does not matter to the ACS.

  125. ACS doesnt agree because most people do not support them being the beneficiary of the donation and because they mistakenly believe that if no bald barbie is made all of the money that would go towards it will line their pockets instead, but people who spend what little money they have aside from medical bills on a doll to put a smile on their childs face are not always the same people that have money available to send to an organization that has no direct benefit to their child in this lifetime

  126. Note the “apology” at the top of the post.

  127. I’d like to meet this POS in person and tell him how it felt to have my 4 year old daughter die in my arms. I am so pissed off right now. This is obviously some bean counter who doesn’t give a damn about kids. I bet he is worried that this campaign would take away donations to ACS and he wouldn’t be able to receive his bloated salary. All who read this, please make your donations to organizations that matter, St. Baldrick’s, Candlelighters, St. Judes, etc. May god bless all of you and your children. For those of you who have lost a child, remember, you will always have an angel looking over you.

  128. Tiffany Hill says:

    “This post was written to provoke debate about the proliferation of products marketed to raise awareness, and we think asked legitimate questions”
    How about you check your own “gift shop” before looking at a toy that will bring smiles to the faces of many girls. It is not about raising awareness or fundraising, it is about every little girl knowing that she is a princess hair or no hair.

  129. I dont find childhood cancer to be at all rare… it is frightening very common

  130. so many children I met on FB died of cancer. This child I admin her page her cancer is terminal

  131. “We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania. Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss from chemo.”

    What part of this is “pressure”? I don’t have a position on the doll one way or the other (I am not opposed to one, and would likely buy one if my daughter showed interest), but NOTHING that came across my wall EVER appeared to be pressuring, bullying, etc….

    They not only came off as insensitive, but ignorant, and if THIS is what he’s being paid for, to draw up debate ….. it’s crap. Seriously, I still think he needs to go.

  132. Sorry but your little ‘disclaimer’ at the top of this page does not erase your insulting comments, lack of knowledge and false propaganda with regard to this subject. ACS need not explain their “INTENTIONS” to us…the lack of funding and awareness for Childhood Cancer speaks volumes already.

    You compare childhood cancer to being struck by lightning? I’m sure those of us who have had our child hit would disagree. You could not BE more insulting with your dismissal of our children’s illness as being “rare”. While compared to ADULT cancers it is (thankfully) most definitely rare, it is STILL the NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF DEATH by disease for CHILDREN!!!!! Would you call THAT rare?

    You have burned more bridges than you could ever repair here when what you SHOULD have done was KEPT YOUR NOSE OUT OF a subject that had absolutely NOTHING to do with ACS or what you do. NOTHING! If I knew nothing else, that would be enough!

    Please do not insult us further with more ridiculous ‘retractions’.

    • fdbecky says:

      Very good debate. They weren’t involved to begin with, they have nothing to do with this other than making alot of society very angry. Blogs can be debatable that is for sure, but to outright make an issue of totems, lightning strike Barbies, and kids with cancer being so rare that they don’t really matter in the scheme of things doesn’t shed much good light on the ACS. I read the Mary Tyler Mom blog – and though she had a daughter that passed. Mary the mom was never interested in Barbies to begin with. So if the mom is not interested of course she would say no to a Barbie. The whole issue is sad. This blog should never have been written. Period.

  133. The world is littered with cancer totems?
    Are you serious? This blog is the most ignorant thing I’ve read on the internet in a long time. I handle social media campaigns and this gem is going to be at the top for what not to do. Offend friends and family of CHILDHOOD CANCER PATIENTS.

    Even though, it’s so RARE, I personally know 2 angels who have lost their battle with neuroblastoma and your post makes me sick. If bald Barbies are going to be “so upsetting” to the general masses, why don’t we hide all of the bald children too. We wouldn’t want them to scare the masses. You, ASBECKER, are an ignorant human who should never be left alone with a computer again. What a stupid thing to say.

    I purchased a Wish Bracelet to honor a little girl from MA named Saoirse and I wear that cancer totem EVERYDAY to remind myself how lucky I am to have a healthy daughter and to remind me to say a small prayer for Saoirse’s parents each day. Until you’ve been the parent living at the hospital, trying to explain cancer to a toddler, you have no damn right to say anything.

    For many years, I have supported the ACS and please know that I never will again.

  134. Maybe they could be made only available to hospitals so that the girls suffering from cancer can be given them with a care package…Sure they will get out in the general population but it will not be like selling them off the shelves. Even if they were on the shelves, how many moms of healthy girls would buy their daughter a bald barbie…part of the fun with Barbie is playing with her hair but for a girl with health issues it could boost her confidence. Mattel could also give part of the proceeds to Breast Cancer research and use that as a tax write off.

  135. I meant Childhood Cancer research*…my apologies.

  136. Jim Lipski says:

    @ASBECKER: “We believe discussions like this can help focus all our efforts more closely on our shared goal of defeating cancer.”

    How about stopping these “discussions” and start giving more than 1/2 a penny per dollar to the kids? Did you know there are more than 120 different type of childhood cancers? I’m not very good at math. What is 1/2 cent divided by 120? The ACS today showed themselves for what they are and I will no longer support any functions that they sponsor.

  137. As the parent of an “EXCEEDINGLY RARE” four-year old girl with CANCER, I would like to say that the reason we want something like this is not just for the “$10-$12” it will use to support St. Jude Research, or to “help” children with a parent or grandparent undergoing chemotherapy better understand what they are going through. It is the simple fact that our little girls need someone to relate to when they have lost all of their hair. Barbie has always been a little girls favorite toy. When my daughter my first began losing her hair, she said how “ugly” she was, because none of her dolls were bald like her. What do you tell a FOUR YEAR child when she says this? The only point of the bald Barbie was for little girls who are FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIFE to see that they can be bald AND beautiful, and have a doll to relate to. Shame on you, American Cancer Society. 46/7 is NOT exceedingly rare in my book….

  138. monicab28 says:

    Perhaps it isn’t always about raising awareness of something that we all know about in some way or another…. Perhaps it’s about a little girl, going through cancer, who is afraid to lose her hair because she might be “different”. Perhaps a bald Barbie would show her that she can still be beautiful whether she has her hair or not! Perhaps to say that hair doesn’t always make the person. Perhaps the $10 or $20 that the mom of a little girl spends on a bald Barbie will do something that the $10 or $20 couldn’t do with research…make a little girl living with a terrible disease feel better…

    Perhaps, it isn’t always about money…

  139. Unfortunately for my family, childhood cancer is not rare. It is our life. It is not rare for the other families who are plodding their way through this new existence. It is not rare for those whose families are no longer whole, whose daughters can no longer play with a Barbie, bald or blonde.

    The Barbie doll in question is not to raise awareness. I would love for Mattel to produce it to be distributed to children’s hospitals and Gilda’s Clubs throughout the US for the Cancer Kids and through another avenue for little girls who have lost their hair due to other conditions. Barbie (flawed though she may be) signifies beauty to many young girls in this country, and for these beautiful little girls to see themselves in Barbie would have an incredible impact on their self-esteem. If Mattel were to mass market the doll, it might just increase acceptance. Just because some kids don’t conform to the normal view of beautiful doesn’t mean that they’re not. These children are the strongest, bravest, most gorgeous people I know. Shouldn’t they be rewarded with a doll that’s just like them?

    Oh, and for the record, my money goes to the Children’s Oncology Group, who is actively saving my son’s life.

  140. As the mother of a nearly 6 year old cancer survivor, I truly don’t understand how someone that works within the cancer community on a daily basis can consider childhood cancer “rare”! Cancer is the leading cause of death not caused by an accident in children under 5. My daughter is a 4 year survivor but is still not in remission because of the likelihood of recurrence in her particular type of cancer (posterior fossa ependymoma). We, as the parents of childhood cancer survivors struggle every day with the “whats”, “hows” and “whys”. What did I do to cause this? What could I have done differently? How do we kill this evil cancer and still allow our children to live a long and full life? Why did this happen to my child? Why does this have to happen to ANY child? If only there were some way to raise awareness in society about our kids and the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of others that have or have had cancer….oh wait, a Barbie doll. What a neat idea, not only would it be a great gift to give the child going through treatment, or the sister, cousin, best friend of a child going through treatment, but by even having such a product available, it would open up a discussion as to how incredibly COMMON childhood cancer actually is. Since we have seen not only by this blog post, but in the incredibly poor support our kids have received from the ACS, awareness needs to be raised by those most aware of the TRUE situation of childhood cancers. Perhaps the ACS is a bit overwhelmed by what can be done when those who truly care about the prevention and treatment of childhood cancers have a worthwhile cause that they can stand behind and stand up for. So tell me, ACS, what should the parents of these children who are too small to speak for themselves (but look incredible on your literature) do to raise the awareness needed to fund research? Since you deem a bald Barbie to be merely another “cancer totem”, where do we go, who do we talk to, what institution do we plead with? Rather than tell us that our children are not high risk enough to invest the money in, help us. Help us to find the funding you are so unwilling to give. Help us find the answers to our how and why questions. Help us find a way to deal with the after affects brought on by the treatments currently being used (those created for adults and “cut down” to be child sized). Help us know the best way to deal with the learning deficits created when our children have so much poison pumped into their bodies at such a young age. Help me know what to tell my daughter when she asks me why she can’t feel, see or hear on the entire right side of her body because of the treatments required to remove the tumor that was killing her and had been growing in her brain from the time she was in my womb. Judging by the statements in your article, the conversation should go like this…. “Don’t worry honey, the likelihood of you getting cancer is just too rare to worry about. There aren’t enough children fighting cancer to go through the trouble of raising awareness of, or generating funding for research. According to the ACS, you either A) don’t matter or B) don’t really have cancer…you choose. Now, get back in your walker and try to do your homework”

  141. We just lost my Grandson Lennon age 5, four months ago to cancer, and u say its rare,not a week later a young girl age 6 was buried next to my grandson- from cancer! I am sick and tired of hearing its rare,it is not and should have the funding behind it. I would never donate to the ACA, cause only less then 1% goes to childhood cancer. Why are our kids not more important,and making it sound like u do so much when u do nothing. And a doll for a child who is suffering thru the loss of her hair,is not worth doing? Mattel was going to donate the money for it,how can that not be good for our kids? And I wear with pride my bracelet with my grandson’s birthday and death on it,cause others ask me about him and I feel his life is very important and I also where a badge that says he is my hero,they donated all the money to childhood cancer!!! So please stop saying these things aren’t important and wasteful and money not well spent. Until u walk in our shoes,then ur see why we are so mad!

  142. terrybeck says:

    The irony here is astounding. The words of blog illustrate very clearly, that childhood cancer needs more awareness. The idea that a representative of the American Cancer Society, a member of the national media relations would think it was a good idea to type out and publish this little blog entry is amazing.

  143. You shouldn change your statement from “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays” to “The Official Sponsor of Adult Birthdays”. That would be more accurate. You show us parents of cancer kids how little you care about our children.

    My daughter was in your Relay for Life last April. She was a princess in the Royal Court. We were very new to the Cancer world. And knowing all that I know now, I feel like we were used for sympathy…to get people to donate for her, even though you give pennies to children like her. I will never do a Relay for Life again. I will go with my heart….and that will always be with CureSearch.

  144. @Deborah Zube Greenbaum~You really are clueless. My daughter is a Burkitts Leukemia survivor since 2004. Look it up. Burkitts Leukemia is pretty “rare”. Oh…yea…my son was diagnosed in 2009 and is still in treatment for ALL.” Rare:” my ass!! Emotional?!! Umm…yes!! People are angry and upset over the tone, text and condescending manner in which the article was written. Quote your little medical journals all you want. But don’t you or Mr. Asbecker dare tell me it’s “rare”. Oh, thanks for the support to your fellow Cancer Parents…oh didn’t have any!

  145. What they fail to see is that the little disclaimer at the top is their way of putting a bandaid over the hurtful words. To smooth things over. Someone above Mr Becker in the pecking order slapped a couple hands in hopes of brushing it under the carpet. If Mr. Becker and ACS stood behind the blog there would be no need for a disclaimer. If you stand with your convictions, why would you apologize for them? Their goal was to start a debate…well, great they got one. And people now see just where ACS stands. And its definitely not for the children.

  146. “We apologize if the below post offended some of our readers. We realize that in our zeal to highlight an issue that deserves debate, we may have sounded insensitive. This post was written to provoke debate about the proliferation of products marketed to raise awareness, and we think asked legitimate questions. We believe discussions like this can help focus all our efforts more closely on our shared goal of defeating cancer.”

    Your half assed attempt to undo the damage of this post (thinly veiled as an apology) is laughable. If you were honestly concerned about the “proliferation of products marketed to raise awareness” you would be trying to provoke a debate about the pink ribbons printed on everything from garbage cans to Kentucky Fried Chicken to cat food bags. The honest point of this blog entry is that you know the families of these “exceedingly rare” cancer patients would NEVER allow the profits to go to the ACS. I doubt we would be reading any ACS argument against the bald Barbie if it were dressed in pink ribbons and proceeds benefiting breast cancer research.

    Look out Mr. Becker. You’ve messed with the wrong people. We are people who already despise the ACS for their lack of funding for childhood cancer. We despise the use of bald kids in your advertising when you direct less than a PENNY per dollar of those donations to childhood cancer research. We have loud voices that will be speaking out against the ACS even louder now.

  147. Beckie Sypin says:

    If you were truly sorry it offended people it would be deleted!!!

  148. jff11 says:

    Its about looking into your child’s eyes and trying to find the words and actions to give them the hope they need to continue fighting the fight. Helping them continue each day while they are being poked at all hours, connected to IV poles with so many pumps it weighs more than they do, feeling sick and getting sick at all hours. Laying with them in bed for comfort – while being so frightened it becomes difficult to breathe. Being asked by your child “Mom, please just cut off my long hair because it hurts my head, my hair died on my head” and while cutting their beautiful hair off they are sobbing. Don’t you get it? The loss of hair is not just the hair… it makes the cancer real, too real. It is now apparent to everyone what you are going through. Whether you want people to know or not… they now know! So for a little girl to have a Barbie doll who is going through what she is going through may make her journey a little better on some very bad days. I too am disappointed in ACS — something has to change for childhood cancer and who better than to lead the way for change than You The American Cancer Society. Please join in the fight and help pediatric cancer get the needed funds for cancer research. We need the GOLD to be the new PINK!!!

    • krisays72 says:

      There is an earlier post on here from an ACS Volunteer Susan Monroe from Phoenix, AZ who states they are endorsing a new event BACC PACC (Bringing awareness to childhood cancer) (Pedaling awareness for childhood cancer). Whom I agree with all she says about ACS from my mom’s battle with pancreatic cancer which she lost in 2009 and I started my own relay team in 2010 raising $6065! This past year a good friend of mine lost her daughter to neuroblastoma in August, they walked the survivor walk at the relay and we changed our team name to honor her too. We are hoping for some big changes in ACS or we may just take our team and go elsewhere. This year we are well on our way to raising more than we did last year! We intend to GO GOLD with our team this year!

  149. “In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything (a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives) , do we need one more thing whose function is to “raise awareness” about cancer? Is raising awareness worthwhile?”

    Are you serious?!? I realize that we get pink shoved down our throat pretty much year round, but hell yes we need more awareness where childhood cancer is concerned!! My son Brandon was diagnosed with ALL at the age of 6 and died at the age of 12. He fought everyday and had to endure painful procedures, toxic chemo, numerous surgeries, nauseating and painful radiation, etc. for half of his life only to lose the fight. Now our family has to cope with his loss everyday. It has been 4 years since his death and we just had family pictures taken last month for the first time because I couldn’t bear to have a family picture that didn’t include him. They turned out beautiful, but I will always look at them and see a missing piece.
    His brother and sister had to watch their big brother go through so much. My boys were 23 months apart in age. My younger son, who had his brother in his life from day one, had to adjust to life without his brother around. Brandon was diagnosed 2 days before my daughter was born, so the only thing she knew was watching him fight for his life. She didn’t ever get to know the Brandon before cancer. The rowdy, rough and tough little boy. We watched him swell up from being on steroids, wither away to skin and bones because his body wasn’t absorbing nutrients the way it was supposed to and in the end we had to make the horribly painful decision to take him off the ventilator and let him go. No parent should ever have to make that decision.
    And you have the nerve to ask if we need “one more thing” or if “raising awareness is worthwhile.” ACS sure wouldn’t know about benefiting childhood cancer so I guess I can see where it would seem like a non-issue. I do not support ACS and your article just adds to the list of reasons why I don’t and why I steer others away from supporting ACS as well.

  150. AS the mother of a 15 year old 3-time cancer survivor, I am very offended by this piece. If the ACS is so concerned that peoples’ money and energy be spent on research, why do they only give 1% of all the dollars they receive to all childhood cancers combined??? 46 children are diagnosed with cancer EVERY DAY! And the “Lucky” children who survive, like my son, suffer the rest of their lives from health complications from the treatments, since the treatments are built for adults moreso than children. My son, for example, needs 2 hip replacements, has to get regular infusions for osteoporosis, and has to take hormone shots daily! I also personally know 3 children currently battling SECONDARY CANCERS they now have due to the chemo and radiation they received previously~! We are so tired of our children being used on posters and web-sites to raise money for organizations that don’t see them as worthy of fighting for! With AWARENESS COMES FUNDING! Why is the ACS not supporting this?
    Lisa Molina

  151. Meg Baker says:

    Pediatric cancer is NOT rare!!! You absolutely cannot tell me that something that happens every single day is rare!! EVERY DAY in America 46 kiddos are diagnosed with some sort of pediatric cancer AND every day 7 kiddos die!!!!!! Happens every day!!! Pediatric cancer IS NOT RARE!!!

  152. Gen Chamblee says:

    As a mom who lost her 2 1/2 year old, beautiful daughter to stage IV neuroblastoma cancer, I am absolutely appalled by this article. RARE??? You tell that to a family who just found out their child has cancer. Tell that to a child who has chest tubes, feeding tube, gets painful chemo to destroy the 5 masses in her body, tell that to the parents who are told that there is nothing more the Drs can do, tell that to the parents who hold their child as they take their last breath. I have my own foundation for childhood cancer, and I will NEVER donate to ACS AGAIN! F#CK YOU CANCER & F#CK YOU ACS!!

  153. There is nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. My son Kenneth (7 years old) was diagnosed with Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Aug 3rd 2010. He lived a whole ten weeks after diagnosis. On Oct 17th 2010 he passed away. Hmmmm I guess he was one of those “RARE” ones. I will pray Mr. Becker that the “Rare” doesn’t strike your family as it did ours. I am most confident that if it does the ACS might change its percentages around a bit.

    I am sure that these comments that we are posting will go in one ear and out the other. If nothing else sticks let this… Kenneth G. Wesley Bickford, a beautiful blue eyed boy that loved life. He wanted to be a lifeguard, gym teacher and Bo Duke. Kenneth complained of a headache and dizziness. Two weeks later my lifeguard / gym teacher was immobile. No movement whatsoever. He didn’t talk, he didn’t walk, he didn’t even blink. Imagine Mr. Becker just imagine. I’m not sure if you have children (apparently not) but I am sure you have been around a child that has tugged at your heart. I sure have and my heart is broken.

    I am active in trying to raise money for research for DIPG and American Cancer Society. We even have a team, “Team Kenneth”. I knew that the percentages were low in the money given to childhood cancer. I still am going to participate in Relay for Life in our community this year. That was my committment this year and I will stick to it. Ask me if I will be participating next year. NO I will not. Hmmm I wonder Mr. Becker if the comments you made will detour others from not participating? Looks like the bald barbie comments may cause a loss in funds in the long run.

  154. Scott Peck says:

    One thing that seems to be lost in this bald Barbie debate is why it is needed in the first place. Because the Nation Cancer Institute (tax payer funded) has labeled childhood cancer as rare it receives very little money compared to other cancers. If that wasn’t bad enough the drug companies also compound the problem by not researching childhood cancer medications because not enough kids get cancer to make developing new treatments profitable. So if the drug companies won’t step up and help, and the government won’t follow through with what they promised (Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2008 is still only being funded a fraction of what the House and Senate promised) where does that leave the children?

    • Profitable….so sad that our childrens lives need to make people money. I know that research is not cheap, but our childrens lives are priceless….for drug companies to deem it as not profitable…that just makes me sick….i am guessing you have never had a child who has battled cancer…you are lucky in that respect, but as a parent of a child who has battled cancer….every childs life is worth it to find a cure!

  155. I am a neuroblastoma survivor and this article made me completely heartsick. Everything I want to say has in response to this post has already been said – but this cannot be said enough: F*** U CANCER.

  156. Ali Barnes says:

    Just over a quarter of the population in the USA is made up of people under the age of 20. This leaves just under three quarters of the population that are adults. It stands to reason that there will therefore be a higher number of people with adult cancer as there are more of them. How many people know that September is childhood cancer awareness month. Not many. I cannot believe this post has come from someone who is supposed to be supporting people with cancer. How many more kids need to die? How many more brothers and sisters need to lose a sibling? How many more bereaved parents does there need to be before you DO SOMETHING?! If you look at the figures for Neuroblastoma ALONE it will make you sick that the statistics are so hopeless and have been for the last 20 years. Nothing has changed and you can’t tell me, or anyone, that there there isn’t the money out there to fund better treatments. Unacceptable.

  157. Ali Barnes says:

    I would also like to add that you have referred ONLY to the number of children in America who are affected by cancer. Add up how many kids in the WORLD who are fighting cancer and maybe you wouldn’t be so quick to brush off the suggestion of a bald barbie. Awareness and funding will benefit kids all over the world, not just America.

  158. Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare??!! Go sit in a Pediatric Oncology Clinic for a few hours and tell us what you see. These hospitals are being overcrowded with Pediatric cancer patients because it is rare??? I think not! I think you need to get a grip on the REALITY of childhood cancer! That is the problem with the world!

  159. Yes, I am offended. How dare you say Childhood Cancer is exceedingly rare!. Why don’t you take a few moments and sit in a FULL waiting room in a Pediatric Oncology unit? How will you feel then? How dare you minimize Childhood Cancer like this. We need awareness and we neeed funding for research. Is Childhood Cancer only acceptable when it is used to place an image of a sick bald child to prompt people to donate? Shame on you and I will from now on find other places to donate my money in the future.

  160. Sorry IF, sorry IF? So not only are we Cancer Parents littering society with our tottems, a lynch mob and bullies but now we’re imagining offense? No deal Adult Cancer Society, no deal. An apology reads “We are sorry for” not “if”.

  161. ehcmathis says:

    OMG I can not believe what I am reading!! Child Hood cancer is rare me ass! My daughter has been fighting leukemia for 15 + months and I was not aware before she was diagnosed! But the amount of kids that have cancer is very high. Child Hood cancer does not get thw attention like breast cancer! But that’s not the point! You really should look into things before you say it! Research childhood cancer and get the true numbers! I can’t beloved this!!!! TRULY UNREAL!!!!!!!!

  162. You say you support Birthday’s, but for who? Do you know how many children are dying from cancer that never even get to celebrate their FIRST Birthday? Where are you guys for those children? You give so very very little towards childhood cancer, yet you do not seem to have a problem using those bald children when it comes time to raise money for your organization. I think that is wrong. Why don’t you give more towards childhood cancer research? There aren’t exactly a whole lot of big organizations standing up for these children. Their parents, are the ones who are standing up and SHOUTING for these chlidren!! We have to, because no one else will. We’ve pleaded with people like Oprah, Ellen, and so many others….and all of our please fall on deaf ears. And now…we are begging Mattel, to help with BARBIE. It’s a plastic doll. I mean, sure technically the kids may not “NEED” a Barbie as much as they DEFINETELY NEED a CURE! How do we GET a cure? By spreading AWARENESS by making people AWARE that YES kids are getting cancer EVERY single day, ALL OVER THE WORLD, and kids are DYING. Too many people think that if you get ONE cure for cancer, you cure them all. NO, cancers are all different, sure it’s a step in the right direction perhaps, but it could take decades to apply that research towards other cancers, especially childhood cancers which can act so much more diffrently than adult cancers. Kids aren’t getting mini versions of adult cancers, and getting watered down chemo. No, they are getting BIG cancers (brain tumors, bone cancers, Neuroblastoma, kidney cancer, eye cancer, leukemia etc etc) And often, these cancers are not diagnosed until it has progressed to stage 4! Many of these children have large operations, and bone marrow transplants, brain surgeries, and have limbs amputated. These kids miss out on so much. Many of these kids cannot have normal birthday’s because they are in isolation in the hospital, or are dying, or are so sick and compromised immune systems that they cannot have people near them. But yet you guys support more birthdays? This Barbie, for some…is useless. About as useless as a surfing Barbie is to some, or as to the Holiday collecting Barbie is to others. But this Barbie can mean so much to so many children, and their parents. It won’t “scare” children. If anything it will open the door way for conversations for parents to have with their children about someone in their family who may have been touched by cancer (adult or child) and to teach their children that differences are OK and that yes some kids DO get sick and they need our support to get better. And for kids who fighting cancer it can give some encouragement to keep fighting let them know they are still beautiful (you can tell them that all you want, but some take a little more convincing) for the siblings of cancer patients this can be a good way to cope with what their sibling is going through. My 4 year old daughter has watched her little brother fight cancer since he was a new born, it has been rough for her, and when she sees this bald Barbie she thinks this doll is gorgeous and instantly makes the connection. We made our OWN Bald Barbie with an old Barbie she had, and it is her favorite Barbie. I think you owe all of the Chilhood Cancer families a REAL aplogy, not one that says “IF” we offended you, because you DID offend us, a lot. You HURT us. There is nothing more painful than watching your child suffer. Than watching your child go through things they can’t possibly understand, and you don’t know how to explain, watching your child be in pain and you can’t fix it, watching them slowly die in front of your eyes. It isn’t wise to make comments towards something that is intertwined so closely with emotions. Parents are VERY PROTECTIVE of their children, that is ESPECIALLY true for parents of kids with cancer.

  163. dmurrayarmitage says:

    Such arrogance to state that this desire to have Mattel make a bald barbie is blackmail via social media. To support this audacious statement, you try to trivialise any other organisation’s efforts to bring awareness to childhood cancer or raise funds for research which does not ivolve the ACS is beyond belief. If you could all pull your collective heads out of your collective butts long enough to look around, you might see wonderful initiatives involving many organisations made up of parents, and relatives of childhood cancer warriors, along with their friends working toward finding real solutions. The difference is they naively put most of their funding into their goal whereas ACS merely puts 0.05% of theirs – no, wait a minute, that’s OUR money you are so miserly with.
    Do you not understand at all that the names you have seen so far are simply the tip fo the ice-berg? There are legions more who rarely venture into these debates that you have managed to single-handedly alienate and pure piss-off with one unthinking blog.
    There may be “limited” number of childhood cancer patients compared to other diseases and many adult cancers, but let me tell you, there are an astronomical number of people out here who have been touched by this “rare” disease. It is not only the childhood cancer patients who are impacted, it is their families and freinds and their family’s friends. With social media and the internet, there are thousands who have been touched by the stories of the “few”. Stories, like Rockstar Ronan Thompson and Braden Hofen. You fools don’t even recognise what a short-sighted and incredibly stupid thing you have done with this unthinking blog. It is forever associated with you now and you may never recover from this. You may have finally found a way to implode and destroy yourselves. What a loss of possibilities.

  164. moon says:

    This article disgust me!! Your ‘facts’ are misguiding…
    I am so pissed I can’t even respond any further!!!
    Make sure you RESEARCH before you DONATE!!!! and dont donate to these assholes anymore!!

  165. Both of my children are beating cancer, so it is not rare in our household. I do have boys who would not play with a barbie, but they have cousins who would. My children are 2 and 3 and their female cousins are 4 and 5. There were a lot of questions when my then 1 year old was diagnosed and then again when my 3 year old was diagnosed. What is sad is that while there are so many children fighting, so little funding goes into it. There is little done about raising childhood cancer awareness. Had we been aware, our youngest could have been diagnosed much earlier and caught before he went blind in his left eye. But we lived in a world where children don’t suffer and unfortunately were slapped into reality. Childhood cancer is real and us parents of fighters will do anything we can to raise awareness.

  166. Leslie Roddy says:

    Go “F” yourself! If you don’t care about the children out there suffering from childhood cancers, like that of my best friend’s 3 year old daughter and the millions of other children out there, then shut the hell up and get a life in another field! Who gives a crap whether a bald Barbie would give Matel an opportunity to make millions of dollars for their OWN good. I guarante with the idiotic remarks you have made, there will be, someday, someone who cares enough to face the fact that there are millions of children battling cancer to have the decency to mass produce a “DOLL” who is bald and it might just be me! What am I going to do with the profits…..not give it to the American Cancer Society! I’ll find a “REAL” organization who really wants to find a cure for cancer instead of worring about how much money they make for themselves!

  167. Lady Ozma says:

    As a parent of a child that had cancer, I wanted to sound off. Personally, I don’t like Barbie. I understand she’s a staple in every little girl’s toy bin, but she gives a really inaccurate view of beauty that no little girl is ever going to be able to live up to. I see no reason to try to make a bald barbie so a sick girl who is definitely not going to look like Barbie can feel a little better.

    I thought your entire article was good except it did burn me to hear you say that pediatric cancer isn’t that common. I suppose it’s not common enough, but it is the number 1 disease related cause of death in children. It’s completely different from adult cancers and the treatments cause a lot of other issues, including other cancers. It gets precious little funding and until recently with the rise of St Jude’s commercials, there’s really little people know about it. Please do not say it is not common. That was a little hurtful. My cousin lost a child to cancer. A friend lost a child to cancer. I danced with a girl undergoing cancer treatment when I was a teenager. My husband’s sister died at 3 of cancer. My son had cancer at age 5, a cancer that is 99.9% of the time found before the age of 6. And two years ago a friend of mine died at 39, due to how weak her body was from the cancer she fought three separate times as a teenager.

    Instead of trying to force matel to make a barbie, can’t we do something else? I like the idea of donating to research. Pediatric cancer receives so little funding it is disgusting. Don’t waste your money on a Barbie. Drop that money towards St Jude’s or to Candlelighters. (I love the ACS, but they are not focused like St Jude’s and Candlelighters towards pediatric cancers.) My golly, you can buy a Barbie doll and rip out her hair if you really want a bald barbie. Leave a few wisps to make it more real.

    • While I also am indifferent to Barbie and it may not be particularly useful to you (or me) I still see no reason why one shouldn’t be made. I guarantee that the small amount of money that goes to that Barbie wouldn’t put a full stop on donations to cancer organizations.

      Yes, it’s not the end of the world if a bald Barbie isn’t made. But there is no reason why one SHOULDN’T be made either.

      You are free to your opinion. But others are as well. If they think their daughters (or sons, in some cases) could benefit from it. Then there is no reason you or I (who have sons who more than likely wouldn’t play with a Barbie) should stifle them.

  168. I am a 15 year old kid that has suffered from leukemia 3 times my life. I believe the community does need more awareness about childhood cancer — and so does the ACS, for that matter! For instance, Childhood cancer is not exceedingly rare. It is, in fact the NUMBER 1 CAUSE OF DEATH BY DISEASE FOR CHILDREN! Also, more than 2X ACS’s projected deaths from it will happen this year. Perhaps, $1 for every Barbie could go toward research, which is what ACS gives to Childhood cancer research per each hundred dollars they take in. Also, ACS is guilty of false advertising, as they always show children on their posters while almost no money goes to childhood cancers, which is what I consider FRAUD! Finally, I take issue with their comment about raising more money and less awareness. If that is the case, THEN GIVE MORE THAN 1 CENT PER DOLLAR TO CHILDHOOD CANCER.
    One final comment, IF YOU, THE ACS, EVER DOES SOMETHING THIS HYPOCRITICAL AND INSENSITIVE EVER AGAIN, I WILL PERSONALLY START A PETITION TO BOYCOTT YOU AND DISCOURAGE OTHERS FROM DONATING. While you may say “What about the others with cancer?” I say:You have insulted ALL cancer patients with your remarks, and people should donate to other cancer charities, who believe awareness is important, and don’t insult the very people they claim to be serving!

  169. Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare????? Have you ever stepped foot in a pediatric oncology clinic?????? I suggest you do.

  170. You know 1340 children will die this year huh? Not too rare for me or those kids and their families. Actually 7 kids die each day from childhood cancer. That’s 2555 kids this year. Too many. 2555 too many. And 16790 will be diagnosed…that’s 46 a day. How can you say it’s rare? Grow a brain.

  171. Leslie Neiss says:

    Gosh, where do I begin? How about here: “Just like radiation and chemotherapy, awareness must be deployed thoughtfully and carefully.” NOTE to ACS Media Relations blogger, WORDS “must be deployed thoughtfully and carefully.”

    As in, you can’t take back these gems:
    “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare.”
    “Women have about a one in 50 chance of developing cancer before age 40.”
    “It’s why we don’t see advocates for lightning strike dolls.”
    “After all, what is more sympathetic than a little girl with cancer?”
    “My final concern is the no-win position Mattel finds itself in. . . . Now the company risks a severe backlash of ill will if it does not accede to the demands of the social media mob.”

    Ignorance must be bliss in your world, blogger asbecker. That “social media mob” that you’ve lumped everyone into who come together to make things happen? I think you’ve single handedly done more damage to ACS than they’ve already done to themselves, and that’s saying a lot.

    I think there’s a “social media mob” out for your job, and you just might find they are your fellow employees. In addition, of course, to the rest of us “social medial mob” childhood cancer survivors, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles great grandparents, friends, neighbors, teachers, doctors, nurses, volunteers . . . I think you get the idea.

    “Insensitive” is not the adjective that immediately comes to mind, asbecker.

  172. Jeff Close says:

    Can you be any more obtuse? Is it any wonder the childhood cancer community despises you? Personally, I have no opinion on a bald Barbie, but given your abysmal track record with childhood cancer, your blog was both appalling and insulting. You have alienated hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people touched by childhood cancer. Then again, you never really cared about them in the first place did you?

  173. I am flabbergasted by your insensitive comments. You work for an organization that as one of its missions statements is “We’re in your corner around the clock to help you through every step of a cancer experience.” Apparently the ACS is an R rated organization. Although your organization shows pictures of children in your marketing they don’t matter because they are “exceedingly rare.” If you were just an executive or even the CEO I might understand the ignorance that show in your staements. You are MEDIA director who should know better than to disregard a constituancy that is worth so much money to the ACS. Your profile states that you are the father of 3 children. You should be well aware of the statistics, but, before your children graduate from high school the odds are that you will attend at least one of their friends or aquaintences funerals. As part of your job you must have to interact with families. I know what I would be saying to you tomorrow morning as you asked to have my family or child to be interviewed by someone in the media. I challenge you to come with me and spend a few hours walking through a pediatric ward with my dog as she works providing pet therapy to the children. Ask your wife what she thinks of your blog post. My son received the exact same treatments that Teddy Kennedy Jr received 30 years ago. If my son were alive today he would be telling me, “Daddy, it’s okay he just doesn’t understand. He’s a good man or he wouldn’t be working with Alana, Alyssa and the other people at the ACS. Someone just needs to talk to him about the kids.” My son was an amazing kid who always found the best in everyone, even bullies.In your one blog post you have damaged what few great programs for kids and families the ACS has going for it. I have championed these local programs and now I am forced to be an apologist for you. You have prompted debate with this posting, but, the debate you have prompted is not about Mattel. It is about the ACS and its disregard for children. It is about the ACS and whether or not it is worthy of receiving our money. It is about whether or not the ACS has been deceiving people over the years by highlighting children to raise millions of dollars that NO child would ever benefit from.

  174. And this is one reason of many why the ACS will never see a dime of my money. I have never been so dissapointed in an organization as a Young Adult Cancer Survivor and supporter of pediatric cancer awareness and research as I am today with this response by your “expert”. This is one of the most insensitive and idiotic responses by a PR department I have ever seen. Research how ACS budget dollars are spent. 1/2 of a penny for every $1 raised goes towards Childhood Cancer Research from your organization. You must do better, in both action and words.

  175. articangel says:

    I think i am done giving money to ACS!!!! I will be sending my money to the “Lift Up Foundation” in memory of Ellie Potvin. She was another “rare” child the died of cancer

  176. Are you honestly this incompetent. DO you not know anything about cancer at all. I can not see one cancer related fact in this that has a grain of truth. Cancer is uncommon in woman with children this age.. Hmm so let me see my friends cousin that passed of brain cancer last year had two young children one a girl. when i was 12 my mother had cervical cancer. Have you ever watched while the heart of a friend broke as thier child died from cancer. I would guess not. How bout sat in a hospital room an listened while a friends mom was told she has not one but three types of cancer and they have no clue how to fight it next. YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!!! I swear people like you slow the chance for a cure to this stupid disease everyday!! For those who think the money would just go to mattel and american company.. OH darn!! That would be awefull wouldnt it we could raise awarness a company that has done well for our kids our entire lifes may gain from it. Who knows they could give a portion of each doll to support childhood cancers like Neuroblastoma. What are you affraid of?? That you will have to look at more “litter” from cancer? The fact that you call the awarness braclets and ribbons litter makes me want to smack your mouth. You have no clue do you!! I pray and i mean this whole heartedly that you or no one close to you is effected by cancer. People like you would be absolutly no help to them because you can handle the realities of this horrific thing we call Cancer.

  177. There has been so much said here I don’t have too much more to add but I wanted to bring up one more thought. I really wish you had read the article about little Genesis more closely. The doll was NOT made to raise awareness, it was made to help a beautiful little girl feel like a princess again after losing her hair. How anyone could possibly object to helping any girl or boy feel better about themselves is beyond me. These little Warriors (and they are warriors in every sense of the word) are in a battle with an enemy that is cruel and heartless. While you have the right to post whatever you want, you have hurt many people today with your insensitivity, but then you have also united people who KNOW that childhood cancer is something that needs more research and perhaps your article will encourage more people willing to fight to make that happen.

  178. I’m not a huge proponent of the bald barbie, even as a mom of a young daughter who battled leukemia. But this piece is just so extraordinarily insensitive in its language and rhetoric. “Exceedingly rare?” Don’t want to panic people about childhood cancer? Then why does ACS parade smiling bald little heads around for PR purposes, yet refuse to adequately fund childhood cancer research? In September, National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, ACS started sending me email preparing us for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I sent an email asking why this was done, and received platitudes in response. Well, ACS, you will no longer be receiving any of my, or my extended family’s, donations. Or my friend’s. Not if I can help it.

  179. lafevem says:

    You owe a huge apology to all the “rare” children fighting cancer and their families. Your half – hearted “apology” for offending some readers is not enough. I would also suggest a new Media Relations Executive as this one seems to know very little about how to present the ACS in a positive light. This is a debate ACS should have involved themselves in.

  180. Hmmm…. Insensitive? No, that’s not what came to my mind; greedy is what came to my mind. You didn’t highlight an issue that deserves debate. In my opinion, there’s no debate needed here. This really has nothing to do with ACS. This whole movement was started to give kids who are fighting cancer a doll that might provide some comfort to them, to remind them that they’re not alone, and that they still are beautiful. This wasn’t a move to market a product for awareness. The potential is tremendous to use this as something to teach kids with cancer or those with a sibling, parent, grandparent, other relative, teacher or family friend with cancer that being bald isn’t something to be scared of or ashamed of. What about kids who have a sibling, friend or classmate with childhood cancer? Would a doll like this not be valuable to them?

    I’m a fan of the Beautiful & Bald Barbie. And if you checked your facts, you’d see there is NO DEMAND for this doll. The administrators of the page just last week had commented that they have no right to make such demands. It’s a movement that has gained momentum solely to be a comfort to those affected by cancer. In addition to that, there is NO DEMAND that money be given to cancer charities.

    While anecdotal, I personally have 4 friends between the ages of 35 – 45 who were diagnosed with & beat breast cancer and several other friends in the same age range who have had various forms of cancer. And you know what? Most of these friends have young children.

    So no, you didn’t ask a legitimate question. You sound like a greedy organization who is more concerned about the money than you are about the emotional needs of kids with cancer, their families, and all those who care about them. This doll would not detract from a goal of defeating cancer. But, it will defeat the goal of getting another dollar from me. No more donations for Relay for Life or any other ACS sponsored fund-raising efforts. My dollars will now go to St. Judes, City of Home, Ronald McDonald House, and St. Baldricks. While I didn’t have chemo, I too am a cancer survivor.

    In closing your goal of “discussions like this can help focus all our efforts more closely on our shared goal of defeating cancer,” hasn’t been met. While we still have the goal of defeating cancer, your part of the “discussion” has only enraged and alienated a large group of donors. Of course that’s my opinion, but I won’t donate or solicit donations on behalf of ACS ever again.

  181. Heather Zysk says:

    I honestly can’t believe ACS put themselves out there for such bad press. It makes it hard on those of us that try to raise funds for your organization.

    • krisays72 says:

      I completely agree! There is an earlier post from an ACS volunteer Susan Monroe that is well written about the things that ACS does do which is why I got involved with the Relay after my mother passed away in 2009 from pancreatic cancer. My first year I walked with a friends team for my mom and their daugther who was 20 when she was diagnosed and is now a survivor. I raised $3000 on my own that year half of their team total. In 2011, I started my own team and we raised $6065 and we are well on our way to beat that for this year, but not so sure now! Two of our team members are my good friend and her 4 year old daughter who she lost to neuroblastoma in August 2011 a month after the relay. We changed our team name this year to honor her too. We are both outraged and disgusted by his lack of compassion for children with this NON rare disease. We plan to GO GOLD this year after that we may take our team and go elsewhere!

  182. Your pathetic excuse for an apology is NOT accepted! Give me a break! You can try to excuse the behavior away all you won’t, but the reality and truth of the matter is way past obvious! You have further created more disgust to this foundation and further lost even more donors! This is not an attempt to work together to fight cancer because if it were, you would support pediatric cancer and families of children with cancer! I have watched you turn countless families away and refused to offer any help to them. One because they were not of religious preference you preferred! ACS you make me SICK! Try a REAL apology! This wasn’t a debate topic and you know it! This was a personal and vindictive attack on parents with cancer children! You have ZERO right to even discuss any of our children whatsoever! NONE AT ALL! You DON’T support them, you DON’T help in finding a cure for them or better treatments and do nothing but falsely exploit them to lie to donors to get donations! You have no right to even bare one child’s photo anywhere on your website, pamphlet’s, campaigns, NO WHERE!

  183. In reply to your concerns about “traumatizing” children who might see this Bald Barbie, do you think that the kids who are bald should be kept away from other children as well? Seeing an actual child who is battling cancer and has lost his/her hair, according to your logic, would certainly traumatize “normal” kids too. How about kids in wheelchairs? Kids with Downs Syndrome? Kids missing a limb? Autistic kids? You seriously think a DOLL will damage kids? How about teaching them that people are different and teaching them compassion and to not be afraid of kids who are different? I sincerely hope Mattel makes the right decision to make this doll in spite of ACS and the attitudes of your bloggers.

  184. Dear Mr. Becker,

    I am writing to you in response to your article/blog post titled “Bald Barbie Demand Is An Over-Reach”. As the proud aunt of a four year old cancer fighting ninja named Jack Morton, I find it disheartening and appalling that you would refer to childhood cancer as “exceedingly rare”. To quote the CDC, “In the United States, cancer is the second most common cause of death among children between the ages of 1 and 14 years, surpassed only by accidents”. Number two on the list isn’t what I would consider “exceedingly rare”. However, I can certainly give you an example of “rare”: “Less than one cent of every dollar donated to the ACS is donated to childhood cancer research”. In other words, moneys donated by the ACS to childhood cancer research is “rare”. “Exceedingly rare”, in fact.

    You bring up a Bald Barbie campaign, and how it’s basically an idea born from mass hysteria, induced by an awareness-flooded and over-paranoid nation. That it could “terrorize” a young girl who is fortunate enough to not have a life touched by cancer. On this same track of thinking, should we also encourage our little bald beauties to not venture out of the house while they are enduring treatment, because surely their bald heads would “terrorize” another innocent and blissfully ignorant child?

    You compare the chances of getting or being touched by cancer to that of being struck by lightning, hence your hurtful and distasteful comedic attempt about the nonsense of needing such a doll and stating that having a Bald Barbie awareness campaign is as necessary as needing a “lightning strike doll”. If this is the case, dear sir, then I personally have been stuck by lightning about thirty times, and the number grows daily each and every time I learn of a new diagnosis, or; as in the case of just the night before last, another cancer death. Was this supposed to be funny? I’m not laughing, Mr. Becker.

    Lastly, your grossly understated statistic that “sadly 1340 children will die of cancer this year”…and then you have the absolute gall to end that sentence on a “but”. “But” what? These children will die needlessly and unnecessarily and it’s going to be tragic…”but”… “But” what?? I can tell you this, Mr. Becker, there are no “but”‘s when it comes to how tragic it is to lose a child to cancer. Period.

    I, for one, I am 100% sold on the idea of awareness. This is because prior to my nephew being diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma at the ridiculously young age of two, I knew nothing about awareness. I knew nothing about cancer. I was ignorant to the lives being fought for and lost. However, I am no longer ignorant. Which is more than I can say about you and the ACS as a whole for endorsing your insulting article.

    As the head of media relations for the ACS, I’m sure you’re well aware of the term “damage-control”. Perhaps you should start on that right about now? How about upping the portion of moneys donated to childhood cancer research? Visit a childhood cancer ward…listen to the actual statistics…look at the bald heads. And ask yourself how on earth did I ever write such hurtful words?

    Stacey Redish
    Chandler, AZ
    Join us at I’m Praying for Jack!
    Follow Jack at

  185. krstwlkr says:

    I have left a few posts replying to other posts, but my biggest point is this…THIS IS ABOUT THE CHILDREN and not about the money for me. My daughter who is fighting cancer would love this doll. It would make her happy. Ask the children who this would make happy if they would want the doll, please. All this other crap is defeating the purpose. If Mattel did choose to do this and donate proceeds, that would be an added bonus for us parents. Plus, honestly, it would feel nice to see something promoting childhood cancer. My daughter was diagnosed last summer and unfortunately, I was ignorant to pediatric cancer. I lived in my bubble, I’ll admit it, but once I was thrown into the world, I was appalled at how little really is done for childhood cancer. And I agree, ACS should be ashamed of themselves for even putting this on their site. ACS does exploit cancer cuties because they know that children tug on heartstrings and (I believed until now) NO ONE would NOT want to help a child. I would gladly give my life for anyone’s child if it would end their suffering. I would rush out in front of a bus to save a stranger’s child, but I find it sad that people will fight about a doll and some money that could possible change a child’s life. What a selfish society we’ve become.
    So please, this is about the children…I hope people do the right thing and stop making this a debate.

  186. Olga Whitman says:

    Dear ACS ;
    Last year my cancer survivor daughter was able to raise $9,000 in her school fundraiser for your organization . Your post is a direct insult to her , arguing the fact that childhood cancer is exceedingly rare ? get a grip , it is not ! shame on you and yes we the parents of those children need to speak up for them because children cannot speak for themselves , they deserve the same kind of attention and support as breast cancer . Did you know that my daughter got the same chemo drugs that Ted Kennedy Jr got in 1973 ? do you know why ? because no other chemo drugs have been developed for children !!!! why not ? lack of research funding , but no surprise here if you think it’s rare and you are not paying attention to children’s needs….shame on you !!!

    • krisays72 says:

      Our team raised $6065 this year as a rookie team and on our team was my good friend and her 4 year old daughter battling neuroblastoma. Kadie passed away a month after the relay. This year we changed our team name to honor her and my mother both and we are well on our way to beating last years total! This year we plan to GO GOLD for the relay after that we may go elsewhere! Thanks Mr. Becker for your lack of compassion and ignorance for this NON rare disease!

  187. As the mother of a daughter who was 5 when she was daignosed i found this article completely irresponsible for ACS. You should pull the blog it is harmful to all your supporters who have actually fought through childhood cancer. Will i be thinking about these callous comments the next time i sign up my family to raise money for ACS in a Relay for Life – you bet. Cancer survivors face way too much they dont need to endure artcles from ACS that raise issues for debate — this kind of food for thought process is obviously only sensical for some one who has never been touched by childhood cancer. A few points:
    1) when my daughter was of barbie age — i was at the right age to get breast cancer
    2) childhood cancer is NOT RARE — child hood cancer kills more kids than all the other diseases combined. Chidlhood cancer impacts 1 out of 300. That is NOT RARE
    3) my 5 year old kept looking for something for her that was for childhood cancer — pink is for girls and there is that cnacer ribbon — but i had to keep explaining no that is for breast cancer —– SHE Wanted a TOTEM —- what is wrong with HER having a TOTEM. Nothing it would have made her feel good — why is that not a good idea.
    4) how about the posiive nature of a bald barbie teaching out kids about tolerence and diversity towards kids who cant grow hair or who have lost thier hair….. what a great thing this would be for all of us

    ACS please pull this article and apologize to all of us now

  188. Cindy Prost says:

    Dear ACS,
    Did you know that research into childhood cancer not only helps kids? It also helps adults.
    My daughter doesn’t play with barbies but I do think a bald barbie would be great if the company is willing to donate towards childhood cancer research which is terribly underfunded.
    I know many families who are going through or have gone through cancer treatment with their child including my own with Neuroblastoma. Many no longer have their children with them anymore. I would not call childhood cancer rare and it definately deserves more funding.
    If you are not willing to put money towards research for pediatric cancer someone needs to. Barbie? Maybe.
    Someone? Please.

  189. OK, here’s my .02 I don’t think it would be a good idea. I personally like the idea of just donating $10 or $20 to cancer research. I mean even IF Mattel decided to donate a certain percentage to cancer research it still wouldn’t be nearly the retail price at which they are sold. People need to remember that a percentage of the PROFIT is donated. At $20 per doll less than $1 would be donated so why not just donate the retail cost of a barbie doll. That way 100% is going toward it. I know people are going to say that more people would rather buy the doll than donate. But, if one person donates $20 they just donated the equivalent of buying 20 dolls. There is also the question of where it stops and what’s offensive. Do we give bald Barbie a bandanna or a removable wig? What about bald Dora? What about male cancer patients? Do we make a bald G.I. Joe or bald Ken? I think acceptance starts at home and continues through friends, educators and support groups. I don’t believe a bald Barbie is the answer. I believe that love, support and showing her how beautiful she really is, is the answer.

    • krstwlkr says:

      You still don’t get it….it’s not even about the money…the arguements for childhood cancer funding come because the ACS chose to put a piece up that they don’t have any right to weigh in on. It’s the lack of funding from ACS and then to have ACS support a piece that says our children are “rare”, yet exploit them to get money is what is so upsetting.
      So while you are right about the money issue, donating the cost of the doll to a direct charity that benefits Childhood Cancer, the bigger picture is that the little children fighting diseases that take away their hair will have a doll available that they want. A doll that gives them comfort or puts a smile on their face. Did you read the Genesis article? Genesis has stated that she didn’t feel pretty or like a princess anymore. The kind woman who had ties with Mattel had a special doll made for her and this “token” put a smile on a little girl’s face who is otherwise undergoing the unimaginable. That is what the Barbie is about….I wish people would see that.

  190. How is it that Childhood Cancer is seen as “RARE” by ACS????? Do they NOT know the FACTS? We have raised so much money for ACS in the past with Relay For Life – but now, I am not so sure that I want to be a committee chair, or even participate anymore. I would rather do the hard work to start my own Non-Profit Org to benefit children ONLY – We lost our 3-year-old God-daughter last march to DIPG, a 100% fatal form of CHILDHOOD Brain stem cancer. Here’s some facts ACS – just because over 50% of your funding goes towards breast cancer, and less than 2% goes towards Childhood Cancers of ALL TYPES does NOT make it RARE – it makes YOU uneducated. At least those of us who are old enough to have breasts have had the privilege to grow up. Here’s the FACTS about your so-called RARE cancers:

    1. Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer of children – more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.

    2. Childhood cancer is not a single disease, but rather many different types that fall into 12 major categories. Common adult cancers are extremely rare in children, yet many cancers are almost exclusively found in children.

    3. Childhood Cancers are cancers that primarily affect children, teens, and young adults. When cancer strikes children and young adults it affects them differently than it would an adult.

    4. Attempts to detect childhood cancers at an earlier stage, when the disease would react more favorably to treatment, have largely failed. Young patients often have a more advanced stage of cancer when first diagnosed. (Approximately 20% of adults with cancer show evidence the disease has spread, yet almost 80% of children show that the cancer has spread to distant sites at the time of diagnosis).

    5. Cancer in childhood occurs regularly, randomly, and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region.

    6. The cause of most childhood cancers are unknown and at present, cannot be prevented. (Most adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupation, and other exposure to cancer-causing agents).

    7. One in every 330 Americans will develop cancer by the age of 20. On the average, 12,500 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year.

    8. On the average, 1 in every 4 elementary school has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are a current or former cancer patient. In the U.S., about 46 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every weekday.

    9. While the cancer death rate has dropped more dramatically for children than for any other age group, 2,300 children and teenagers will die each year from cancer.

    10. Childhood leukemia (making up the largest group of childhood cancers) was once a certain death sentence, but now can be cured almost 80% of the time.

    11. Today, up to 75% of the children with cancer can be cured, yet, some forms of childhood cancers have proven so resistant to treatment that, in spite of research, a cure is illusive.

    12. Several childhood cancers continue to have a very poor prognosis, including: brain stem tumors, metastatic sarcomas, relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and relapsed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


  191. Pingback: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 « The Jack Morton Foundation

  192. It’s not about money… it’s not about back lashing on a good kind thing that mattel did when making the doll for Genesis… it’s about making just ONE little girl/boy (who may DIE by the way) feel like she isn’t some sort of unloveable outcast. It’s making a donation, and helping to heal the soul of a child… and THAT is why it IS worth it. And why I will never give up for these children who deserve more.

    None of this started over money. It all started from REAL people dealing with this REAL issue. Sitting in their homes, talking about what would help their daughters get through their ordeal (one a child with aleopecia, the other a 9 year old who’s mother has an incurable form of cancer and just watched her mother go bald this past October…) and some sweet, kind, supportive chatter of these two ladies from their friends…

    Be real… there are a FEW things left int his world that are based in love… and this was one of them.

  193. You might not be able to cure cancer by buying a bald barbie, but you just might be able to buy a bit of self esteem and courage. You can’t research and develop self esteem and courage. Feeling good and strong about oneself can aid in the recovery process. So actually the money spent on this doll might be just as valuable as any donation to the ACS. If you are lucky enough to get anymore after this article.

  194. Wow is all I can say! I have an amazing, healthy 1-year old son and have never had cancer and I am sitting here crying and furious that one horrible man could write such an ignorant and insensitive article. I found this article through an amazing family that I have followed on facebook for quite some time, the Fitzgeralds, who recently lost their beautiful 18 month old daughter, Saoirse to Neuroblastoma. I tried to think of what I could say that hasn’t already been said and only came up with one thing…….THANKS! Thank you ASBECKER for revealing the truth about the ACS to so many people. I have supported the American Cancer Society in the past, but I, as well as so many others, will never give the ACS one more penny. Congratulations! Your stupidity has now taken money away from the ACS and given it to more derserving actual ‘non-profit’ foundations that will support all cancers, especially pediatric ones. You must be so proud! ;-(

  195. Imagine being a child (or parent) who is avoided simply because you (your child) has no hair, and wears a mask to protect himself… but still wants to be a KID. Parents who tell their child to avoid you (or your child) because they “might get sick too”. Or hearing “kids don’t take chemo” from people who did not know that cancer can and does affect children. How about a little girl whose brother has no hair and she needs something hands on to help her understand. Or a little girl who has lost her hair and feels lonely because shes the only little girl at her school who is bald. A simple toy can EMPOWER so many children to face their (or their friends) battle with cancer or other diseases by making it more “normal” in THEIR eyes. Our society has shown that what is seen on TV and in toy stores often plays a foctor in what children percieve as normal, would it hurt to use a barbie to make it so much easier for children with cancer to not feel so completely different from their peers?

  196. krisays72 says:

    I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer in December 2009. I relayed for my first year in 2010 with a friend’s team whose 20 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer and is now a survivor. While I watched my mother dying, I watched this families fight for their daughter and she was one of the lucky ones! Also at this time a good friend of mine’s daughter was battling neuroblastoma for the 2nd time! My first year I raised over $3,000 on my own half of the team total! I was asked to walk with their team again but I chose to form my own team in memory of my mother. And we rocked! Together we raised $6065 and we won 1st place Rookie team! And on our team was 4 year old Kadie Stonebraker, battling neuroblastoma for her 3rd time! Her mother and her did the survivor walk and it was one of the most emotional things I’ve ever experienced in my life (might I add along with the 2011 St. Baldrick’s 46 Momma’s Shave for the Brave in Washington, DC that I attended with her mom, Sarah, a month after her passing). Kadie passed away less than a month after the relay and in honor of her we changed our team name to include her too. This year we are well on our way to surpassing last years amount raised and I am so appalled by this article for all the reasons many of you wrote above! Thanks to Mr. Becker I think that ACS is going to lose a lot of donations instead of gaining them by supporting and raising more awareness and prevention for Childhood cancer and an apology is definitely in need not an “IF”! I support Chili’s and Hyundai because they support Childhood Cancer! The ACS does a lot of good things for many people battling cancer which I learned through my mom’s battle but Mr. Becker’s lack of compassion for this NON rare cancer is just plain wrong! I was so glad to see ACS volunteer Susan Monroe’s earlier post endorsing the new event in Phoenix, AZ – BACC PACC (Bringing Awareness to Childhood Cancer Pedaling for Childhood Cancer) because we here in PA are totally ready to GO GOLD with it! I think the ACS needs to make some huge changes in their future or our relay team may go elsewhere. They should possibly start with who they let represent them without a face! We also support St. Baldricks, St. Jude’s, and Curesearch for Childhood Cancer and PANCAN for pancreatic cancer which is a RARE cancer too that doesn’t get enough funding either! SHAME ON ACS!

  197. Pingback: Dear Mr. Fuckwad Andrew Becker of the American Cancer Society « ROCKSTAR RONAN

  198. There are many places to donate money and/or time to help find curfes for cancer, to educate the public and to help those who need services. ACS, after reading this article today; I am sure that none of my money or time will ever go to support your agency. I will continue to work with children, donate money and have hope that my son’s cancer or my cancer will not return. You, ACS, ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

    There are TOO MANY ways where your “attitude” is fundamentally scewed; I can’t even begin to point them out. I’m saddened that a well known agency that claims to help those with cancer, have an attitude of superiority and seem to know what is best for children. Frankly, I’m disgusted that the needs and wants of children are not even being considered. Do you also support the blatant disregard for children when it comes to funding schools and state departments who provide homes for foster children? I believe I’ve made my point. I will share what I’ve learned about ACS today.

  199. My daughter and I spoke at a school assembly in Stockton, CA this summer. Claie is a 3 year survivor of Childhood Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She finished treatment 6 months before this event. We were asked to come to the school because they were doing several fundraisers for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. One of the teachers read the book, “Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand” to children in Kindergarten to 3rd grade. We were there to share our experiences and to talk about the foundation…Alexandra Scott was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma and started a lemonade stand to help the hospital so that other children could be cured. The book is wonderful and tells the story of Alex’s lemonade stand and that children can help other children. There is a teacher’s guide and curriculum guides for all grades. This afternoon, 4th to 6th grade students and staff came to the assembly to watch a movie on Alex’s life, her journey and the foundation that raises money in her name. Alex, in different stages of illness is in the film. Alex’s death and the start of the foundation are also covered. After the film, Claire and I were introduced. We talked about her cancer journey and also gave the reasons why we are ALSF volunteers.There were many questions…One boy asked if Claire’s hair was a wig. She explained that her hair had grown in…She also asked that if one of their classmates starts to lose hair or wears a wig, to be kind. Several kids volunteered that their grandparents had cancer and were bald because of treatment…one said her mother had cancer…This is awareness.. These children were attentive and respectful and none were injured by the experience…The staff of the ACS should learn aboutthe intelligence of children, the importance of awareness at any age and the need for education. I won’t repeat the issues which have been adequately mentioned by others but to relate that childhood cancer organizations work cooperatively…we have the goal of helping kids and their families to live well during and after cancer ; to minimize after effects and to saving lives. Claire was 18 when diagnosed and she is amazed by the courage of the survivors, parents, siblings and their families. We are astounded by the generosity and courage of families of children who have died. To the author of this blog, I have relatives who work in Public Relations in New York City…I will forward this blog article to them so that they and their firms can be aware of the poor quality of your work…I have a feeling that you may be looking for employment.

  200. That was not the point…. The point was the total insensitivity. This was not something that should have ever been brought up by the ACS. It in NO WAY pertained to their organization. It has ignited a firestorm, because unless this gentleman has ever raised a child battling cancer, he has NO IDEA the hell that our children & families endure on a daily basis. And it is HELL. My son Cole’s been doing it for over four years straight. In fact, we are currently in the hospital battling yet another infection… We have lived in this hospital 200 days in the last year and a half. Our Cole has nearly died on four different occasions. And still… he has found the time & energy to raise over $20,000 for this organization while he was enduring it at the tender age of twelve… To add insult to injury, I have spoken for numerous ACS events. How do I tell him what has happened here? How do I tell him that the ACS doesn’t care about kids with cancer and has spoken out AGAINST grassroots efforts that would enrich the lives of children battling cancer? How?

    My point is: If these families want to petition for a doll- let them… If signing that petition to hopefully make a doll happen for their kiddos gets them through the day- let them. They’re not hurting anyone. This situation had nothing to do with ACS and did not deserve to be qualified this way.

    “Awareness must be deployed thoughtfully and carefully.” —Really? Because addressing this topic in this manner was neither…

  201. mbcpt says:

    Wow, what incredibly condescending and inaccurate remarks, especially considering that they were written by the DIRECTOR OF MEDIA RELATIONS for one of our country’s top cancer fundraising charities (we are talking BILLIONS OF DOLLARS here). Mr. Asbecker, you erroneously described pediatric cancer an “exceedingly rare” disease when it is IN FACT THE NUMBER ONE DISEASE KILLER OF CHILDREN (“more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined”).

    In your article, you tried to liken the chances of being struck by lightning (which are ONE IN ONE MILLION) with the chances of a child being diagnosed with cancer (which are ONE IN FIVE THOUSAND or TWO IN TEN THOUSAND; in simpler terms, “a child in the U.S. has a 1 in 320 chance of being diagnosed with cancer before their 21st birthday”). I am not twisting your words; you wrote: “If they are mass marketed, many of these dolls will end up in the hands of girls who luckily aren’t likely to be touched by cancer in themselves or their mothers. But could they end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances? There is no reason to create this sort of fear. It’s why we don’t see advocates calling for lightning strike dolls.”

    Mr. Asbecker, I have some questions for you that I would like for you to answer as a representative of the ACS and as their Director of Media Relations… If pediatric cancer is so “exceedingly rare,” then why has it touched my family 3 times in a little over a decade? I have a cousin who was diagnosed at age 6, my own son was diagnosed at 22 months of age, and our close family friend was diagnosed at the age of 14. There are no obvious correlating factors involved. Why are pediatric oncology wards usually filled to capacity and why is it that approximately 46 children are diagnosed everyday in the U.S. with some form of cancer? Why is it that approximately 2300 kids (NOT 1340 as you erroneously suggested) in the U.S. die each year from it?

    Why is it that you and the ACS feel that you deserve to even weigh in on this topic and ask questions such as: “To the extent that this effort is about fighting cancer, we should ask ourselves what it accomplishes, who would benefit?” How about answering this question instead and being HONEST with the public: What does the ACS accomplish (specifically in terms of pediatric cancer) and WHO DOES IT BENEFIT??? Why does the ACS only contribute .05% of every dollar collected in donations towards pediatric cancer???? Why does the ACS actively use photos and videos of pediatric cancer patients in their P.R. campaigns, actively recruit children for their Relay for Life events, and use schools for staging these events, while doing SO LITTLE to help them fight cancer? Forget about the Bald Barbie Movement, the ACS should be asking itself whether it’s own movement is meeting the demand for pediatric cancer research funding, prevention and services as much as it would like for the public to imagine, and also whether the funds contributed by the ACS towards pediatric cancer “will result in any meaningful support reaching those who need it.”

    In my opinion, the ACS should clarify their new slogan “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays” by changing it to “The Official Sponsor of More Birthdays for ADULTS ONLY.”

    This effort to ask Mattel to create a bald Barbie is not just “about fighting cancer” as you imply. It is so much more than that. It’s about providing comfort for children afflicted with cancer and for children who are close to someone who is battling cancer. Children process things much more differently than adults, and that’s why every major children’s hospital and pediatric ward has an in-patient playroom and why there is such a thing as play therapy for children.

    I also believe that even if Mattel did agree to manufacture such a doll and donate the proceeds to true pediatric cancer charities such as St. Baldrick’s and Alex’s Lemonade Stand, I am sure that they would donate more than just a shoddy, token half penny for every dollar they collect, unlike the ACS’ current practices.

    You wrote: “In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything (a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives), do we need one more thing whose function is to ‘raise awareness’ about cancer? Is raising awareness worthwhile?” RAISING AWARENESS IS EVERYTHING BECAUSE WITHOUT AWARENESS THERE ARE OBVIOUSLY NO DONATIONS, WHICH MEANS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF LESS FUNDING FOR CANCER RESEARCH & PREVENTION. Come on! You know this already, don’t you? Please be honest and disclose the amount of annual ACS revenues which are dedicated to raising awareness and the need for funding for prevention and research??? Don’t even get me started with your remark about our world being littered with “cancer totems.” Why is it okay for the ACS and Susan Komen and many other organizations to do more far more than their share of the “littering,” yet, when someone approaches a major manufacturer to create a doll which will not only comfort children, but also raise money for pediatric research, why is it suddenly not worthwhile to litter our world with such awareness?

    As far as “a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives”— let’s be HONEST; the ACS markets and peddles HUNDREDS of different kinds of cancer totems (, and yet, you are protesting the manufacturing of ONE Bald Barbie for children? What is this really about?

    You went on to state that “sadly, some 1340 (erroneous statistic) children under age 14 are projected to die from cancer this year. Each one is a tragedy, and they and their families deserve sympathy and support…” Sadly this sympathy and support comes from sources other than the ACS.

    To suggest that parents, other family members and friends of children who either have cancer or are somehow affected by cancer are a “social media mob” and/or “consumer bullies,” or to suggest that this is merely a “publicity stunt” as one of your supporters wrote, is incredibly irresponsible, insensitive and an “over-reach” in itself.

    Put yourselves in our shoes. I think if you had a child or were close to a child who had cancer, you would take a much difference stance and I doubt that you would even be able to retain employment with the ACS in good conscious based on the principles raised above. Thanks for your two cents in this matter (really just half a cent, actually), but you can keep the chump change.

    ACS, how about changing your policies so that they are more fair towards the sick children whom you exploit in your marketing campaigns instead of just apologizing to “some of the readers” that you offended? That would be a more logical approach to focusing your efforts on defeating cancer in all age populations, not just adult ones. I feel that is a much more legitimate question than any of the ones raised in this article or your subsequent apology.

  202. Got it. The ACS doesn’t want us to buy a bald barbie for our child with cancer or her sister or her friends. After all he questions if the manufacture of a bald doll is really about fundraising. No, no. Please spend your money on the “limited number” of items the ACS sells like the $85.00 OGIO Computer Bag, the $13.00 executive pen, the $20.00 golf towel or the matching divot tool for just $9.00 more? I’m sure your kids would love any one of those things, right?
    Bottom line this article exposes the double standard that the ACS holds when it comes to other charitable efforts and how it loves to misrepresent childhood cancer and attempt to hide behind statistics to explain how it funds certain cancers. They won’t hesitate to use children in their advertising campaigns and they will gladly take your money if you think you are donating to help support childhood cancer but the truth is that they really don’t care about childhood cancer. This article was about money and only money.

  203. Greg Pum says:

    Can you say ANTI AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY! Just another kick in the teeth , you should be ashamed of your selves. Family’s lives are destroyed by loosing a child or watching there child become ill and become JUST a number for you ACS! Why dont move your offices to Mexico or China and poison us with useless HOPE FOR A CURE!! Childhood cancer is FAR from rare but what is rare is any Government or Pharmaceutical Company wiling to put More money into finding a cure. Sure it is important to find a cure for Breast cancer and so on! But look at the facts some children will never grow up to be ADULTS! FORGET ACS…CURESEARCH AND COG ARE #1 !!


  204. As a public relations student, I was definitely not expecting this type of reaction from an organization such as The American Cancer Society. As a P.R. student we are taught to extract ourselves and our own personal views of such debates and seek to satisfy our publics. This article has dealt extremely detrimental blows to this organization’s image and credibility. If you are not serving your publics or even remotely seeking to appease them who are you initially hoping to serve? Yes, the majority of posters are passionate and sympathetic toward this cause but what kind of reaction did you expect? This blog fails to display understanding of the most crucial and vital portion of Public RELATIONS that should set your NON-PROFIT organization a part from any other: ethics. What kind of relationship nurturing are you providing for your supporters…or shall I refer to them now as “former” supporters? Please refer to the basics…reciprocity, responsibility, stewardship… I only stumbled upon this article, during the completion of a class assignment for a media sales and advertising class, however, this article has enlightened me in the fact that there are more predominant issues at hand. Organizations are not seeking to satisfy their supporters anymore, but only strive to save a dollar.

    However, I am fully aware of the concept you are hoping readers of this blog grasp. Summarily, that childhood cancer is not the largest illness that takes innocent lives and that their are other ways to generate publicity and revenue for the cause if it finds to be worthy enough. But you have failed to absorb the larger spectrum of this issue. Childhood cancer is serious. These posts and the immense amount of support and articles composed for this cause prove that well enough. These children, parents and survivors deserve more respect and empathy than you’ve provided. You have compared lives on the brink of death to “lightning strike” victims and simple breast cancer wristbands that you have suggested are mere additions to cancer litter and paraphernelia. You chose to implement sarcasm at a time of paramount seriousness and include a disclaimer to those that might be offended? How crass. I hope your organization is preparing to apologize for this ignorant display of insensitivity.

    The idea of creating this Barbie has its own pros and cons;however, your organization’s attempt to convey its distaste for this cause has paved the way for a heap of trouble and a decrease in support.

    Peace and Blessings to the cancer surviviors, cancer fighters, supporters and children all over the globe battling this illness. I hope all of you find joy and happiness. No one deserves to be thrown in the pile of undesirables.

    Chelsea Adams
    P.R. student @ ASU.

  205. Beyond the argument for or against the bald Barbies, your comments regarding childhood cancer were highly insensitive and appalling at best. In Canada, which isn’t going to be much different from the USA as far as stats go, childhood cancer remains responsible for more deaths from one year through adolescence than any other disease; more deaths than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS combined.About one in four children who are diagnosed with cancer will die of the disease.
    With a mortality rate of close to 25%, Canada loses tens of thousands of years of potential life each year to childhood cancer. I am not sure what your definition of “exceedingly rare” is. It is certainly meaningless in terms of my daughter who died from a virulent form of brain cancer when she was barely 18 years old. “Exceedingly Rare” is also meaningless to the groups of many parents who have lost their children to cancer, or are currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment. The only thing rare about childhood cancer is the financial support received for research. One quarter of our children diagnosed with this disease die. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on cancer treatment and research, but studies and drug development specific to pediatric cancers remain woefully underfunded. Unfortunately, new drugs and treatments are few and far between, largely because private companies lack the ability to generate significant profit from them. Drug companies have also been reluctant to develop products specifically for childhood cancer patients, in part because of the liability risk that they take when testing drugs on young children.
    I should think an organization like yours would think twice about flinging out such volatile and insensitive remarks about children and cancer. As for the marketing of bald Barbies? You have no right to determine how useful such a toy may be – unless perhaps of course, you have experienced the shock of having your child’s hair fall out in clumps in your hand as you brushed it. I dare say a bald Barbie would go a long way to help younger children and their peers cope with the the after affects of treatments. It would certainly open the doors to communication, understanding, and acceptance not only between children, but with their adult counterparts too.Shame on you ACS. Our children deserve better.

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  207. I want to see how you can give a child “Research” to take with them to every doctor visit, every hospital stay, every surgery, every transfusion, etc. I want to see if these children would prefer ‘Research’ or a bald Barbie to pack in their bags and play with. They would be reminded every day of their illness if they have a bald Barbie. Really??!!! They are ‘reminded’ every time they look in a mirror, every time they are in the hospital, every time they have pills to take, every time someone stares at them because they look different. Childhood cancer is rare? I want to be there when you tell a parent that their child was born with cancer. I want to hear you explain to an older child that they will never be able to have children. I want to hear you tell a child that when they wake up, their leg will be gone. I didn’t see you at my son’s funeral or any of the other children we know that have died from cancer.No matter what anyone says, these children are aware they are ‘different’. We just want a way to show them that ‘Different’ can be beautiful,too.

  208. Way to go, ACS. The only reason you have a problem with the Bald Barbie campaign is because you won’t directly, financially benefit from it, you greedy b-tards. Apparently, the writer of this blog never had a child with cancer, as I have, or he wouldn’t have written such an offensive article. I have donated to & supported the ACS in the past, but never again. Knowing that you do not fully support childhood cancer awareness makes this decision an easy one.

  209. kalhaymye says:

    To say childhood cancer is rare is pure .ignorance. 46 children are diagnosed everyday, everyday 7 children die from childhood cancer how is that rare. Only 3% of all money raised is used for childhood cancer. No I do not have a child with cancer but I am an advocate for these kids. Everyday a child I follow dies that is not rare. People are afraid of childhood cancer therefore they close their eyes to it. Its time for peoplto wake up and see that many many children suffer each day from cancer and 7 don’t make it. Awareness is key we need funding to find a cure and for anyone to say childhood cancer is rare has no idea wth they are taking about

  210. I am grateful not to have a child fighting for their life over and over but the way you described it to be rare is insane. A delorean is rare not childhood cancer. 46 kids each day and 7 die. If your child was part of that 46 it is no longer rare it is real. Childhood cancer is real and funding is rare especially from ACS. The goal of these parents is to bring awareness and ask organziations like yours to spend more so that there will be more options when a child is diagnosed. Since I had breast cancer boy I am thrilled that some lady somewhere went to bat to be an advocate to save the TaTa’s, pink bracelets and all (they are littering anyones arms they are a reminder like a rubber post it note).Thrilled that another lady said check your boobs each month since I was too young to have a mammogram covered by insurance at the time. Advocate brings awareness which brings funding and then hopefully a cure. I don’t have a college education and know that. Maybe you should have a mom blogger do a guest post on your blog to bring debate and see who gets more comments and support on the subject.

  211. Kayla Giacin says:

    Mr. Becker, I’m sure that you wrote this realizing that you would be “villified” as another reader wrote. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t written something like this, I wish I was braver than you to have written my unpopular opinion in a place other than a comment to a blog. I actually did write a blog for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation but I wasn’t as forward with my thoughts in it. The only thing I disagree with is that you stated that “childhood cancer is exceedingly rare.” It is not as rare as people think and it DOES matter to every single person’s life that it touches. However, creating a cancer barbie is just a very, very bad idea. I had a pediatric brain tumor and I think I would have been DEVASTATED if somebody gave me this doll and said, “Here, she looks like you”. Besides the fact that Barbie still has a perfect figure and glamorous looks and I was an 8 year old blimped out on steroids with undeveloping muscle and bones. I read a comment to another similar blog that said something to the effect of “Let little girls be little girls and allow them to play with dolls”. It’s ok for a little girl to live in a fantasy world and should not be subjected to the horrors of life to this degree. No, I don’t think we should hide the facts of life from them but you’re right, subjecting them to a doll that might petrify them into thinking that they will get cancer is wrong. Also, just like with making everything pink for breast cancer, creating a barbie is making cancer pretty. This is something that angers me. Cancer is NOT pretty and no one should make it sound pretty. It is ugly and we need to work on getting people diagnosed with cancer or tumors to accept themselves in their new bodies instead of falsely telling them that cancer is beautiful. It’s possible to accept something that isn’t beautiful but let’s not pretend that it is. No one is being fooled.
    So Mr. Becker, thank you for taking a stand – especially coming from the American Cancer Society. I think the fact that an organization such as the American Cancer Society is supporting this side of the issue says something about the potential products meaning and impact as a reality and not as some far off idea that sounds good in someone’s mind.

    You can read the blog I wrote at:

    • Have to say, I’m a little confused. You want us to tell little girls or boys, “Yeah, cancer isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s downright scary. Sorry, kiddo… but I can’t tell you you are beautiful because it’s just not true.”

  212. Astonishing! Clearly this person has not had to watch their little girl remove the wigs from her “LIV” dolls to play with them in the middle of her cancer treatment. Further more the comment about America being littered with cancer totems, well sounds like a very bad opinion from someone who has over stepped their boundaries of poorly expressing a very negative view. I am shocked that this comes from an organization who is presumed to be compassionate about helping the fight against cancer. I will make sure I look further into where and how contributions are being used.

  213. Dear ACS and Mr Andrew Becker. I am grateful that my family has not been directly touched by childhood cancer. Sadly we know of many families that are watching their children fight this terrible disease. After reading your article published under the ACS Logo, I would take serious pause before directly supporting the American Cancer Society until understanding their position on childhood cancer and funding for it’s research much more clearly. Mr Becker, perhaps you should spend some time with the folks from Alex’s Lemonade Stand and explain to them that the millions of dollars that they donate in the name of pediatric cancer is to benefit a population that is in your words is ‘exceedingly rare’. Your argument that “that cancer is rare among the age group of women likely to have daughters young enough to play with Barbies,” shows that you are misplaced the in the position that you have been given as a spokesman for American Cancer Society. I would suggest that you take the time to enter Jessica Joy Reese in the search engine of Facebook and take the time to get to know how one child has reached so many with her message of hope and courage in the face of her own childhood cancer. Maybe you should personally deliver some of her JOY JARS so that you can experience the spirit of NEGU! By the way Mr Becker if a “Bald Barbie” was to be produced by Mattel it will help to take the fear OUT of being bald (for what ever reason) it is a jumping off point for inclusion and de-sensitization of a symptom of some treatment/diseases that should not DEFINE ANY child. By making a Bald Barbie available it may reduce the fear and open the discussion for children that may fear loosing their hair if they had otherwise not had the opportunity to be exposed in a non-threatening way.

    Mr Becker…. ACS….. don’t slap a paragraph on top of the article that Mr Becker published to try to deflect this issue. In my mind this has exposed a REAL issue with the way that the ACS views pediatric cancer. It is a systemic problem that can not be brushed to the side. This needs to be addressed at the highest level of the ACS. There are good people everywhere and Mr Becker has given us all a window in to the attitude that is reflective in the inequitable distribution of money that is being allocated to pediatric cancer by the ACS. After writing this perhaps it is Mr Becker that should be thanked for exposing this issue.

    Mr Becker… I will follow this … and will NEGU until you and the ACS reverse this position not only in words but in ACTION!

  214. “Our shared goal,” you say? If we were sharing a goal, then more funds would be allocated to pediatric cancer. The only goal you have is protecting your own selfish interest and not wanting competition with your very own ACS store full of totems and pink things to litter the community. The doll that many were asking for had nothing at all to do with fundraising, as I think your fear was funds being taking away from your efforts as your first paragraph speaking of donating dollars gives this fear away immediately. . In looking at your history, you use school children year after year to raise funds and do the Relay For Life. They get so excited to help do good things. I bet these children have no clue how little they help themselves or their peers. While there is certainly nothing wrong with children and community working together for a cause, kids learning how to give of themselves for a good purpose; I’m thinking perhaps they (schools and children) should look at the facts, how the monies are spent, how high the salaries are in this particular nonprofit as compared to others. Perhaps they should be provided with the required public information nonprofits must report yearly so they can make better-informed choices in the future. Schools should continue to do yearly fundraisers, get excited about a cause, but should choose better causes…perhaps pick local families to help, and give funds to them directly, so that 100% of their efforts are used to help REAL people in a REAL way. Maybe they won’t even choose the “cancer” cause, but whatever they choose, they will know where the money is going and how it is spent.

  215. Wow, the ACS thinks this is a bad idea? Why because you don’t see where you will get your cut? I am becoming less and less impressed with ACS as the years go on and this position just tops it all. Why is it a bad thing for a little girl suffering from hairloss, for whatever reason, to feel just a little more normal? Girls are bombarded with depictions of the “ideal look” from many different sources too many times daily. I just don’t see how it is wrong for an iconic figure to show girls they are ideal. Your post, a FAIL.

  216. I know one individual who claims to have been struck by lightening. I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t been negatively impacted by cancer.

  217. What would making this Barbie accomplish? Acknowledgement to suffering children that they are important and cared for enough to be recognized on toy shelves. The adult translation: That their suffering isn’t unnoticed by healthy society. That they are “normal” enough to be represented by an action figure (G.I Joe) or beauty queen (Barbie.)

    Where would the money go? See the answer above. In other words, it’s not about money, although it certainly would be great if proceeds went to childhood cancer research.

    Would healthy children end up terrorized by the prospect of cancer? Give me a break. Are you terrorized by commercials about erectile dysfunction? You know what’s really terrorizing for kids? To be out in public and spot a bald little kid who is obviously going through a medical ailment and to be shocked, staring and disturbed by the sight of it because they’ve never been exposed to serious childhood disease. Bald Barbie/GI Joe is a conversation starter for healthy kids. That conversation leads to compassion and awareness about different struggles in our communities, outside the happy bubble they live in. Wait a minute: Isn’t that what you just claimed was the merit of you asking these provocative questions? To initiate discussion? Yet you don’t value the same merit of bald Barbie?

    I find your arguments far-fetched, heartless and corporate. And this is coming from a parent of two healthy children, so I’m probably much more objective than those who’ve had sick kids. I also do have an MBA, but I recognize that the heart of this issue is not about business. That’s a fact that seems to have been completely lost on you. I may not have been surprised if I’d read these comments in a business journal… But to read them on the ACS website is shocking and a travesty, in my opinion.

    Good luck with your inbox.

  218. As a medical researcher, I find this article absolutely APPALLING! Seriously, childhood cancer is a lot more common than what the ACS wants to admit. Just for a SMALL SAMPLING of how common childhood cancer really is, head over to and read today’s list of children. While you are there, go to some of the past days. The ACS is trying to cover its rear end with the comment that childhood cancer is extremely rare because it only puts about 1/2 of a CENT out of every DOLLAR raised into childhood cancer research. If childhood cancer was ‘extremely rare’ then St. Jude’s wouldn’t have the caseload it has right now. If you want to support childhood cancer research, forget the ACS and check into CURESEARCH or ST. BALDRICKS!

  219. Shame on you, American Cancer Society!!! Awareness is critical to find cures and detect early diagnosis, and childhood cancer is not rare — it takes the lives of many wonderful children each day!! I’m disappointed that a cancer foundation, of all things, would have published such a negative, critical blog about awareness, advocacy and childhood cancer. This just solidifies why I do NOT support ACS and instead donate my funds and time to more worthwhile charities that do focus on the difference they can make to childhood cancer!!! And, in terms of the Bald Barbie initiative, I think it would be a WONDERFUL way to make a difference, create understanding, raise funds and uplift those affected by cancer (no matter what age!)!!!

  220. Sir,

    What I find just as amazing as the lack of tact displayed in your original post, is that it took 23 hours for you to “sincerely apologize”.

    Last night’s attempt to stem the flood unleashed by your words was obviously transparent. I can assure you that the firestorm against ACS’s lack of true support for the children is not over.

  221. Jim Lipski says:

    “Indeed I wrote that each of these cases is tragic, and that the children and their families deserve both sympathy and support.”

    Your words are loud and have been heard but if you truly believe the children deserve support, than let ACS’s actions speak louder.

  222. One comment that Tomas made to me after we returned from the hospital just after DX was: “Dad, I wont be me if I lose my hair”. I would have purchased a Bald Barbie for his sister. Our family has focused on raising awareness and funds since Sept 07. Roughly we have raised over 60k to various organizations including ACS. This isn’t about fund raising, or awareness, this is giving a little ray of hope to a child that has had her childhood taken away from her. Below is a cut and past from Tomas’ CaringBridge site. Hopefully Mr. Becker and others at ACS will read it to get an idea of what these children and families are going through.

    Saturday, January 26, 2008 10:41 PM, CST

    Treatment Background

    Induction 35 Days

    To date Tomas has progressed through various stages of treatment. The first step in his journey was Induction; all patients receive this common therapy that lasts for 35 days. The end state for Induction is to destroy as many leukemic cells as possible and to establish a base line to initiate a protocol that offers the best chance of survival. Tomas made it through Induction without any major problems, he gained 15 pounds but from hindsight he was about 10 pounds under optimum weight when he was diagnosed. The most noticeable physical difference was that his metabolism was changed. He developed the “moon face” that is prevalent in cancer patients. His body also expanded in what looked like water weight, blotted yet firm from his stomach to his ankles. Other than these outward physical signs, the only way to know that he is in a fight for his life would be to ask him.

    His REMISSION date was set as 14 September, exactly one week after he began treatment. This date was established because from the spinal tap and bone marrow aspiration, no leukemic cells were identified.

    The Induction phase ended with a whisper, we are still overwhelmed with what has taken over our lives. People ask if he is cured to which we can only say he is in remission.

    Will the sun come up tomorrow? Yes, but we have no idea will it be a bright sunny day, windy, cloudy, or will we get hit by a hurricane?

    We don’t know for we are in remission.

    Consolidation 28 Days

    Consolidation was the next intersection for Tomas’ journey. The aim of consolidation therapy is to kill as many of the remaining cancer cells as possible. Two days after beginning this leg, we noticed that Tomas Broviac looked infected. We called the on duty doctor, emailed a picture and were admitted for 2 days in the hospital. We were told about trying to keep Tomas’ social life as normal as possible, yet with this one visit to the hospital reality mixed with fear was beginning to take over our lives. A minor infection all of a sudden had the same impact as a child swallowing a household chemical; could it kill him or will he just get sick? With our new “normal” every event in his life carries the same impact as an accidental poisoning.

    Can we get him to the hospital in time?

    Standard Interim Maintenance 56 Days

    The conclusion of the Consolidation phase offered a good look at how Tomas was reacting to the treatment protocol. The mood swings, weight gain followed by weight lose while troubling to an adult really gave a clear indication that he was responding to treatment positively. Interim Maintenance involved some additional drug combinations and also started to show an accumulative effect of the past 63 days worth of drugs that he had been on. What was initially seen as a possible break turned out to be 3 trips to the emergency room and two overnight visits to the hospital. During the later part of this phase Tomas pretty much was neutropenic meaning that his ability to fight infections was crippled. As the cold and flu season started to come into full swing, various family members had to stay in isolation in their bedroom’s until they became well. At this point in treatment every cough that you heard brought nightmares of death. Life took a completely different direction we are torn between limiting social contact with others which in the long run could manifest itself with have social development problems when he is older.

    How do you achieve the right mix of social activity without crossing over the line?

    Other social effects of this curse, you need to keep Tomas’ stress level down as much as possible. The various chemo that he is on makes this extremely difficult. Many times we have to resort to bribery; a trip to McDonalds, extra toys here and there.

    Seeing the eyes of our other children when this is going on really shreds your heart to pieces. You know that you are doing something that is against common sense, in effect you are spoiling the child yet……there is the lingering monster that surfaces almost on a daily basis that whispers in your ear..

    He may not be alive next year.

    The impact of all of this on the family is difficult to say the least. One note from Interim Maintenance is that a milestone has been established. If everything goes as planned, Tomas should be off treatment on 12 November 2010.

    Delayed Intensification 56 Days

    “And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto Heaven? Thou shalt go down to Hades.”

    And Hades is where we find ourselves right now. The first two weeks of this phase saw Tomas ANC levels climb to 3300 which is good because they were at 0048 right before Christmas. This phase of treatment is exactly as titled; Intense. Tomas is getting bombarded with various forms of lethal chemotherapy drugs that destroy many other cells in addition to the leukemia cells. Even though no leukemic cells have been discovered since 12 September, there is still a high probability that there may be some in his body.

    The possible long term effects of treatment are also constantly on our minds. These possible effects are:

    Learning Disabilities, Growth Problems, Fertility Problems, Thyroid Abnormalities, Cardiovascular Disorders, Dental Abnormalities, Osteoporosis, Scoliosis, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Lung Complications, and Immunologic Complications

    When is the chemo too much or not enough? With current technology, this answer is impossible to know. We do expect his immune system to bottom out a few times as we continue the intensification phase of treatment.

    Right now if we look at this from an analogy of a hurricane; the first three phases of treatment was the hurricane coming towards us. The wind and waves increased in intensity, when we began the intensification phase, the wall of the hurricane hit us. This week as the hurricane passes over us, chemo as been stopped for seven days as per routine, next Friday Tomas will receive a chemo combination/spinal tap combination that will take all day to inject; this is when the next wall of the hurricane will pass over us. As we look at the damage that the first wall has caused, it is emotionally devastating as a parent to see. On Thursday his hair started to fall out in patches, now it has picked up momentum. The mood swings have become numerous and more intense.
    The hair loss is hard to accept, until last Thursday he had a full head of thick red hair. In the back of our minds we were wondering if the chemo was having an effect. Hair is usually the first outward physical manifestation that shows that the rapid reproducing cells are getting the chemo. Hair follicles and leukemic cells rapidly reproduce. Now that 70 percent of his hair has fallen out, we are reminded of the battle for his life that he is going through.

  223. This article is the final straw for me for the ACS. How’s this for “rare?” First of all, childhood cancer is the number one disease that results in the deaths of children. Every day 46 sets of parents are told that their child has cancer and will have to fight to survive. Every day 7 sets of parents lose their child from this horrible beast. Instead of bathing them every night, they are left to bathe their child one last time. Instead of reading them bed time stories, they are left to pray and cry and ask God why? They are unable to hug and kiss their child goodnight because their child is in a casket in the ground or in an urn. Instead of dreaming about their future and what they are going to be when they grow up, their parents are left with memories and no future. Children are our future. They are sweet little beings who deserve the chance to live. What about the parents I know who has three children and two of them have different types of cancer. Or the parents I know that have two children and both of them have unrelated types of cancer. Try telling them that childhood cancer is “rare.” Any loss of a child’s life is unacceptable. Cancer is not “rare.” I guess that’s how you justify why the ACS only spends 1% of its entire budget to Childhood cancer and spends the majority of its budget in administrative costs. You guys are just as bad as Susan G. Komen’s foundation. One little boys family helped raise over $20,000 for the ACS last year. Because the ACS only gives 1% to childhood cancer, only $200 went to childhood cancer. They lost their little boy to rhabdomyosarcoma in 2011. Because of this article, they have now vowed that they will never again participate in any event benefitting the ACS nor will they fundraise or send any money to the ACS. The ACS has lost my respect and now I will be supporting more worthy foundations such as Curesearch, St. Jude Research Hospital, The Ethan Jostad Foundation, Battle4aCure, and St. Baldricks.

  224. Sadly Andrew, your original words speak loud an clear, as do the actions (or lack thereof) of the American Cancer Society. The half-hearted apology and gut wrenching opinion in your initial release will not be brushed aside or forgotten easily. And for you to call Childhood Cancer “rare” in an insult to everyone fighting against the disease. You’re from NY, you have ample opportunity to visit hosiptals on the East Coast such as Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, Childrens Hospital of Boston, and many others and see just how “rare” Childhood Cancer is. How can you even comment on such a topic when you have so many of the facts incorrect?

  225. Mr. Becker, I appreciate your apology. My daughter (Alecia) died from Burkitt’s/Non-Hodkins Lymphoma after being given a 95% cure rate and fighting for her life for nine months. You can not imagine the horror of having your child diagnosed with cancer, going through such horrendous treatments that are as bad as the disease itself, and dying in your arm. My heart is forever broken, my life forever changed, and I still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- as do a lot of cancer parents.
    Alecia died in 2004. Up until last year I actively participated in the Relay for Life as a way to honor and remember her….and to remind people that kids get cancer too. I always felt like an outsider when I participated though. Noone wants to know or talk about the fact that – childhood cancer is NOT rare. Kids get cancer too. AND they DIE!
    It was hard enough to participate at all, but then along came your disheartening “More Birthdays” campaign and I learned of your ridiculous lack of support for childhood cancer. And that was it. I did not participate last year and I will not participate again.
    Your words were hurtful and aggravating-to say the least. I truly don’t care if you support Bald Barbie or not. But, in order for me to be able to truly accept your apology and regain any sort of faith in the A(EK)CS* I need to see this organization step up on behalf of the children– both with awareness and funding. September (as you may or may not know) is childhood cancer awareness month. At the VERY least, let’s see GOLD, CHILDREN, and FUNDRAISING from the ACS in September.
    You and your organization should be ashamed by your lack of support for the children. I hope if nothing else comes from this-you now feel and understand that FACT.


    *AC(Except Kids)S

  226. Dear American Cancer Society,

    for your convenience we have compiled some additional responses to your article “Bald Barbie Demand is an Over-Reach”. These responses were posted on the People Against Childhood Cancer (PAC2) website ( or Facebook page by PAC2 members. PAC2 is a grassroots advocacy group that does not raise funds but seeks to raise awareness of childhood cancer and unite the childhood cancer community to speak as one voice against childhood cancer.

    While you raise many controversial points in your article, we do take exception to your statement “Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare.”

    We could debate statistics (e.g., at the September 2010 Pediatric Cancer Caucus, Dr. Eugenie Kleinerman, the Head, Division of Pediatrics, Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson Cancer Center was quoted as saying: “Curing childhood cancer is the equivalent of curing breast cancer in terms of productive life years saved” or the fact that about 1 in 300 kids will be diagnosed with cancer before age 20 or the fact that the incidence of childhood cancer has increased 29% over the last 20 years or the fact that a diagnosis of childhood cancer is a life-long affliction where 2/3 of five-year survivors face long-term health issues for the ‘cure’ or the fact that 1 in 5 of our five-year survivors will die from disease-related causes before 30-years [does a 35-year old dying of childhood cancer sound cured?])….but that would not address the fundamental issue.

    America is simply not putting its best foot forward in saving our children from the leading cause of death by disease.

    In any other human endeavor our society strives to first protect the young, the innocent, the vulnerable: our children. Yet children battling childhood cancer are virtually ignored. Large, national childhood cancer organizations do not focus efforts on children’s cancers (e.g., ACS directs approximately 1% of its funding to childhood cancer research). The pharmaceutical industry also views childhood cancers as “rare” and conducts very little research into better treatments because there is no profit motive (please see and the Creating Hope Act for innovative legislation to incentivize pharma to research childhood cancer treatments). The NIH/NCI devote less than 4% of their budget to childhood cancer research.

    In our opinion statements such as yours trivialize childhood cancer. This occurs at a time when the childhood cancer community is uniting and rising up to demand change. So, while it may not have been your intention, thank you for galvanizing the efforts of so many to speak united as one voice against childhood cancer. We call on the American Cancer Society to do better.

    In 1852 the British frigate H.M.S. Birkenhead sailed from Ireland with 638 people on board, including 20 women and children. It struck a rock and began to sink. The crew was unable to launch lifeboats to save all passengers and crew. If the entire crew tried to board the few working lifeboats, they would be swamped and all would be lost. Lieutenant-Colonel Seton commanded his crew to stand fast, for should they make for the boats, they would endanger the lives of the women and children. The Birkenhead broke up rapidly. In the tragedy 445 people lost their lives. All the women and children survived. The Birkenhead has secured a place in history due to the gallantry of her men, who, in the face of great danger, allowed the women and children to escape in the boats before trying to save themselves. Thus “The Birkenhead Drill” was born: Women and children first! And we know 13,500 moms of children that will be diagnosed with childhood cancer this year that would say to a child: “Take my place”.

    Can’t we all be as gallant as Lieutenant-Colonel Seton and his men?

    Please ACS — share with your audience the true facts about childhood cancer.


    PAC2 Member Comments:

    – That is approximately 1 child in every classroom.. Where do they find these people??

    – My child was that 1 in 300! Childhood cancer is not rare in my world.

    – My daughter has had two different cancers in four years. . .she is 9 now. First dx was at age 5, and second dx was at age 8. Rare. . .I think not.

    – how can ACS call 1 in 300 rare??? And yet when it is your daughter calling it rare is an insult

    – My daughter lost her hair twice.. From the first time in treatment foe AML and the second time in treatment due relapse. She wasn’t hung up over the hair loss. As a matter of fact we observed that it wasn’t other children who had a traumatic reaction to her baldness.. The kids they were curious never judgmental. But it was the adults my daughter encountered that were the most impacted. Some would panic and flee.. But most profound were the survivors themselves.. It was in their eyes.. A bonding and a sense of mutual respect.. A badge of courage.

    – I lost respect for ACS and the whole pink push a long time ago.

    – We parents are finally looking beyond our own grief and/or exhaustion to at least try something and therefore we are a lynch mob. The Adult Cancer Society disclaimer is what put me over the edge and here was my response: Sorry IF, sorry IF? So not only are we Cancer Parents littering society with our totems, a lynch mob and bullies but now we’re imagining offense? No deal Adult Cancer Society, no deal. An apology reads “We are sorry for” not “if”.”

    – This is why I only support the organizations that really support our children..
    I know because they helped my daughter, National Children’s Cancer Society, CureSearch. Make a wish, St Jude they are on my list because they have done more than anyone for pediatric cancer.

    – Wow! Just read the article…..I wish to remain silent, as the words that want to spill out of my mouth I would regret. I was told if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. Well, I have nothing nice to say to ACS. Except…How would a child be terrorized?? The doll would be purchased for a young girl dealing with being bald…so in other words are you stating that a BALD child with cancer is terrorizing to look at???? Makes no sense to me.SHAME ON YOU ACS!!!!!

    ‎- “Childhood Cancer is exceedingly rare” says the ACS. Who are you trying to kid????:((((

    – They don’t seem to have a hard time finding children battling cancer to use for their newsletters, and advertising for relay for life.

    – This post shows how out of touch the Cancer Society is. How sad!

    – That is awful. Would the ACS like to come to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago where my son is being treated for leukemia and see him and all the other children battling pediatric cancer?!? Then maybe they can see how “rare” it is. Shame on you, ACS.

    – It’s not rare to my family – 1 out of my 2 children were diagnosed with cancer. Not rare at all… nor is it for all the families we see at the hospital fighting the deadly disease. Boils my blood!

    – Uggggh! SO maddening! I don’t even know where to start. The one thing I do know is that ACS doesn’t represent us. Society? I don’t think so! And as the chief of pediatric oncology at MD Anderson (i think that’s who said this) pointed out, if we add up productive life years
    saved, childhood cancer equals that of breast cancer. It’s up to us — the families and communities affected to push this.

    – omg…this is terrible….I just lost my baby grandaughter to Neuroblastoma…She was 3….diagnosed at 17 months….I can not believe ACS could even say this……

    – You know whats irritaiting “kids need a bald barbie like a breast cancer patient needs a pink kitchen aid mixer” I agree to the extent that I do not want to see millions of gold products with nearly nothing going to childhood cancer research. That being said, this statement is comparing apples to oranges, kids DO need things that bring them hope! Kids do need toys like them, it harbors self worth, and makes them feel good. Donate money to research instead, well…people have to know kids get cancer in the first place for that to happen, but the good ol people over at ACS seem hell bent on making sure no one knows that! I never likes the ACS..for a variety of reasons, here is one more.

    – Consumer bullying? If we as parents are so powerful we would bully pharmaceutical companies to focus on better, targeted, less toxic treatments for our kids.

    – ‎10 children every day in the UK are diagnosed with cancer, ACS, nothing rare about that……..PLEASE stop using that word “rare” as it undoes so much of the work that individuals and organizations are attempting to do. We/they are attempting to inform our people that it is
    NOT rare and also what the symptoms are of this devastating disease. This illness took my nephew at six years of age so tell me it does not happen often………..less children than adults YES but rare NO!!!!

    – Thank you, American Cancer Society, for effectively telling the world that our kids aren’t important. – “rare”

    – “Sadly, some 1340 children under age 14 are projected to die from cancer this year”
    ummm…seems like a lot of kids to me!!! My son died last year of Neuroblastoma –

    – I wonder how rare the 46 families who were just told their child has cancer today feel it is? I wonder how rare the 7 families who just watched their sweet angel slip into heaven today feel it is? I wonder how rare the 1 in 330 who will develop cancer before the age of 20 think it is? I can tell you that rare is the LAST word I would use!!!!!

    – The only thing more ‘rare’ than childhood cancer is common sense at the ACS. This is infuriating.

    – My daughter must be super rare because she had 2 cancers in 2 years. She was diagnosed with a Germ Cell Brain Tumor in 2008 and was treated with Chemo and Radiation and in Nov 2009 was diagnosed with treatment related AML and had to get a bone marrow transplant in 2010. She is now recovering from a stroke which is thought to be treatment related as well. The ACS is focused on adults because they are the ones donating to them not our kids. Why does the Children’s Mercy Hospital need to add rooms to already crowded oncology floor if this is so rare?

    – I can name 5 children with in 10 miles of my house that lost their lives in the past 6 months to neuroblastoma…& these are only children I knew…I can only imagine how many others have passed in the Boston area alone…It is NOT rare….

    – I am absolutely sickened by this article. As a volunteer with the ACS and a two time cancer survivor, I WHOLLY believe there needs to be more funding from the ACS to childhood cancer awareness and research. I am working on implementing a program for the ACS, specifically for CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS AND RESEARCH. I have been affected by cancer, twice, neither of them being breast cancer. We are in a new millenium since ACS started and ACS needs to step up. This article is completely RIDICULOUS and you, ASBECKER, should be completely ashamed of yourself, for your thoughtless comments about the “stats” of childhood cancer. Really? 1 child is too many!!! WE, ASBECKER, need to be the
    voice for these children, the advocates, the investigators and the supporters. I am so completely flabbergasted at why you would even write this article, let alone POST it!!!! YOU, ASBECKER, DO NOT represent those of us that are on the front lines of ACS, fighting cancer, raising money for awareness and research and volunteering for the programs that ACS offers to cancer patients and their families. I guarantee that you, ASBECKER, have never stayed up all night, at a Relay For Life event, holding the hand of a caregiver that recently lost a family member, cheering that cancer survivor on, as they walk the track, using a walker or cane, watching the youth of our communities help fight back against cancer with their fundraising efforts. Whether Mattel makes a bald barbie or not, should not be ANY or YOUR concern, what should be YOUR concern as a “national media relations” for the ACS, is what can the ACS do to change the amount of money that NEEDS to be going to CHILDHOOD CANCER RESEARCH!! I, as a volunteer with ACS am going to continue my efforts in finding a cure for cancer, ALL CANCERS!!! I will also be watching to see if ACS, nationally and worldwide, will step up and endorse the BACC PACC (Bringing Awareness to Childhood Cancer by Pedaling Against Childhood Cancer) event. This is a brand new event, that the ACS office in Phoenix, AZ, is proud to be a part of. I am truly concerned as an ACS volunteer and as a cancer survivor, about your position within the ACS, ASBECKER. I am the FACE of the ACS, you are
    NOT!!! I freely give my time and efforts to something I believe in, would you, ASBECKER?

    – When my 4 year old daughter’s hair fell out, she took scissors into her room and started cutting away on several of her Barbie’s hair. She slept with her “bald” barbies every night until her hair started coming back in. I don’t know how many times that she was mistaking for a boy
    (even when wearing pink) or had other kids commenting about her hairloss. The bald barbies helped her self-esteem. It was important to her. Before writing a idiotic article, especially coming from the ACS, put yourself in these kids shoes and walk a mile.

    – Wow we have done the relay for 5 years and I am not so sure we will be a part of it I have done this for my daughter who was 4 months old when diagnosed with AML!!! Wow I am sickened by the thought that they would say its rare BS!!!!!! Its just UN-AWARE you dumbasses!!!! Maybe if we had more awareness you stupid itiots wouldnt think its so rare!!!!share the breast cancer awareness with our kids!!!!!!!ughhhhhhh!!!!!

    – what??!??

    – Consumer bullying my butt! We sit thru how many commercials and displays that are thrown upon our kids to ask for Mattel toys! That’s not bullying???? Loved the part about how the Bald Barbie could cause more harm than good! Seriously???? Our problem as Americans is we put to much faith in corporations and “societys” to have our best interest at heart. Shame on you ACS! How much money did Mattel donate to your organization? and how did you donate to childhood cancer research???????

    – If childhood cancer is so rare, I wonder why St. Jude has so many commercials on TV? I wonder what St. Jude spends the $600million+ in donations it gets each year. There must be a lot of silly people out there supporting them. Why did Toys R Us support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, because they were thirsty? I don’t understand why anyone would shave there head for St. Baldricks either then? If it is so rare, why does US News & World Report spend the time to rate the hospitals that treat our kids? Rare or not, it does take the suffering and pain away from the children and families fighting it. Making comments like that just undermine efforts to cure it.

    – This is my issue on the Barbie thing. If someone thinks it’s dumb or a waste of time, then DON’T support it. Let others waste their own time on their own causes. Why belittle and degrade it? Why the attack this movement seems to be getting? I’ve never seen anything like it. BUT – when it comes to a group like ACS, HOW DARE they have an opinion on this AT ALL?!!!!!! ACS won’t support anything that could take away $ for THEM. And it’s no secret they could care less about pediatric “rare” cancers… YET they plastered my son’s bald headed picture all over the media and publicity the year we walked while he was in treatment. DISGUSTING how they USED him to get more sympathy and $$ yet couldn’t care less about actually finding a cure for his cancer. ACS disgusts me. Add this to their already huge pile of crap!

    – This writer is the Director of Media Relations for ACS and epitomizes their entire organization. What an ass! I suggest we each write him a note telling him how “exceedingly rare” feels.

    – I believe this blog post is a smoke screen for the real agenda… Fund raising revenue competition…According to charity navigator, American Cancer Society (2010 data) is in negative growth, -2.4%… AND childhood cancer charities are growing: St. Jude CRH, which takes in amounts comparable to ACS,- 5.0% revenue growth; St. Baldrick’s Foundation 20.4% growth; ALSF 7.4% growth; CureSearch 9.2% growth; … The Bald and Beautiful Barbie (and GI Joe) campaign is increasing awareness which could increase donations to childhood cancer charities…. Plus it is clear to all advocates for Childhood cancer charities that ACS offers no services for children or teens during treatment; limited “information resources” and pitiful levels of research dollars…. Their donation appeals always feature children…. Kids are their “pity Factor” and the jig is up if more CC advocates get the public’s attention…..

    – Rare?? Our 1 year old son lost his battle with brain cancer on 2-16-11. If they could ask our son if he thought it was rare bet he as the one going through cancer wouldn’t say it was rare and neither would we.

    – I want to Like your comment, because childhood cancer being called “rare” pisses me off too, but I can’t like your post because of your precious son leaving too soon :(

    – ACS, I ‘unlike’ you.

    – They are more than welcome to visit my 4 year old daughter who was diagonsed with ALL leukemia and the other children who have cancer at cook childrens hopsital. Childhood cancer needs to be addressed!!!! When I take my child to clinic for her chemo, I don’t see
    it as rare!!

    – My daughter passed away on 5-27-11 of neuroblastoma! I would give anything to have her here with me again and hate to think that some people just brush off childhood cancer as “rare”…It is not rare. When a hospital floor is filled wtih patients day in and day out that is
    not rare! I feel like my family is working ourselves to raise funds for childhood cancer awareness and am so glad that we are providing it to curesearch instead of the ACS!

    – My daughter is a 3 1/2 year survivor of ALL…diagnosed 1 month shy of her 16th bday. As a senior in high school donations for that years Relay of Life were a tad sluggish to begin with. Unaware of my daughter’s experience, the mom of the ACS liason to the high school stated,
    “We would see more donations this year is there were another diagnosis in the high school.” My daughter was stunned. I lost all respect for this organization. Obviously my opinion was well founded…shame, shame on them!

    – There is a wonderful organization that has created Chemo Duck to help children who are going through cancer treatment. The duck has a bandana on his head and a removable central line. My daughter who was three when she was fighting cancer loved that duck, still does today. While it gave her great comfort at a time she needed something to relate to in the way a three year old can, a bald Barbie would have lit up her little world. She loved playing with Barbies and for a little girl with no hair there would be no better toy than a bald Barbie. There are so many options for Mattel here that could be a win win for them and the children. They don’t have to produce millions of bald Barbies. Maybe just sell them online or donate them to peds oncology depts and on request for children whose moms have lost their hair. The positive pulicity would be more than advertising money could buy. And no where did I see the figures that 30,000 to 40,000 children are in treatment every year for cancer. Many seems to look at only the new cases each year and fail to realize that children relapse and can spend many years fighting cancer, it does just end because the calendar year did.

    – Don’t tell me that Childhood cancer is rare! I survived from a rare cancer when I was 4 years old. That was 40 years ago. I can’t believe that you can say that Childhood cancer is rare or even think of comparing it to the odds of Breast cancer. Take your blinders off! Children
    by the dozens are being diagnosed with cancer every day. They are being diagnosed with all forms and you have the nerve to compare it to only only one type of cancer! How ignorant can you be? I have been going to Relay for Life for almost 10 years. I may not this year unless you apologist to everyone and rebute.

    – I really hope the ACS looks at this post and sees all of the families that have lost a child, watch a child struggle thru chemo or a loved one see the pain in a child’s eye wondering why they are sick and not “normal” like other kids…I might just have to print it out and send
    it to them.

    – It could very well be a publicity stunt.. That would make it even more shameful.

    – it was a horrible article and should be completely pulled. So very incorrect in facts. And so very rude to anyone who has been impacted by childhood cancer — maybe i should have my 5 year survivor who is 5th grade write a book report on it and tell these insensitive goons waht
    she thinks

    – What a mean spirited article. Very rare? Puh-lease. What incredible gall!

    – Maybe they should come to our small town where two elementary school children died of cancer last school year.

    – People need to boycott Relay for Life as they give nothing to childhood cancer research.

    – PAC2, I’m as appalled by this article as everyone else, though not as surprised as most seem to be. I am, however, SHOCKED that the ACS is a “partner” in the group “Alliance for Childhood Cancer”. Our family has been to Reach the Day in D.C. with CureSearch in the past. I felt like we were being heard and making a difference. But I’m beyond disgusted that we’re being asked to come to the “Childhood Cancer Action Day” that is being held in partnership with an organization that would write THIS article!

    – Idiots!

    – Proud mom of montana… Leukemia survivor

    – Rare my A$$ my 4 yr old son has brain cancer. Medulloblastoma. Dx at age 3 1/2. This is a very aggressive form of cancer and only thing that really kills it is radiation! My son is the third brain cancer person on his fathers side of the family. So being told childhood cancer is rare… My you know what!!!! Shame on Andrew Becker!

    – My daughter is one of the “rare” kids to get cancer as well. We are fortunate that she is 5 years off treatment and doing great. She is half bald as a result of the radiation treatment for medulloblastoma. The condescending attitude of this “author” bothered me

    – he compared cancer risk to risk of a lightning strike!

  227. 2trakmind says:

    Thank you for your integrity, Mr, Becker! I would still encourage the ACS to commit more money toward childhood cancer research. Childhood cancer is not the same as adult cancer and needs to be looked at through different glasses. “The official sponsor of birthdays” needs to be for everyone, not just adults.

  228. Mr. Becker,
    You compared cancer parents to a lynch mob. You have no idea the fire you lit under this lynch mob. Your statements were hurtful and repulsive and no amount of back stepping or apologizing will change what you said. All we want is funding for research to save our children so that they can grow up and have normal lives, if that makes us a lynch mob then so be it.

  229. ACS you pulled the articel….I appreciate that. Now show that you have really learned all the facts and are changed by that new understanding and at a national level put ACS project together for childhood cancer – a project that raises awareness, educates amd brings actual real services to families impacted by childhood cancer

  230. terrybeck says:

    Mr. Becker your apology is appreciated.
    I’m assuming you were pretty shocked by the response you received here. I think ACS really needs to look at why your article got so many parents of children with cancer so fired up. You have to know that it was not about Bald Barbie.
    I hope the national media relations team can influence ACS to analyze why many in the pediatric cancer community have such a low opinion of ACS. You and your article did not create that. You and your article just gave these parents a forum to express it.
    It’s not just about money, although that is a part of it. It is also about recognition and support. As Jan mentioned, a little publicity for September, and gold ribbons would go a long way.
    My son, Andy Beck (nice name eh.. ;0) ) was diagnosed in 1999 and passed away in 2005. Even 12 years ago, we were told ‘Don’t bother with ACS, they don’t have anything for kids’. I’m sure families are still told that today. Maybe ACS can look at this little brouhaha and analyze why their relationship with this community is so bad.

    Another alternative is to accept that ACS is not for or about children. That’s perfectly acceptable, not every cancer organization has to be for the children and there are many that are exclusively about children. If the organization decides to go that route, then they probably should refrain from starting debates about things related to raising awareness about childhood cancer.

  231. Mr. Becker,

    Please put your original blog back up, our goals are the same we are just on different trails. Our trail, thankfully you have never been on and I pray that you never have to follow it.

    Tell us what you have learned

    Granted, you wont be able to change the ACS’ funding outlays which is understandable; It is difficult to change a large ship’s course once it is going full speed. It is the indifference that tears us apart.

  232. Unfortunately this apology is too little too late. The damage has already been done. So many people have been offended or hurt by your words and you have shown the world how ignorant you are. The article may have been removed from this site, but it is being passed all around the internet so it will never go away. I hope you are promptly fired.

  233. ldgropp says:

    Give me a break! ACS doesn’t and has never done crap to support or help children! Your pathetic attempt at an apology is obviously nothing more than a pre-written, damage control statement! We know full well what your intention was! It was way past obvious! I will never support an organization that does nothing for children! That gives away donor funds to other non-cancer related causes, that astronomically over pays themselves even though they claim to be non-profit! You cannot repair something that isn’t there to repair! If you’re SO out to help, then maybe you need to focus on getting funding above its current ratio for childhood cancers by the ACS and it donated strictly to CURE research only, not stupid studies telling families kids have depression, etc! Make them provide more than the measely little one percent that’s wasted! Try focusing on making them stop abusing and exploiting our kids photos to fraudulently get donations from people! You lack any kind of intelligence in your ignorant choice of words and your “apology” is beyond lame!

    Why delete the previous blog? Too afraid to continue allowing readers to see your stupidity? Obviously you have plenty of shameful behavior to hide, otherwise you would not have deleted it! Let the world see what a pompous ass you truly are!

    I sincerely hope your children never fall to this “rare” disease that kills so many children! Has killed so many of my son’s friends! Is killing more of them today! But if your child should, I feel sorry for that child! I’d hate to get sick with a father as callous and ignorant as you!

  234. Lois Seymour says:

    In this great country of ours, we have the right and priviledge to express our opinions and freedom of choice. Such has been done . ABecker, you have stated your opininon (and since have deleted it and replaced it with an update, but did NOT changed the date) , and by doing so you have allowed me to make a choice. Not one more penny will go from my pockets to the coffers of the American Cancer Society. I will choose where my money will go and it will be where more that 1% spent on research for the “RARE” childhood cancers.
    To the Mattel Corp., you have already made one Bald Barbie Princess and allowed that story to go public, so you already have the proto-type. Produce two, three, four thousand more Bald Barbie Princesses and when they sell, (which they will) produce more. Put the money wherever you want, but give the consumer a CHOICE. If a child wants a bald princess to fill her good playing hours, so be it. If a child wants a doll with flowing hair, so be it. There could be a CHOICE.
    The children affected with the (RARE) diseases that require the harsh treatments to battle their diseases do not have a choice. The parents have to make heartbreaking decisions on their child’s behalf everyday. When an adult is diagnosed with a disease, they have the freedom to make their decisions for their care and treatments. Please let our precious babies at least make the CHOICE of what might bring them some joy and happiness during their treatments and recovery.
    In the mean time……I will be vigilent in NOT SUPPORTING the AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY again, even though I too have lost loved ones to cancers. I can not in good conscience support an organization that so blantantly disregards the families of the number one killer of children in this country.

    • enzimmerman says:

      Childhood cancer rare???? I think not. I can count ten cases of childhood cancer in my area along in the past three to four years. Two of them have passed away already. Go visit any oncology floor of any children’s hospital. Be on a call list for your child to come in for chemotherapy becasue there are no available beds. Even survivorship for childhood cancer comes at a cost. We need a cure and we need better treatment. Awareness is the number one source of raising money for our families and research.
      Comment about ACS and Relay which I worked for for about seven years. and even started a new event for Relay in my county with my family. So much money raised is going to the executives salaries and yet the volunteers are the ones doing all the work. Think about it.

    • kwanner2000 says:

      Completely agree Lois…..AMEN!

  235. Nicole Nixon says:

    It is true. I am not a child but I had Ewing’s sarcoma which gets lumped into childhood cancer (because most of the people affected are children). ACS hasn’t done anything for me, and when I was first diagnosed I asked for any kind of help that was availiable. They were unable to give me assistance or pamplets on my disease. This is especially frustrating when people in the cancer center told me that the ACS was their best resource. When I talked to ACS they told me I didn’t have a popular form of cancer and most people donate because of lung cancer, breast cancer, etc. When I went on their survivor site sarcoma wasn’t even supported as a diagnosis.

    So, unless you have breast cancer (and like they don’t have enough fondations to support them) you get nothing from ACS. And sarcoma (the second form of cancer in children) hasn’t had a breakthrough since the 70’s. And I was a participant in relay for life, my mom donated to ACS every year through united way (her company matching her donation). But, not this year….. we changed to SFA…. and I hope that ACS gets a clue that cancer affects more than the blood, breast, or lungs…..

  236. Please give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ( – NOT ACS. St. Jude actually cares about finding cures and a better quality of life for our children that are stricken with cancer. It’s all for the kids there unlike the basically non-existent funds that the American Cancer Society pathetically contributes toward pediatric cancer…

  237. Gary Gravina says:

    Official Sponsor Of Birthdays?? I take it you mean other than the first 18…

    Ironic that your own display of ignorance should actually come in the form of casting aspersions on raising awareness. And ‘ignorance’ is being unnecessarily kind – Your condescension breeched the threshold of contempt.

    A good friend was just telling us about ACS’s disregard for and hypocritical use of children with cancer in fundraising, and now you’ve gone and outed yourselves, putting your mouth where your money is(n’t). We have a 7-year-old boy, my step-son-to-be, fighting Gliomatosis Cerebri with some of the best doctors in the world, whose hands are tied by the mere fact that treatments for children are not being developed. Perhaps you were not aware of that; as many who donate to the Society thinking they’re helping the bald children in the commercials and ads are not aware.

    So your retraction and apology are noted, but the real offense here is not a rhetorical one: It is institutional. If you would continue your work on behalf of adults with cancer, then great (My amazing sister beat one of your approved varieties at an ACS-appropriate age through strong, advanced treatments and an even stronger and more advanced spirit). But keep your hands and cameras off our kids and the resources – whether they be pharmaceutical, monetary, or spiritual – we need to get them through the vicious hand they’ve been dealt.

  238. Lindy Apple says:

    Im not sure that an apology is enough for the pain and anger felt because of this article.
    I myself am still furious and angered with ACS.
    ANYTHING that makes people more aware about childhood cancer must be helpful, do you know the signs andrew?
    46/7 is real, shame on you for your blog. childhood cancer clearly isnt very high on the ACS priority list. is 1% enough? the answer is no!

  239. I personally believe the only way to possibly fix what you have done Mr. Becker is to resign. You deserve to be fired, do the right thing and resign yourself. You may have deleted the media post that you wrote but you can not erase your words. (For one I have a copy of it in case any media asks me about it)

    Read my complete response here.

  240. I’d like to add my comment this this thread, which I originally posted on the site which fortunately saved your original article for those of us who didn’t get a chance to read it on here before you took it down.

    To start, I think Andrew Becker is a lousy PR person considering the damaging press he has brought to the very organization that signs his paycheck.

    Becker completely misses the point of why so-called “consumer bullies” want Mattel to bring this product to the shelves. It is, as he quotes the group pushing for the doll to be made, yet still seems to miss the point on, to help young girls cope with the unimaginable fear that they undoubtedly experience when diagnosed with cancer, or when a friend, sibling, parent or other loved one is battling the disease.

    Becker rambles on about the ineffectiveness and potential harm of ‘raising awareness’. Bringing a bald Barbie to the shelves is not solely about raising awareness. It is, as mentioned above, about giving young girls (or boys), a childhood toy that is realistic and a source of comfort by making their terrifying experience feel a little more ‘normal’ and a little less scary.

    Becker might want to think twice about the statistics he uses the next time he tries to emphasize how low one’s chances are of actually being diagnosed with cancer. Is 1 in 50 under the age of 40 supposed to be comforting? I, personally, know more than a handful of children and young adults who are currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Don’t claim that a 1 in 50 chance is a pretty good forecast. It is not.

    If Mattel is as compassionate and smart a company that Becker makes them out to be, then they would be wise to listen to what their so called “consumer bullies” are asking for. After all, isn’t that the beauty of social media? Smart companies listen to what their consumers want and find a solution that satisfies both the company and the consumer. Why not create a limited edition ‘Beautiful Bald Barbie’ to be sold during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September?

    If Mattel doesn’t step up, then hopefully another children’s doll manufacturer will (I have no idea if American Girl makes a beautiful bald doll, but if not, could be an opportunity for them).

    Before I wrap up, I had the opportunity to work for an event with the goal of raising money to fight children’s cancer. The Great Canadian Run and Great Canadian Chill event series’ are two up & coming events heading into their second year that share the goal of all of the parents, friends and family of children with cancer – to put an end to this horrible disease. I no longer work for this organization but believe in and support their efforts and want to help bring awareness to these events and their cause.

  241. kwanner2000 says:

    To the author of the original post and of the current one…..I have to say that I don’t think your “apology” is really sincere. If you didnt feel the way the post came off…it wouldn’t have come off the way it did. The one thing I WILL thank you for, is the fact that your awful post did raise awareness about childhood cancer, albeit in a negative way. It gave those of us who have been trying to get the word out about this a VERY good venue to flat out point to the fact that the ACS is flat out IGNORING these kids. Very little of the monies donated go to pediatric cancer research….and that is a total travesty.

    If you REALLY care…start following some of these kids on facebook. Reach out and allow their families to become part of your day…..THEN you will see why I think your so called “apology” is nothing but an effort to stem the flow of anger it caused. IF you care…then start helping those of us who DO care, by demanding that Childhood Cancer get more press, demand that the ACS stops denying the issue….lobby for more funding, and more recognition as a REAL problem. If you do that….MAYBE your “apology” will hold some weight. But until then….I would like to request that you keep your scathing comments about issues such as this to yourself. Purely because you are touching lives already hurting….people who are grieving….and those who are in a desperate fight for their lives.

    • kwanner2000 says:

      Just an FYI–I sent a request to the ACS to do some public service announcements regarding September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. To further illustrate that these kids are being ignored….MY POST WAS REMOVED and I received NO response to my request. Granted, it was attached to a breast cancer rally that was being advertized, but regardless….NOW tell me that there isnt cause for concern? Not only does the ACS choose to ignore this issue….they sensor those who won’t stay silent!

  242. The sole reason that Mr. Becker retracted his original blog was NOT because he cares, but because it was hurting the reputation of the company. If you think it’s because he is sincere, you are sorely mistaken. I can read between the lines, and from these words, Mr. Becker is OBVIOUSLY part of Media Relations.

    Do I have a child with cancer? No.
    Have I personally known a child with cancer? Nope.

    But due to the efforts of BATTLE FOR A CURE (FACEBOOK) I have come to watch the horror that childhood cancer takes on families. I have followed updates from mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles of child cancer patients, and witnessed the passing of several children. For someone to say that childhood cancer is rare makes them ignorant and foolish.

    I apologize to every single person who has witnessed the devastation cancer takes on children. There are no words to comfort your pain.

    But there are words for you, Mr. Becker, and I believe you’ve heard them loud and clear.

    There are four more words you should hear, though. They come from a small child, Jessica, who recently lost her battle with cancer. Maybe you can read these words and take heed to them in your every day life.


    Children will NEVER give up. Parents will NEVER give up.
    And one day, they will find a cure for childhood cancer. Sarcoma, Blastoma, etc.

    And you will NEVER receive the satisfaction of granting more birthdays to children. You will NEVER be able to hold pride that you actually helped a child win his or her battle with cancer.

    Because you will NEVER actually help.

  243. You may rest assured that not only will I NEVER give a dime to the ACS, but that I will make it my mission to enlighten everyone that I know about how much you “care” about children with cancer. My daughter is one of the “exceedingly rare” children you speak of. She was 3 when she was diagnosed. And losing her hair was a horrible thing for her. She told me she was not pretty anymore. My brother and sister bought her a doll from komfy kids. It has removable hair. It became her security blanket. So SHAME ON YOU!!!! I pray that your children do not become part of this “exceedingly rare” group of kids!

  244. Well, good job, asbecker for retracting and “updating” your previous post! I emailed you as well, which I requested you apologize for you harsh words and lack of compassionate post. AND, I asked that YOU lead the way in heading your own words of making a large (larger than your suggested $10-20) contribution to a pediatric cancer organization of your choice (not breast cancer, guess you confused the two) in honor of the non-totem, having children who have endured the rare pediatric cancer diagnosis and all that subsequently follows.
    Hopefully, more will join in the social media pressure and ask that you make a contribution to show your sincere commitment, “to help end the suffering caused by the disease.”

    The irony of posting about not using social media to bully on a social media outlet.
    Social Media Pressure = 1
    asbecker = -1

  245. Shay Lucero says:

    Please go to
    Maya lost her precious son to this RARE disease and she has so eloquently (heeee) written a letter to Mr Becker. Please take a look at her blog….I assure you, you will never be the same after knowing just even a little bit about who Ronan was. RONAN was rare not the disease. That’s why we need to bring awareness to this nightmare called Pediatric Cancer and put an end to it. If it’s so rare as you say then lets funnel all the money we can to it so we can wipe it out and not let it become and epedemic as the other cancers you see fit for funding! Also on thsi site she lists OTHER cancer organizations that would actually benefit from receiving donation that actually go to the research and not for someone’s plane ticket or fancy bagel and fruit spread at that morning’s meeting. I’ve never met Ronan or Maya or any of these other families that are dealing with the battle of either going thru treatment or have lost a child but I will speak out like they are my own. We need to bring awareness to this NOW….these children are our future and these are the people that will be taking care of US at some point so we need to give them a chance to live a full life just like we have. Not to take away anything from someone suffering thru an adult cancer but these are ADULTS….they have voices and means to raise money and to get the word out. Children suffering thru Pediatric cancer do NOT….so we need to be theri voice. The adults. The people that have the means to get the word out to spread the need for awareness and for the need to get money funded into the research. I have a son who is healthy and I hope to God he stays that way. But I vowed to do my part to get Ronan and other kids storys out there because I will not rest until they announce that not 1 more child will have to go thru this!!!!

  246. Mr. Becker,
    I am a mother of a child who was diagnosed with what you referred to as an “exceedingly rare” disease. One in every 330 kids in the US will also be diagnosed with this “exceedingly rare” disease before they are 17 years of age. Unfortunately childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children and it is not as rare as you believe. Unlike adult cancer, it has no link to any sort of behaviors and there is no known cause, making it indiscriminate to race, gender, religion, and socioeconomic class. As the father of 3 healthy children you need to be aware that your children are at equal risk for getting cancer as mine. It seems that having pure water, a healthy lifestyle, eating organic food, having quality education or living in an upscale neighborhood does not prevent your child getting cancer. It also seems that, unlike breast cancer, there is no proven genetic propensity for childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is more aggressive than adult cancer of the same type and does not respond to chemotherapy the same way as an adult cancer would. This difference arises from the fact that an adult cancer and a child’s cancer of the same type are often genetically different. There are many types of cancer that only strike children, such as neuroblastoma and retinoblastoma. Any reasonable person can see why childhood cancer needs separate funding. Research underway for adult cancer will not likely yield cures for childhood cancer. Children are not allowed to participate in the clinical trials set up for adults. As the father of 3 healthy children you need to be aware of these facts. You also need to be aware that funding for childhood cancer research is “exceedingly limited”. The organization you represent, shamefully, only contributes one-half of a percent of its donations toward childhood cancer research. As a result there has only been one new drug approved for childhood cancer in the last 20 years. During that same time-frame more than 50 new drugs have been approved for treating adults with cancer. This lack of funding means that 1 out of every 5 children diagnosed does not survive and 3 out of every 5 has long term side effects from treatment. Some of those side effects are fatal and many are disabling. There are many types of childhood cancers that have no effective treatments. A diagnosis of DIPG is certain death.
    My son was given only 20% odds of survival before he began treatment in Nov 2009 and he had a more common type of childhood cancer. Many children do not live through the treatment process. Sometimes their disease is so aggressive that it does not respond to treatment and they die. Sometimes the treatment itself kills the child. I will forever be haunted by the memory of the little girl who died in the room next to ours. She had the same type of cancer as my son and was only one day ahead of him in treatment. She was about 5 years old and had the biggest most soulful brown eyes, like those of a fawn. She and my son played together in the hospital playroom the morning she died. The cancer did not kill her. She had a reaction to the chemo drug that is commonly used in treatment for her cancer. That particular drug causes reactions that are potentially fatal about 30% of the time. New and better treatments are so needed for children. Another drug commonly used, often causes heart damage. If the children live through treatment some of them need new hearts. It takes 5 years before children are considered cured from cancer. If they have organ damage from treatment they can’t have organ transplant until they are considered cured. Often they die before they can be the recipients of organ transplant. My son was one of the lucky ones, thus far anyway. He survived treatment and is still cancer-free.
    If Bald Barbie can increase awareness then it is a good idea. If the media director for the American Cancer Society isn’t as aware as he should be, then there must be a need for increased awareness. If the sale of Bald Barbie contributed toward childhood cancer research funding then it is a win, win situation. Thank you for your apology, I hope it is real as opposed to just being damage control. However, if you really want to make a difference you will bring about change and more funding for the kids. The ACS should give a higher percentage to childhood cancer research, one-half of a percent is sadly lacking. The ACS should stop using false advertisements showing cute little bald kids, it is misleading to the public.
    I realize that you might not ever read this because there sure are a lot of angry people leaving you notes. Many care deeply for a child who was diagnosed. Those who care deeply understand the need for increased awareness and funding. Until my son was diagnosed, I was not aware and I too thought childhood cancer was rare. I also thought there was effective treatments and financial assistance for families.
    I leave you today hoping that this whole experience will be positive. I hope the negative attention to the ACS will bring about change for the better for the children with cancer. I hope you now know that childhood cancer is not rare but it is far too often fatal. I hope you are inspired to do something to make a difference in the childhood cancer world.

    Visit my son’s caringbridge page at

    Tammy Buchanan

  247. Do you know how monumental this blog is? Are you aware of how many screen shots were taken of this blog? That apology is nothing compared to the apology your organization might have to give on the news…This is just facts. Your simple blog as already turned into something more hideous than you intended Andrew Becker. This is the media…when you send something out onto the world wide web it is there forever.

    Do better and stop wasting time.

  248. The hypocrisy here is amazing. Andrew Becker said “If they are mass marketed, many of these dolls will end up in the hands of girls who luckily aren’t likely to be touched by cancer in themselves or their mothers. But could they end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances?”

    So, you are saying that Barbies represent “realistic chances” of what girls will become? Will they all be “Super Stars”, or live in “Malibu?”

    Barbies aside, your post was the most insensitive thing I’ve ever come across from a professional organization. And yes, it did make me lose faith in the ACS. From a business perspective, I know you can’t be all things to all people, but don’t rub that in our faces. And the fact that you quoted Mary Tyler Mom to try to get people to just donate money…sneaking in a sales pitch to this blog is lower than low.

    I don’t know how you got to where you are today, but I really hope this haunts you for a long time. Step down.

  249. You may have retracted your statement and deleted it from your blog, but it was seen by many and the facebook movement is on to tell the world about the uncaring way you spoke about our children. While I want no one to have to endure cANCER, adults can understand what is happening to them better than a child. Many of the cANCER children are very young…some diagnosed under the age of 12 months. Adults worry about losing their hair. Children get teased about losing their hair…other kids don’t understand either so they tease. You have left a bad mark on ACS and allowed many people to see the true you. Because of this other organizations will now get the money of those that have seen your remarks. Any retraction or attempt at an apology will come to late.

  250. Bethany Rose says:

    Forgive if this post appears more than once–computer problems! I tried to post this last night…
    Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare? Ask the families of the 46+ children who will be diagnosed with it today. What if one of the 7+ who will die today
    had such a Barbie doll that helped her not to feel so conspicuous? What if she could “play out” her experiences with hair loss? This is exactly what child
    life specialists do. They work in these hospitals and take dolls and play objects related to the things these kids are going through. I have never seen
    it harm a child, but I have heard countless stories from parents of kids with cancer about how they love what child life specialists do. There is pink
    stuff everywhere for breast cancer awareness. Of course you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that September is Childhood
    Cancer Awareness Month, and did you know that gold ribbons are more than just creative Christmas decorations? Did you know that these kids are still receiving treatments geared toward adults because of the lack of funding and research? And
    how does that help with the cancers specific to children? No adults are diagnosed with neuroblastoma. You’re absolutely right in saying that much more funding needs
    to be allocated to childhood cancer research. Does that also mean that such a toy should not be created for the enjoyment and possible therapeutic benefit
    to the children? Why couldn’t proceeds from sales of this doll be given to hospitals and clinics dedicated to childhood cancer research? Maybe this toy
    makes adults more uncomfortable because they don’t want to face the all-too-real prospect. And of course, people in self-absorbed western culture can’t bother to take the time to reach out to people experiencing something beyond their immediate sphere. What if these kids would actually enjoy the toy? Remember, these
    children and their friends/families are the ones dealing with it, and the simplest things mean so much to them. Would the reaction be the same if the Wheelchair
    Becky Barbie doll or the teacher doll with hearing aids were still produced? A friend had the wheelchair Becky doll, and this person–a male, I might add–thought it was great, because he could identify it. I remember when he showed me his Wheelchair Becky doll, which he still had after some fifteen years, and I thought it was the coolest thing to see dolls like “us.” When I saw it, we were a couple of twenty-somethings looking at and enjoying this doll because it meant acceptance. It meant that people out there recognized us as just people. There is an organization with products and resources to help people with brain injury, and some of their toys are dolls with canes and guide dogs, wheelchaiurs, walkers, crutches. They have boy/girl, Hispanic/Chinese, black/white dolls. There are dolls that help teach Braille. Point is, these things really do help people in “different” situations. And why are they different? It’s because they’re concealed…hidden away, largely because of adults’ fear. When children march up to me and ask questions about the stuff I use, it’s generally the parents who laugh nervously and tell them to shut up. I use the opportunities as teaching moments. Toys like this can open so many doors so that kids with bald heads, ports, etc. can help with acceptance. Oh, and another thing child life specialists do is go into the classrooms and associate with the siblings to play with the people surrounding these children to help them understand. Imagine a girl with the hair-pulling disorder having to deal with the shame of looking into some condemning person’s face. It’s no less real just because she removes her hair herself–it’s just as real. What if her peers and the adults around her could see such toys around so she might be less likely to endure the stares. This is life, folks, and sometimes it helps for kids to be able to play this
    out. Putting a bald Barbie doll on the shelves will help in ways you could not possibly imagine–just ask the kids, their siblings/friends and their parents–the
    ones to whom this really matters!
    It’s true that not cancer-related organization is designed to aid children, and if the American Cancer Society is not, that’s fine. The solution is simple. Quit exploiting children–parading them all over your publications to manipulate people into donating to a cause you don’t even support. Your apology is far too little and way too late. And those of us who choose to be the voices for children with cancer will not forget it. Great, so you removed the post, but over a day has passed, and it has circulated all over the net. Notice the pingbacks? By the way, your removal was an act of complete cowardice, just because you’re getting some rightly-deserved backlash from the childhood cancer community. In case you didn’t notice, they are the people who know the real story and don’t care to see, accept or perpetuate the ACS public view of the lie. I believe your apology was only written to try to “repair” the ACS “impecable” reputation you have effortlessly besmirched. It will not erase what has happened, how you have disgraced people on the childhood cancer battlefield or cause your previous despicable “child-centered” actions to disappear. And just as you’re ignorant about childhood cancer, you also know nothing about other conditions that cause hair loss for children. So…you have your opinion, and that’s fine, but as a professional, you should know better than to tarnish the reputation of your society with such a post!

    • kwanner2000 says:

      Well said Bethany….
      I dont have cancer, nor do I have a child who has it. I do however, relate to the wheelchair barbie. I have CP. True, not every child will want this, or see the opportunity in it. But, I love your post, as it outlines EXACTLY why i support the movement to go to Mattel. Thank you…..

  251. phaedralbh says:

    Although I should feel better because you apologized, it did not do what you intended. It did not make those parents feel better about losing their children. It did not make them feel better about the deep harsh words that were posted. ACS should have known better than to allow someone to BLOG about their opinion on this matter. I would think that ACS would either STAND BEHIND IT or keep their alter opinion to themselves. This was rude, hurtful and wrong for them to allow to be posted, and now they have to take care of this mess. Probably with money that should be going to help children live. Also, now that this sparked such attention, people are realizing that ACS doesn’t really care about childhood cancer. If they did, they would put more money into it. More awareness. I think everyone should boycott their ads with children in them. What gives you the right to use children to pull in more donations and support, but you don’t even an entire CENT?
    Outrageously disappointing. I will never ever support this organization ever again and I will definitely be telling people about this, if they don’t already know.

  252. While the original post and I have to say the “apology” you have made are offensive, what is truly appalling is the American Cancer Society’s lack of funding for childhood cancer cures. It is important to find a cure for all cancer but I feel that you have a lack of understanding or empathy for the children. They are our greatest asset, stop overlooking them! Don’t take the easy route and just go after the cancers that are in your opinion the easiest to cure, go after all of them. You are the American Cancer Society, you are supposed to represent them all! It starts with the children!

  253. I wonder had the mass not protested… would you have retracted your statement? Much like the judge who instructs the jury to disregrad a statement…the damage has still been done. I too feel a poor committment to childhood cancer from ACS. On September 29, 2006, our lives became irreparably broken with the death of my 5 year old niece Brooke.Reading Mr. Becker’s previous statement makes me ill. Watching that child who so desparatly wanted to live, take her last breathe…watching grief at it’s lowest…feeling the emptiness in your heart because there is nothing you can do about it….there are no words to describe it. A child so full of life…..yet succumbing to the “rare” disease that she fought so valiantly for 2 years. AML, the cancer she battled was not that rare…..I believe the problem is that the bulk of the money funneled through ACS pretty much bypasses the children and the research needed to slow down or erradicate this disease. Obviously from Mr. Becker’s previous comments, it is proof that what childhood cancer lacks is an awareness and an importance to make it as important as breast cancer or other adult cancers that are promoted heavily by the media and ACS. I believe that if there was more attention to childhood cancer, more support, maybe those words spoken to us would not have been such a common statement…”there is nothing else we can do” !
    As far as the bald barbie….I have no opinion one way or the other. Brooke commented when her hair fell out a second time, that it was “broke”! I’m not sure a bald barbie would have impressed her much any way. What I do know is that what is important to a cancer kid and their family is hope… matter how big or small…hope! If you can provide even one ounce of that…you have personally made a difference in that childs life. So you see …it is important….if you feel it is rare… are disillusioned ….to me …one death is too many. I urge everyone to support childhood cancer…these kids are our future.

  254. i can still remember so can the teachers remember my Bald and Beautiful daughter Lydia at age 7 waiting outside her brothers 4 th grade classroom for him to come out at recess so she would have someone safe to play with…. someone who understood her cancer fight….someone who did not make fun of her bald head. Someone who would encourage the other kids to be kind and accepting…. Kids get it!!! Why cant ACS get it?

  255. Mr. Becker,

    Ignorance is bliss, as the saying goes. One would thinkg that in a position such as yours where you work day in and day out with cancer patients and their families, it is that much more appalling and insulting to have read your horribly ignorant rant on the Bald Barbie.

    I’m that “exceedingly rare” mother of a child with cancer. Do you not know how to research? Close to 13,000 children are dx each year, and nearly 2000 will lose their battle. That equals two classrooms of children every school day. Further, the treatment the majority of children receive at an average age of five years old, will produce late effects and secondary cancers that result in medical care due to their original cancer and will challenge them for most of their lives. I have attended the exceedingly rare funerals, have you?

    My son survived, but his two-year course of tx included life-threatening complications and radiation to his brain which caused cognitive late effects. He has multiple late effects that he contends with every day of life. Why don’t you extrapolate the late effects to all these children, and see if “exceedingly rare” is an adjective you still want to toss around.

    Pediatric cancer receives the bottom of the barrel in funding. We need more children to be sick in order to get more research dollars. Who wants more children dx with cancer? The ACS does very little for children with cancer, and that makes it even more egregious for you to comment on anything related to our world. Not to mention all the products for sale that supports breast cancer. Why don’t you question the need for some of these? The world is beseiged with all things “pink” while the gold ribbon, which represents childhood cancer is hardly even known or recognized. And you want to argue the need for a bald Barbie? Are you for real?

    You are a coward and a contemptible human being. The ACS for all the good it does do will never get a second glance from me. Not ever. Go back to whatever it was you were doing and leave us “exceedingly rare” pediatric cancer families alone. And please, just shut the hell up.

    Disgusted in Massachusetts.

    Cyndi MacKinlay

    proud mom of our “small soldier” Andrew

  256. Pingback: American Cancer Society Just Does Not Get It. « Dipgdad's Blog

  257. Too little, too late. You, sir, absolutely suck at the job of Media Relations Director. And I bet they pay you a pretty penny of OUR hard earned dollars…..

  258. Marsi Thrash says:

    “Definition of rare disease, per the NIH and FDA:
    The disease or condition for which the drug is intended affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States or, if the drug is a vaccine, diagnostic drug, or preventive drug, the persons to whom the drug will be administered in the United States are fewer than 200,000 per year as specified in Sec. 316.21(b), or

    (ii) For a drug intended for diseases or conditions affecting 200,000 or more people, or for a vaccine, diagnostic drug, or preventive drug to be administered to 200,000 or more persons per year in the United States, there is no reasonable expectation that costs of research and development of the drug for the indication can be recovered by sales of the drug in the United States as specified in Sec. 316.21(c).

    Now keep in mind they are saying PEOPLE. That means Age 0 – whatever. However, pediatric cancer is defined as age 0 – 18. THAT population in the US, according to the latest census, is 76,250,000, or 25% of the total population. 1 in 300, which is the rate of pediatric cancer striking, represents .003%. That math equals 228,750. ABOVE the RARE “definition.”

    And Mr. Becker, if you want to repair the damage? Allocate 25% of ACS’ money to pediatric cancer research, and spread it evenly over ALL the cancers, not just the ones with higher cure rates (oh, and yes, children still die from those every day.) Try inoperable brain tumors for which no progress has been made in 50 years and a biopsy can’t even be done. Put your money where your mouth is, or else please shut up. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

    Childhood cancer. The only risk factor is being a child.

  259. Leslie Smith says:

    Hey Fuckwad BECKER!!! Looks like your ass should have a new mission within ACS, Maybe you can redeem yourself as a valid HUMAN BEING with a dead on cause to change the funding for Peds CANCER RESEARCH WITHIN YOUR ORGANIZATION!

  260. Dan Hodges says:

    This article – and susquent appology – not only offended and angered me, it terrified me as one who has many loved ones who have thus far overcome being ‘exceedingly rare’. I fail to comprehend how the supposed leader in cancer advocacy could be so profoundly ignorant as it relates to pediatric cancer. Mr. Becker, your attempt to marginalize the suffering of every child and family who undertakes this battle was simply demonic.

    Unfortunately, the damage of your words is not something that dan be erased with a simple apology. In my opinion, the most concerning portion of what you said lies with the desire to reduce awareness as it relates to pediatric cancer rather than increase it. I cannot articulate nearly enough how foolish and harmful this idea is. Do you and your organization nto realize that the ignorance promoted by your blog contributes to the literal loss of life and limb where such could have otherwise been avoided?

    My family and I have walked into doctor’s offices on multiple occasions, only to find that the staff – including the doctors – know nothing about the disease that runs in my wife’s bloodline. I cannot begin to explain how frustrating it is to have to explain to an eye doctor what retinoblastoma (cancer of the retina) is. It pains me to no end to ponder the suffering that my daughter has gone through, only to realize that she is extremely lucky to have made it through as well as she did. Our attempts to advocate for our daughter landed us in hot water numerous times; fighting battles that we never should’ve had to wage.

    And what for the children who have parents who either have no genetic predisposition, or are unaware of one? I don’t know about you, but I long for the day where every set of parents an walk into a doctor’s office empowered by knowledge, and ready to ask the tough questions. As great as our pediatric specialists are, parents are always the first line of defense.

    It is for this reason that the Barbie was called for. Research into genetic causes and potential treatments is invaluable, but it alone can never win this war. Every parent who learns what to look for, and every child who learns about the world around him or her is a victory. Not only do children hwo fight through this awful disease need to know that they’re not alone, children who do not face these challenges need to be aware of them in order to help in this battle for survival.

    Finally, I direct my attention to the ACS in general. The idea that this was an isolated, unauthorized accident might be almost believable without the hisotry and figures that others have so artfully touched on. I understand that demand for funds will always exceed revenue, but the priorities of this organizations shine through at every layer. If it is your intent to fund ‘popular cancers’ almost exclusively, that is your right to do so. However, I do think you owe it to your donors, volunteers and other supporters to make that point abundantly clear to them. Otherwise, I would strongly advise that you reconsider your budgetary model before making anymore outlandish claims. Either way we don’t want or need lame apologies or retractions, we demand change.

  261. Dear Mr. Becker,

    Thank you for your apology, however, ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. An apology with no actions to back it up is damage control at best.

    It’s time for the ACS to change it’s policy towards pediatric cancer. The fact remains that that the ACS only donates less than half a penny towards all pediatric cancers for every dollar donated to the organization. If you are so committed “to repairing the relationship between the advocates (you) have upset and the American Cancer Society,” then it is only logical that you begin to work on repairing this heinous policy. Alternatively, stop using children in your campaign slogans and stop encouraging them to raise money for the ACS since your organization is unwilling to step up to the plate for them when they are diagnosed with cancer.

  262. Olga Whitman says:

    Dear Mr Becker ;
    I will accept your apology when you resign from your position at the ACS . I am the mother of one of those children who was unfortunate enough to join the club of the excidingly rare types of pediatric cancer ,

    I will tell you that if you think you know what the pain of having a loved one with cancer is like , while it does hurt you have NO IDEA what having a child with cancer is like until you have one of your own with cancer. I pray that you never have to join this club , hence why we the parents in this club want the awareness and research help that our kids deserve, so that no more children have to face what ours did. Trust me when I say this , I had my daughter with cancer first and now my husband ….you have no idea what it’s like when it’s your own child.

    My daughter had osteosarcoma , the same cancer Ted Kennedy Junior had back in 1973 , he lost his leg to it. Not only she was treated with adults chemo drugs but also with adults dosis . Osteosarcoma is not the only thing my daughter and Ted Kennedy Jr have , they also took the same chemotherapy drugs , do you know why ? because NO OTHER PEDIATRIC CHEMOTHERAPY DRUGS HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED !!! why have they not been developed ? because people like you who believe that pediatric cancer is rare and does not call for research funding. I bet you anything if it was one of your children you would think very differently.

    As I said I will accept your apology when you resign from the ACS position and it’s made known to the public , if you may decide to continue with the position I would hope that the ACS board members decide to terminate your employment , we do not need people like you .

    Just think , if you do not take care of our cancer children now , you won’t have to worry about more birthdays years down the road ….because there won’t be any to celebrate !!

  263. Mr Becker, I doubt you are reading any of these very emotionally driven comments. I also doubt the “apology” you have made was by your choice. It comes down to damage control. ACS is very aware that a bald child tugs at heart strings & if you need money…well you will do just about anything. Right? Sitting in a cold doctors office while they tell you your child has cancer, stops everything around you. Then the back pokes, leg shots, multiple chemotherapy treatments, oral medicines, radiation, and much much more starts for them and continues in most cases for 2 or 3 years..or even more! We, as parents and caregivers, SIT AND WATCH. We have NO control over the poison being shoved into their tiny bodies. We have NO control over their pain or sadness when their face is chubby because of steriods, or when their hair falls out. We have NO control over the horrible side effects that come up after they are “cured”. We have NO control if they will live or die. We do HAVE control over how we react when the facts are completely ignored by someone as ignorant as you Mr Becker. I stand in this fight right along with my warrior & all the other parents that are stuck in this hell. If you are reading this, take some time to soak it all in. Take a week & spend it at a pediatric oncologist office. Talk to the parents, talk to the warriors, talk to the to the nurses…find parents that lost their children & talk to them…then maybe, just maybe you will have just a glimpse at what we go through every single day. Consider yourself lucky that the glimpse is not your reality.

  264. Lee Lamarche says:

    This is disgusting that someone who works for the ACA thinks like this. Childhood Cancer, let alone any cancer is not RARE. The barbie isn’t only for kids who are stuffering from Cancer but there are other disease out there like HISTIOCYTOSIS where we struggle through chemotherapies loose our hair and fight for our lives. SHAME on you, for your views, maybe if you child or loved one had a RARE disease like HISTIOCYTOSIS you would know what RARE means, let alone if you child had cancer. You might have a better understanding of what a bald barbie means to these kids. There is so much importance put on the way we look, and loosing our hair due to chemotherapy is to some people the hardest part of the treatments to get to remission. If more companies realized this and wanted to help change the views, or make a doll that was bald with scarfs, it can make that change so much easier. SHAME ON you ACS you’ve lost my respect, and my donations.

  265. “It’s why we don’t see advocates calling for lightning strike dolls.” This sentence can never be unsaid nor adequately apologized for. It was a cruel, deliberate and ugly thing to write. My lightning strike child is rare indeed, in fact he’s one of a kind but he has lots and lots of lots of Cancer Kid company.

  266. joyanna75 says:

    Dear Mr. Becker,
    EDUCATE yourself first before you write about something! Obviously you don’t know a thing about childhood cancer. It is NOT rare! Spreading cancer awareness for our CHILDREN cannot be overdone!! I would like you to imagine how a child with cancer would feel if they read your article. Then imagine if your child had cancer. Mine does, and he would be heartbroken to read your words.

  267. cdenton1017 says:

    This makes me sick! No apology could even matter @ this point! You’ve lost the respect of many and many donations as well. I am an adult an you don’t even support most rare diseases with us! A few of us that have commented have a rare illness of all types of HITIOCYOTISIS! We have a support group with many adults as well as children and this would mean the world to them! Histiocytosis is barely supported at all and is cancer like but an sometimes be as awful as cancer! The reason they don’t really know what to somsider it is from the lack of funding! You can’t do a Barbie for kids struggling yet they can make one for every celebrity who’s making tons and not donate a darn thing! It’s sad! Anyone who goes through chemo, radiation etc. deserves recognition! This is insane and literally sickens me! Give the kids something to look up to! They need this! They need to know they’re beautiful. They need
    To know they matter! Adults, children or not, the ACS picks and chooses who they give money to! If you don’t have a “typical” form
    Of cancer they aren’t gonna help! I will
    Make sure I NEVER donate and pass the word on about this to all my friends and family!

  268. Mr. Becker, While I am somewhat grateful for your apology I doubt its sincerity and question again how someone in your position could be so callous when speaking of our children. What you define as rare was real and traumatic for my family. My daughter was healthy and beautiful one moment and the next day she had an exceedingly rare brain tumor that has an absolute 100% death rate. We were told she had 9-12 months at best and she died at just over 7 months. We watched her die trapped inside her own body, fully aware of her fate. She had full cognitive functioning (and she was 12) and slowly her tumor pushed on her pons and it stopped her from breathing. I am so very sorry that you allowed your personal feelings to come into play because you have really damaged the ACS. I was no longer a true supporter of ACS once I realized how very little it cared about kids. I did however respect the work with adults that it had done. I respected your desire to raise questions about activism and social media around disease but you most certainly implied that both you and the American Cancer Society believe that sick children are not important. While you wrote that each of these cases is tragic, and that the children and families deserve both sympathy and support you went on to imply that research and awareness into CC is greater than the actual need. Perhaps it’s time for a career change. I don’t think you can ever regain your credibility.
    Deb Fuller

  269. kfore42 says:

    Mr. Becker,
    Yesterday I read your post and watched the firestorm of angry replies that followed. I don’t have a strong feeling about the Bald Barbie. (I am in the camp that would rather give my $20 directly to St. Baldrick’s to fund childhood cancer research and encourage others to do the same). What upset me is that you are in a position of power and with your power you decided to pick on childhood cancer. You flippantly tossed out incorrect information and tried to continue the myth that kid’s cancer research is not worth funding. In the end you have not only hurt the childhood cancer community, but you have hurt the ACS.

    While I appreciate the apology, it’s not enough. I want your apology AND your actions. ACS needs to change their ways and who better to start with than you. Take this opportunity to educate yourself about childhood cancer and then educate others. How about a piece on how childhood cancer is different than adult cancers? I would love to see a post on survivorship. That 80% 5-year survivor statistic that gets thrown around is incredibly misleading. How about a post on years of life lost and how childhood cancer compares to the biggies? I am sure your readers could benefit from this information.

    ACS needs to step up. A couple of years ago SU2C found themselves in a smaller firestorm. Through their actions (funding, blog posts, including childhood cancer in their next telethon) they showed the childhood cancer community that they got the message and they care. ACS should follow their example. I’ll be watching and hoping you and the ACS takes action to repair the damage you have done.

    Good luck!
    Kelly Forebaugh

    • dmurrayarmitage says:

      Well said Kelly. That’s more like it. A positive suggestion on how to move forward and resolve more than the current issue, but also the crux of the issue between ACS and childhood cancer community.
      Well done.

  270. dmurrayarmitage says:

    Okay, so what now? Do we stone him? Do we continue to call for his head on a plate? Do we accept at face value his apology and look to build bridges and opportunities to bring about change in an area where childhood cancer groups in the US have long been disatisfied – the laughable amount of funding dedicated by the ACS toward research and new treatments and cures for childhood cancers?
    A mistake was made, admitted to and apology provided. The explanations did not attempt to detract from the fact that his blog caused much pain and anguish for people within the childhood cancer community. No mention is made regarding possible loss of “employment” from what appears to be a volunteer position. I am not seeing why the apology merits doubt regarding its sincerity. Or why it continues to warrant calls for his head and blood.
    The apology has been tendered. The choice is with the individuals to either find a way to accept it and move ahead or to reject it and stay mired in the current unacceptable situation. I would hope that the opportunity to open dialogue and bring about change is chosen over same old same old. I hope that most choose the opportunity to change and explore opportunities to improve the whole childhood cancer community.
    Maybe I was raised differently, where mistakes are made, admitted to, lessons learned and people move on. There are always the few who are not interested in moving on and want to continue to fire away at a convenient target for their ire. I doubt there is really anything that would satisfy them in this case. Hopefully they are in the minority.

  271. I will at least say that an attempt at the apology is appreciated. Although I can honestly say, Mr. Becker, that it will hardly erase the words that likened my son’s fight against cancer to that of a lightning strike. Trivializing childhood cancer is what created this mess. Not the bald Barbie. Although you truly did give us a forum to show our disgust for the ignorance involved when it comes to our babies.

  272. Paul LoDuca says:

    Well you have lost the support of a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist over your remarks…

  273. Mr. Becker,
    You’ve succeeded in galvanizing an already most determined group of individuals: parents of children with cancer. We had already been fighting for the awareness and funding that our kids so richly deserve long before your insensitive and thoughtless comments. You’ve already read the hundreds and hundreds of responses telling you why our children need better treatments and cures. But until your organization actually does something more about childhood cancer, you won’t be receiving any of our support.

  274. 4evertutu says:

    Pediatric Oncology wards are over-flowing and the numbers are not decreasing. Too many are dieing and treatments seem not only primitive, ineffective and brutal but also can cause as much damage as the disease itself. I’ve seen the Oncology wards so full that many times there is a shortage of beds available and your child can’t even get in for treatment. I find it hard to believe this is all being ignored by the ACA. The fact is that by 2025 1 in 7 children will be diagnosed with Cancer!

    As for rarity of the Cancer again, where is ACA getting their facts? My granddaughter lost her battle with brain Cancer after a three year fight and she had plenty of room-mates at 2 different hospitals with the same so called “rare” brain tumor. I stopped supporting ACA while learning of their disinterest in pediatric Cancer when I was her caregiver for Alissa and she passed away in 2006. I still do not see an interest or support just excuses from ACA. Considering how well known their name is, one would think they would want to lead the way. This is just disgusting and sad and I predict that once the media gets a hold of this it will be very damaging to ACA and more funding will be lost. It’s time for a change within ACA, but it sure doesn’t appear it will be a positive one!

  275. As an adult cancer survivor who was bald for almost a year, I can only imagine what a child has to face especially these days when various forms of bullying exist. At the age of 38, the thought of going bald due to battling stage III breast cancer was terrifying. A turn of unexpected events ended up having me on TV without my wig. After that it really didn’t matter to me but for a child whose emotions are yet fragile we must protect, teach and encourage them especially when battling diseases that cause baldness.

    I would love to see ACS do more for childhood cancer research and offer financial assistance to families while they are in active treatment to assist with living expenses like housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, etc. When I battled cancer I needed help paying my bills so I can only image that the parents of children battling cancer who take time off work to be with their child could use the financial support

    I hope that the responses given will motivate ACS to do more.

    Mary Jenkins

  276. Dear Mr. Becker, thank you for your response. I haven’t read the others. I want to say two things: when I caught a glimpse the the bald Barbie idea, my first and only reaction was “this is great”; then when I read your last post “losing a child to cancer (or for any other reason) is unimaginable to me“ — my reaction, after some appreciation, was that perhaps we need to remember that a lot of parents of children with cancer are talking about adult children: my mom has had two of her adult children tell her that they have cancer – in each case long after they had flown the nest. She also has the distinction of being a grandma to an Angel of childhood cancer, my little boy. My dad, a surgeon, said it was at least as hard to tell a very old man that his adult son had died on the operating table, as it was to tell the parents of a young child the same thing.
    So how should our fundraising and research efforts be focussed? I don`t know. But I don`t think we can keep hoping that our childrens devastating illnesses are random, and divorced from the devastating illnesses of their parents, aunts and uncles. They are who we were; we are who our parents were.
    My son wouldn`t have been interested in bald Barbie; would he have appreciated some bald Lego people? I don`t know, never will. But I do think that some of the girls in the ward would have felt some comfort playing with ordinary Barbie`, plus Barbie with wigs and do-rags, plus Barbie who is learning English, etc. Just the right balance of the ordinary world and little-girl-land. Wish I could think of the same kind of comfort for adult kids.

  277. “Maybe I was raised differently, where mistakes are made, admitted to, lessons learned and people move on. There are always the few who are not interested in moving on and want to continue to fire away at a convenient target for their ire. I doubt there is really anything that would satisfy them in this case. Hopefully they are in the minority. ”

    Wow, you must have gone to the same media relations school as Mr. Becker. Blame the victims, blame the advocates, blame, blame, blame and put yourself on a pedestal above the “lynch mob”. Forgiveness is a gift that must be earned. A knee-jerk CYA apology is not a genuine repentence. Mr. Becker waited 5 days to remove his offensive blog and back pedal through an explanation attempt. My favorite part is the disclaimer that includes “if”. True apologies say sorry “for” not “if”. I”ll move on when the ACS either admit flat out that they have no interest in children and will therefore no longer use ANY images of children in their advertising or they give our kids more than 1/2 a cent on the dollar. We didn’t pick this fight but we are tired, tired, tired of having our children treated like the “lightning strikes” of society.

  278. Bald Barbie Demand is an Over-Reach
    Posted on January 13, 2012 by asbecker
    We apologize if the below post offended some of our readers. We realize that in our zeal to highlight an issue that deserves debate, we may have sounded insensitive. This post was written to provoke debate about the proliferation of products marketed to raise awareness, and we think asked legitimate questions. We believe discussions like this can help focus all our efforts more closely on our shared goal of defeating cancer.

    You may have seen in the news that a Facebook campaign is underway to pressure Mattel, the maker of Barbie Dolls, to manufacture a bald Barbie. Cancer is one of, but not the sole reason for this campaign. The group’s Facebook page notes,

    “We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania. Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss from chemo.”

    To the extent that this effort is about fighting cancer, we should ask ourselves what it accomplishes, who would benefit, and while we’re at it, how about asking if a bald Barbie could in fact do more harm than good for kids and parents, not to mention Mattel.

    In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything (a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives) , do we need one more thing whose function is to “raise awareness” about cancer? Is raising awareness worthwhile? Over at Mary Tyler Mom, who herself is the mother of a child who died from cancer, the answer is a resounding “no.” She makes the excellent suggestion that a donation of $10-$20 to support cancer research would make far more of an impact than buying a doll.

    We know that funding more research is key, and every dollar helps, but who would benefit from sales of these dolls? Would it really be about fundraising?

    The downside to raising awareness has been well documented by activists in the breast cancer arena. Awareness of breast cancer, for example, has been so thoroughly achieved, and many women are so afraid of the words breast cancer, that about one in 20 who are diagnosed with LCIS, a condition that may lead to breast cancer, are choosing bilateral mastectomy; the surgical removal of both breasts.

    This isn’t to say that awareness doesn’t have an important role in defeating cancer. It can be incredibly important when it comes to informing people about ways to reduce risk or about getting recommended screenings regularly. But there may be better ways to attack childhood cancer. Just like radiation and chemotherapy, awareness must be deployed thoughtfully and carefully.

    Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare. I would also argue that cancer is rare among the age group of women likely to have daughters young enough to play with Barbies. Women have about a one in 50 chance of developing any kind of cancer before the age of 40 . Which brings me to the claim that bald Barbies can help improve the self-image of little girls who are faced with having lost their hair, or seeing their mothers lose their hair. If they are mass marketed, many of these dolls will end up in the hands of girls who luckily aren’t likely to be touched by cancer in themselves or their mothers. But could they end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances? There is no reason to create this sort of fear. It’s why we don’t see advocates calling for lightning strike dolls.

    My final concern is the no-win position Mattel finds itself in. Last year the company went above and beyond, and made one bald Barbie for a four-year-old who was going through chemotherapy. Now the company risks a severe backlash of ill will if it does not accede to the demands of the social media mob. After all, what is more sympathetic than a little girl with cancer? How could this corporation be so unfeeling as to not make the major investment required to put a new product on store shelves? What happens when the next group demands a custom Barbie to represent its social concerns?

    Sadly, some 1340 children under age 14 are projected to die from cancer this year. Each one is a tragedy, and they and their families deserve sympathy and support, but it is critically important to pull back from this exercise in consumer bullying and ask whether the need this movement is rising to meet is as big as imagined, and whether it will result in any meaningful support reaching those who need it.

  279. I guess i give you credit for apologizing but I think you have already done the damage that can not be repaired.
    Childhood cancer Rare!!! Really !! Have you ever been to a hospital on a childrens oncology ward. Guess not !!!! You might want to check your facts before you comment.
    My Grandson was diagnosed at age two and a half with ALL Leukemia. The pain and shock and helplessness you feel is unthinkable. You never think it will happen to you or your family !! WELL IT DOES ,AND IT WILL . There needs to be more funding for research to find a Cure.
    When I was in the hospital everyday with my grandson and he was on a vent , dialasis , and in a coma ,I could do nothing to help him . Then I thought maybe I might be able to help some of the other little ones a little bit. All it took was a simple bottle of bubbles to the kids that could have them to make them smile , it was so worth it . Can you imagine how a bald barbie might make the little girls smile . Just a little bit of sunshine on a lot of cloudy days . Think about it !!!!!!!!

  280. Pingback: Focusing on the Positive « cloakeynotes

  281. Beth Bowers says:

    The problem most childhood cancer advocates have with the ACS does not start with you Mr. Becker. It starts with the way children who suffer cancer are used prolifically in advertising and fund raising for the ACS, and then how poorly childhood cancer is represented in the funds dontated to research. 1% of the funding of the ACS goes to childhood cancer research. That fact is the start of the problem, and then when you were “just trying to ask questions about the impact of a bald barbie” you just added fuel to the fire. To many parents of children with cancer who have been tortured with drugs designed for adults, and gone deaf from treatments designed to save their lives, or had radiation on their entire brain that compromised their IQ permanently because there is not adequate funding for childhood cancer research, you just proved their supposition true. You revealed how completely out of touch the ACS is with the needs of Children who suffer from cancer. If your wife had cancer, and only one drug had been developed for treatment for her cancer in the last 30 years, you would be outraged. You would advocate. You would hound anyone who would listen….. And that is what these activist parents are doing. Your post wasn’t horriffic, just really short sighted to the issues faced by kids, and the outrage their parents feel at the lack of funding. The ACS could easily redistribute its funds to donate equally to the various places it donates, but currently most goes to breast cancer research, and prostate cancer research. Next time you choose photos of kids for your advertising, remember there has only been one new drug approved for kids with cancer in 30 years. Are you ok with that? If not what are you willing to do? Are you willing to ask the ACS to make a change?


    When you don’t care to be aware then it is rare. Don’t let childhood cancer awareness be RARE.

  283. Emily Moore says:

    You’re right…Pediatric cancer is “rare” in the sense that the majority of children do not have it, nor will ever have it…All the more reason why these children who DO have it feel isolated and different and why we should support anything that might help these children cope with their illness or make them feel more like “just a kid” again. Furthermore, just because cancer may not be as prevalent in pediatric populations as it is in adult populations does not mean that we shouldn’t funnel research money, prevention and awareness to the cause.

    As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor who lost the battle after five years, I am extremely grateful to all the organizations out there promoting awareness and prevention. Yes, I do understand that with the “commercialization” of the pink ribbon there is inevitably going to be some corruption/misguided use of money. Overall, however, when some suggest that there is “too much” pink or “too much money going to breast cancer”…I must say that there is no such thing. That being said, however, I do sometimes feel “guilty” about having a connection to a more “popular” cancer, as I think that ALL cancers (and also ALL serious illnesses of similar magnitude…and particularly those affecting children) deserve the same attention and resources (minus some of the over-commercialization) that breast cancer gets. It goes beyond money…everything from support for the families to prevention and detection can be potentially affected. Although I understand the need for specific illness focused organizations to meet the unique needs of the patients they serve, I always thought the whole game of “donate so that MY illness gets the money” was pathetic. I always respected the American Cancer Society in that it is supposed to unite ALL in the fight against cancer of ANY kind (including childhood cancer and those that are less well-known), and it saddens me to hear that someone from ACS would make such a statement.

  284. Greg Pum says:

    Save your breath Andrew Becker and STEP DOWN! You spit in are face’s once already and now your sorry? TO LATE! Your work here is done, I am amazed you still have a job with ACS. That just proves to us ACS is in no way any better than you are. I am glad i dont know you or have you as son, brother, father or any other family member of friend just because you disgrace me!
    The only positive thing that came out of this we all bonded together and raised are voices in a fight against childhood cancer were 1 in 300 children will be diagnose with cancer, 46 today alone and 7 will become a ANGEL. During your gross and pitiful remarks you could of reach out and help raise awareness..after all you work for who? AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY !! But no you just wasted precious time a child could of had! Do me a favor clean out your desk a leave! One last thing Dont Let the door hit you on way out…oh sorry if my remark hurt you. ..But your apology is fake as you and is just a attempt to save your job, wasn’t it?

  285. Jim Lipski says:

    since your original post on the 13th of January, an average of 322 children in the United States have been diagnosed with cancer and 49 children have passed away. That’s in one week. Doesn’t sound “exceedingly rare” to me.

  286. Katie McKoy says:

    Dear Mr Becker,

    You are a short sighted dingbat. The bald barbie idea is a great one. It would be a symbol of hope for little girls dealing with cancer. It would also be great for little girls who have moms or other women in their life dealing with cancer. Shoot, it would be great for women dealing with cancer.

    And pediatric cancer is not rare you moron.

  287. Bethany Rose says:

    I wrote a blog entry about this yesterday with my thoughts, my comment, the original post since the cowardly act of its removal and at the end, a list of organizations that legitimately and aggressively support childhood cancer. And all of these organizations were started by people who…oh, I don’t know…have actually been touched by childhood cancer in a deeply personal way. I simply do not understand how the “parent of a child with cancer” can rattle off statistics and be done with it.

  288. Bethany Rose says:

    I have fibromyalgia, migraines and peripheral neuropathy among other things, and most days I am miserable…but I am thirteen years older than the person who’s having to deal with this stuff as a result of her chemotherapy. I can not imagine how much harder it must be to deal with thise thongs as a child… The children who do survive often have devastating late effects to deal with, often for life, and I’m wondering how much of that is related to the poisons (manufactured for adults, by the way) that are pumped into their little bodies to save their lives. And more funding isn’t needed? It’s perfectly acceptable to continue to allow pharmaceutical companies to put dollar signs on the most vulnerable people? Children aren’t important enough for that, but it’s okay for ACS to exploit them. What is happening in America!

  289. Your apology means nothing now. Your resignation means everything. Your crass , heartless , and stupid beyond belief comments prove how little you know and how very little you care about children with cancer. You are now the poster child for people struck by lightening and it has struck you and you caused it. This will not go away and the irresponsibility of your words will echo in the ears of parents who have lost children to cancer like myself forever. ACS will never get a penny from me or anyone I know if I can help stop them. To do that I will only have to share your words.

  290.!/photo.php?fbid=10150497752721819&set=a.399192506818.174561.352071306818&type=1&theater Dear Andrew … you dont seem to understand it is not about the doll it is about the children.. Maybe you would like to attend this event.. child hood cancer is many things but it is far from rare I wish it were exceedingly rare that would be wonderful .

  291. Here’s a copy of the removed blog:

    Bald Barbie Demand is an Over-Reach
    Posted on January 13, 2012 by asbecker

    We apologize if the below post offended some of our readers. We realize that in our zeal to highlight an issue that deserves debate, we may have sounded insensitive. This post was written to provoke debate about the proliferation of products marketed to raise awareness, and we think asked legitimate questions. We believe discussions like this can help focus all our efforts more closely on our shared goal of defeating cancer.

    You may have seen in the news that a Facebook campaign is underway to pressure Mattel, the maker of Barbie Dolls, to manufacture a bald Barbie. Cancer is one of, but not the sole reason for this campaign. The group’s Facebook page notes,

    “We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania. Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss from chemo.”

    To the extent that this effort is about fighting cancer, we should ask ourselves what it accomplishes, who would benefit, and while we’re at it, how about asking if a bald Barbie could in fact do more harm than good for kids and parents, not to mention Mattel.

    In a world already littered with cancer totems such as rubber bracelets and pink everything (a limited number of which are from ACS initiatives) , do we need one more thing whose function is to “raise awareness” about cancer? Is raising awareness worthwhile? Over at Mary Tyler Mom, who herself is the mother of a child who died from cancer, the answer is a resounding “no.” She makes the excellent suggestion that a donation of $10-$20 to support cancer research would make far more of an impact than buying a doll.

    We know that funding more research is key, and every dollar helps, but who would benefit from sales of these dolls? Would it really be about fundraising?

    The downside to raising awareness has been well documented by activists in the breast cancer arena. Awareness of breast cancer, for example, has been so thoroughly achieved, and many women are so afraid of the words breast cancer, that about one in 20 who are diagnosed with LCIS, a condition that may lead to breast cancer, are choosing bilateral mastectomy; the surgical removal of both breasts.

    This isn’t to say that awareness doesn’t have an important role in defeating cancer. It can be incredibly important when it comes to informing people about ways to reduce risk or about getting recommended screenings regularly. But there may be better ways to attack childhood cancer. Just like radiation and chemotherapy, awareness must be deployed thoughtfully and carefully.

    Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare. I would also argue that cancer is rare among the age group of women likely to have daughters young enough to play with Barbies. Women have about a one in 50 chance of developing any kind of cancer before the age of 40 . Which brings me to the claim that bald Barbies can help improve the self-image of little girls who are faced with having lost their hair, or seeing their mothers lose their hair. If they are mass marketed, many of these dolls will end up in the hands of girls who luckily aren’t likely to be touched by cancer in themselves or their mothers. But could they end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances? There is no reason to create this sort of fear. It’s why we don’t see advocates calling for lightning strike dolls.

    My final concern is the no-win position Mattel finds itself in. Last year the company went above and beyond, and made one bald Barbie for a four-year-old who was going through chemotherapy. Now the company risks a severe backlash of ill will if it does not accede to the demands of the social media mob. After all, what is more sympathetic than a little girl with cancer? How could this corporation be so unfeeling as to not make the major investment required to put a new product on store shelves? What happens when the next group demands a custom Barbie to represent its social concerns?

    Sadly, some 1340 children under age 14 are projected to die from cancer this year. Each one is a tragedy, and they and their families deserve sympathy and support, but it is critically important to pull back from this exercise in consumer bullying and ask whether the need this movement is rising to meet is as big as imagined, and whether it will result in any meaningful support reaching those who need it.

  292. Hey Becker- If you and The American Cancer Society actually believe children are important, why don’t you start by donating more than 3% of your funds to finding a cure for them? Never donating to you ever again or participating in your events. I’ll just donate right to a foundation of my choice- one that actually cares about children. PATHETIC.

  293. RARE???? they obviously haven’t been to a childrens hospital like Texas Children’s…. that they think it is rare is an insult to those of us who have lost our kids or have fought to keep our kids alive to this “EPIDEMIC”…. This is just proof that they have NO CLUE what is going on in the world and they think they are safe in their little bubble of the perfect world they think they live in! Sorry for the rant but this ticks me off!!!!!!!!!

  294. I am still dumbfounded at the arrogence of your posts. Childhood cancer is a world beyond anything you could ever imagine. ACS has been an organization that has portrayed itself to be a sponsor of birthdays and uses pictures of defenseless children fighting a battle that unfortunately many of them will lose yet doesnt contribute anything of real substence and meaning to helping these children.
    Sit down and talk to myself and many other parents who have gone through the hell of losing their precious child. Let me tell you about having to live my life knowing that my daughter will not experience the things so many others have gotten to experience. There will be no sweet sixteen party, no high school graduation, no college life, no wedding, no kids. Not for my Brianna.
    Think about that…..

  295. reposted from this group
    Has everyone forgotten about Pink Ribbon™ Barbie®….I haven’t because I own one….ACS, Mr. Becker, and Mattel, here is an excerpt from the back of her box. “Committed to making a difference in the fight against breast cancer, Barbie® doll offers a great opportunity to educate children about this disease and its effect — and offer support, hope, and comfort. Today, many children are touched by breast cancer as the disease may affect some one they know….” “We hope Pink Ribbon™ Barbie® can help open a dialogue, while supporting this worthy cause.” This doll was made to help children understand this disease and not “terrorize “ them, why can’t a special Bald and Beautiful Barbie® do the same thing…Mattel®.has also made a special American Heart Disease doll .……Why not Mattel? Childhood Cancer is a very “worthy cause” and I know because my daughter fought leukemia and won….she has been cancer free for almost four years and I know she would have benefited from a Bald and Beautiful Barbie® and still would…

  296. There is a lot of passion and established fact in the comments above from the critics of Andrew Becker’s Bald Barbie opinion blog. When my one-year old was diagnosed with stage IV hepatoblastoma and given a 20% chance of survival my heart broke in part because, as a mother and a compassionate human being, I couldn’t bear to see a child suffering. I comment today with the same compassion in wishing no ill-will to Andrew Becker, those who have commented on this thread in disagreement with the Bald Barbie movement, and to those who cannot possibly know what it is to watch a child fight to live. There isn’t much I could add to the comments from these passionate parents and loved ones who have watched children suffer under the wrath of serious and life-threatening illness.

    There is only one point I would like to pose -it is really a question actually…Why such vehement defensiveness in regards to Mattel from Becker and the ACS? Why the use of abrasive and accusatory terms such as “consumer bullying”? Other than a couple of calls for boycott, by and large the Bald Barbie movement has been nothing more than a plea to Mattel after learning that they not only provided one bald Barbie to a little girl with cancer, they also mass-produced a Make-a-Wish Barbie a few years ago. Is it not illogical then, for a group as passionate as those who watch children suffer and die to request something as similar and simple as a Bald Barbie from a corporation already committed to donating and supporting children with health problems, most notably through Mattel Children’s Hospital? I think not…

    This leads me to question the vociferous response of Mr. Becker and a few in this thread who are so concerned about the welfare of a massive corporation. Why so worried about poor little Mattel Mr. Becker/ACS? Methinks you doth protest too much! In my research I notice Mattel has been an ACS donor, is there a bit more motive in this blog than simply wanting “to raise questions about activism and social media around disease” as you state in your apology Mr. Becker? I am just asking and wondering because I really don’t know…

    • dmurrayarmitage says:

      A n interesting perspective Christine. You raise some very good questions. Your measured response is also quite “rare” it seems.

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