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Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) is proud to announce that we are a "Special Friend" team partner with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for their Light The Night Walks. We will be the rallying point around which local freethought, atheist, and secular humanist groups will form teams to participate in Light the Night Walks.
Dear fellow freethinker,
In our first year, we raised $430,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the largest amount ever raised by a first year non-corporate team and the 4th largest amount raised by any team in the nation in 2012, including corporate teams. Freethinkers across the US and Canada formed 150 local teams.
I am incredibly excited to announce our involvement for a second year that, with your help, is going to continue to have an enormous positive impact both on our movement and in the fight against cancer. Foundation Beyond Belief is a "Special Friend" team partner with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for their Light The Night Walks. Our goal this year is to unite the Freethought Movement around the world to raise $500,000 U.S. Dollars in 2013.
Why are we doing this?
For those who don't know, Foundation Beyond Belief is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation created to focus, encourage, and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion. FBB runs a monthly donation program for charitable organizations that are screened by the staff for efficiency and impact, Volunteers Beyond Belief, a network of humanist volunteer teams in 14 U.S. cities, and Humanist Crisis Response, raising funds and awareness for major humanitarian crises worldwide. And now, with your help, FBB is going to join with LLS to help fight cancer.
There are around 200 Light The Night (LTN) annual fundraising walks held across the U.S. and Canada, but people from all over the world can participate in the Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) team. Funds are raised by asking for donations from friends and family, making online donations ourselves, and holding fundraising events. Each person who registers as a fundraiser with the FBB team receives their own online fundraising page whether they walk in a local LTN event or live on the other side of the world and want to help as a "virtual walker."
We are being joined in our efforts by our Allies: American Atheists, American Humanist Association, American Ethical Union, Atheist Alliance of America, Camp Quest, Center For Inquiry, Centre for Inquiry Canada, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy & Alumni, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Secular Student Alliance, Society for Humanistic Judaism, and United Coalition of Reason are encouraging their affiliates to form and join teams.
While they do not have local groups, the Richard Dawkins Foundation has been a wonderful supporter of our efforts. The Institute for Science and Human Values, James Randi Educational Foundation, Project Reason, Grief Beyond Belief, Secular Woman, Freethought Blogs, and Stiefel Freethought Foundation have also joined us as supporters.
My family and our friends have been hammered by cancer. I am sure everyone reading this also knows someone who has had cancer. Let's fight back together. My family wants to make sure we hit our target, so we have decided that the first $250,000 raised by the FBB Light The Night Team will be matched dollar for dollar by the Stiefel family. Basically, we will double the dollars you raise until we hit our goal. Additionally, the Stiefel Freethought Foundation is giving $19,000 to FBB for an incentive program. The top fundraising teams will have the opportunity to direct up to $5,000 in grants with up to half going to a local qualifying freethought nonprofit and the rest to qualifying national FBB Allies of their choice. To learn more about the incentive program, click here.
All proceeds from the walks go to one of my favorite charities, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. and leukemia is the leading cause of cancer death in children under the age of 20. Every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer; every ten minutes someone dies. That is around 150,000 diagnoses and 50,000 deaths per year in the US alone. To date, LLS has invested more than $875 million in research aimed at treating and curing blood cancer, with $70 million in 2012 alone. They also provide direct patient aid for those in need, family support groups, and educational services. 76 cents of every dollar LLS spends goes towards LLS's mission of research and patient services.
This year, we have decided to have our Honored Hero for the 2013 events be Greta Christina. Greta is author of "Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless," and one of the most popular atheist bloggers. She is a regular atheist correspondent for AlterNet, Free Inquiry, and The Humanist, and writes at Greta Christina's Blog (now part of the Freethought Blogs network) since 2005. In 2012, Greta Christina was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She was fortunate in getting the cancer caught early: she was treated with surgical hysterectomy and oophorectomy, and is now cancer-free. She has a presumptive diagnosis of Lynch Syndrome (a diagnosis based on family history), which significantly increases the odds of getting certain kinds of cancers, including endometrial and colon.
To hit our goals, though, we need your help. If you are reading this, we need you to become a team captain and start an FBB Light The Night Walk fundraising team on behalf of your local secular group or a group of friends. Teams can be created from anywhere in the world, even too far to actually walk in an event. If you cannot become a captain, please talk to your local group and encourage them to form a team. Click here to start a local team under the FBB banner: http://pages.lightthenight.org/2013/FBB. We hope to have at least 100 local FBB teams in our first year. For more details on how to create or join a team, click here for detailed instructions.
Another way to help is by donating to our team. You can donate from anywhere in the world. Click here to donate to our cause!
There are two important additional things I need to ask of you. First, I ask that you donate to our LLS team in addition to nontheists groups, not instead of what you might give to the freethought movement. Second, the walk events are not the place for debating or deconverting religious people, but are a chance to promote our secular values by supporting science, education and compassionate services. Many people at the walks have lost loved ones to cancer and will want to celebrate their lives, not hear our opinions on atheism and humanism. Debating has its place, but at Light The Night, we want to be known as the most fun, positive, happy and friendly teams at the events.
If you have questions, many of them can be answered by our FBB LTN Frequently Asked Questions or on the Light The Night website. If you have any other questions about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, their Light The Night Walks, or how to create or join a team under FBB, please contact Breanna Baer (Breanna.Baer@lls.org). Any questions about Foundation Beyond Belief or the FBB Light The Night Team can be directed to Brittany Shoots-Reinhard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fellow freethinkers, we invite you to join us in the biggest philanthropic effort in the history of the our movement, both this year, and as we make Light The Night an annual tradition. With your help, we can change the lives of countless cancer patients and their families while establishing credibility for humanists and atheists as a legitimate force for good in the world.
Please join us in our quest.