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Lymphoma and Pets
Rush Limbaugh is a Philanthropist And It's OK to Hate Him
Few public figures can polarize the population like Rush Limbaugh. At the least, most everyone will have an opinion about him. And it will be extreme. You love the guy, or you despise him.
As I've written elsewhere, his perception of himself is neither extreme nor controversial: he regards himself as a businessman with better than average entertainment skills. He refers to his on-air personality as a his "pompous arrogant schtick."
So there's no doubt in his or anyone else's mind: He says awful things about people and manages to get tons of attention for saying outrageous things every other day.
And while I don't have the resources to do the proper math, I can at least assure you that there are not many individuals who have done more for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society over the past two decades than Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh just finished his annual LLS Cure-a-Thon on April 12. Each year for the past 23 years Limbaugh has devoted just a few hours of one day of air time to solicit donations from his listeners. Three hours a year, that's all.
This year, his Cure-a-Thon raised about $3 million. All told, the fundraiser has brought in somewhere in the neighborhood of $37 million.
If you want to know what power looks like, there you go.
Rush the Philanthropist
It doesn't end there. Buried in the small print of the LLS annual financials, you will always find Limbaugh's name as having donated between $100,000 and $500,000 or more of his own income to the LLS. All told, the charity estimates he's donated somewhere under $6 million.
He surely knows that this amounts to good press for him, but he is otherwise admirably low-key about it. If the reason why he has focused his philanthropic efforts on blood cancers is out there, I haven't come across it.
Don't get me wrong: I don't think anyone with leukemia or lymphoma should suddenly owe him a debt of gratitude, or even show him any kind of deference when it comes to his on-air persona. Lymphoma survivors who fall on the liberal spectrum don't need to suddenly think he's got some decent ideas on how to run government.
None of that matters.
You can hate Rush with all of your might and still think highly of his interest in and dedication to doing his part to advance treatments for blood cancers.
No matter who you are or who you voted for, if you have lymphoma, Limbaugh would rather you didn't, and he exercises his considerable influence to that end.
I can't stand that jackass, but I'm not sure you can ask for much more from any one person. We're all more complicated than we appear, and humanitarian actions will always speak louder and be far more meaningful than words, no matter how profound or polarizing.