Will you still Race for the Cure?

13 Mar

For as long as I can remember, I have been involved in one way or another with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Over a decade ago, I started out by volunteering with my local chapter, Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Baton Rouge. Having a personal connection with how breast cancer and breast health issues can affect a family, I found myself wanting to do more…to make more of a commitment…to raise more awareness for the cause. In 2005, I signed up to walk 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Since then I have walked/crewed 6 3-Day for the Cure events (across 3 states), run in about 20 or so Race for the Cure events (across 4 states), and done what I could to help spread the word about Susan G. Komen for the Cure and its initiatives.

However, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has recently come under scrutiny for deciding to pull funding from one of its beneficiaries, Planned Parenthood. For those of you who are not familiar with the issue, back in January, Susan G. Komen for the Cure adopted new grant policies that barred agencies that were under government investigation from receiving any funding. Since Planned Parenthood falls in that category, it was made public that they would no longer receive funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Once this information hit the AP wire, it fired across the internet like crazy, creating a PR nightmare for Komen. Long story short, within days Komen revised their policies to bar agencies under “criminal investigation” from receiving funding, allowing Planned Parenthood to again apply for grants.

However, this leaves a lot of people scratching their heads and saying, “Wait, Susan G. Komen for the Cure helps fund Planned Parenthood??” Yes, they do, as well as these organizations.

So where do they get all this money for these grants? The majority of the funding comes from Race for the Cure, 3-Day for the Cure, and Marathon for the Cure events.

“The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is the world’s largest fundraising event for breast cancer. It consists of a series of 5K runs and fitness walks to raise money to for breast cancer, to raise awareness of the disease, to celebrate those who have survived breast cancer, and memorialize those who have not.

The primary source of revenue for the event is donations collected by the participants in the race. Three-quarters of the net proceeds from the event are used locally to pay for community outreach programs, breast health education, and breast cancer screening and treatment projects run by the Komen affiliate. The remaining quarter is sent to the central organization.” [Wikipedia]

While I, personally, do not support Planned Parenthood or their programs (just my opinion, I am entitled to it), I will still support Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I will still run in Race for the Cure events. I will still walk/crew 3-Day for the Cure events. And in the future, I hope to run the Rock and Roll Dallas Half Marathon with the Marathon for the Cure program. I cannot be in control of where every dollar that I donate to charity goes, but I do know that a lot of those dollars are being spent in places and on programs that I think are worthy and appropriate.

How do you feel about Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure? Have you run these events before? Will you do so again? How do you feel about the usage of your race fees?

(In an odd twist of fate, I was coaxed into running the Rock and Roll Dallas Half Marathon just this morning, but I will not be participating in the Marathon for the Cure program this year. I am not sure I could raise the $1,000 of fundraising in only two weeks. And while I did miss my local Race for the Cure event this past weekend, I plan on being at the Race for the Cure events in New Orleans, LA and Charleston, SC later this year to make up for it!)

16 Responses to “Will you still Race for the Cure?”

  1. Randy Coffee March 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM #

    The part that is frustrating to me about Komen is that they seem like they are bullies towards other cancer organizations. Take a look at all the lawsuits that they have filed against tiny races called “For the Cure”.

    Aren’t we all on the same team?

    If given a choice, I would much rather raise awareness and money for cancers who do not get the funding that “pink” gets.

    • katieRUNSthis March 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM #

      I am so on the fence about this issue. I really do believe that when Komen was founded, it was intended to be this organization that does its best to provide women to make educated decisions about their health. However, in recent years, it seems to have become this machine, determined to take down anything and everything else that is “for the cure”. I agree, we should all be on the same team.

  2. gregg saxon March 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM #

    I think Komen should rethink and revert back to their original decision. Many people that would like to support them would not support PP. I don’t believe I could support them with their monies going to PP even though there is a lot that is to a good cause. Just my opinion. I thought your point well written though.

    • katieRUNSthis March 13, 2012 at 1:07 PM #

      Thank you for your comment. As with Komen, I am back and forth about Planned Parenthood. While I do think that some of their programs are worthwhile, I do not agree with their stance and dissemination of information about abortion. I just don’t. I appreciate your honesty. There are always other races and organizations that need your support! 🙂

  3. Robyn Diez March 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM #

    I did the Komen Baton Rouge this morning.
    I hold solidarity with Planned Parenthood, but the local Komen organizations have 75% of fundraising earned go directly to the community. This is why I’ll continue to participate on a local level.
    I’m currently team organizing for the New Orleans event. 🙂

  4. Robyn Diez March 13, 2012 at 12:15 PM #

    This weekend. Not this morning. I’m brain dead. 😦

    • katieRUNSthis March 13, 2012 at 1:08 PM #

      No worries, I understood what you meant. 🙂 I think this is why I will continue to support Komen, knowing that 75% of their fundraising dollars stay local.

  5. Lynn~Learning Curves March 13, 2012 at 12:47 PM #

    Planned Parenthood helps 1 in 5 women in the U.S. When I was fresh out of high school, living on my own, making $2.18 an hour waitressing they helped me by providing Paps, breast exams and birth control, all which I paid for based on their sliding scale. I was not sexually active, but needed bc to regulate my very heavy (sometimes dibiliating) periods.

    Everyone IS entitled to their own opinion and I would prefer to support Planned Parenthood over Komen, who, as Randy pointed out, has taken the bully stance lately. I guess the good news (or bad, depending on how you look at it) is that by supporting Komen, we are really supporting both organizations.

    • katieRUNSthis March 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM #

      Thank you so much for your insight. It is really appreciated. It is certainly helpful to see things from a different perspective. I do believe that Planned Parenthood (like Komen) has programs that I agree with and some that I don’t. I guess that with financial support we will all have to compromise a little. That, or start our own charities. 🙂

    • Katherine March 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM #

      This is true; much of Komen’s support of Planned Parenthood provided breast cancer screenings for women who would not be able to afford them otherwise. Many people saw the retraction of funds as Komen’s way of saying they only support breast health for affluent women. It’s a loaded subject…

      • Katherine March 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM #

        And actually, I should add that it wasn’t that they provided the actual screenings, but PP provided referrals. It’s more about the access to care than actual care.

  6. Kristin March 13, 2012 at 4:31 PM #

    This is very introspective – thanks for sharing. First, let me start off by saying that the events that unfolded in January were ultimately a major PR failure. Hello, crisis communications…where are you?! I work in the women’s health care arena and I am a supporter of both organizations because I think that they both offer important health benefits to women like myself and they have both worked hard over the years to find their own niche and build upon their mission. Therefore, it does not irk me necessarily that Komen money has been funneled to Planned Parenthood. However, I wholeheartedly believe that any organization should be fully transparent about their accounting, fundraising, etc. I would imagine (and hope) that most are, especially if they are complying with all the rules. In reality, I don’t think we ever truly know 100% where our money goes. Sad, but true.

    I have run the Komen 5K a few times and regardless of this whole financial issue I think it is an amazing event that brings together women, their families, and their communities in an unprecedented show of support. I have stood at the start line nearly in tears seeing those recent cancer survivors or women who have gone through chemo wearing pink bandanas – there really are no words to describe it. To be standing there with them – that experience alone is priceless.

  7. Abby March 13, 2012 at 7:21 PM #

    Whichever side you’re on regarding this issue, you have to admit social media is a powerful force not to be reckoned with. I wonder what other kind of large social changes it can make in the future.

  8. Heather March 14, 2012 at 8:29 AM #

    interesting post. I absolutely do not agree with PP’s stance on abortion. I DO agree with raising money for cancer research, so it’s a tough situation. My mom is a non hogdkins lymphoma survivor so personally we choose to donate to TNT as opposed to Komen. not saying one cancer is worse than the other or deserves more money than the other, BUT since we can’t give to everything, I would rather give to something that line sup more with my ideals I guess?

  9. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks March 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM #

    I had a connection to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for almost 20 years. When I heard the news, I immediately wrote a check to Planned Parenthood, blogged about it (here: http://somispeaks.com/2012/02/02/funding/), read a pretty insightful blog post about it (here: http://butterbeliever.com/2011/10/22/i-will-not-be-pinkwashed-why-i-do-not-support-susan-g-komen-for-the-cure/) and wrote an email to my college sorority about my views (SGK is one of their national philanthropies they have supported since I was in college). Taking my personal beliefs off the table, based on what I have learned, it would still be difficult to support SGK. They spend far too much money litigating over the phrase “for the Cure” and not nearly enough on researching for a real cure to the disease. There are other breast cancer organizations where my money would be better spent.

  10. missy April 10, 2012 at 3:35 PM #

    I am really torn too, there was a group of us that was planning on running in Race for the cure but due to there support of planned parenthood . My aunt and grandmother died of breast cancer but I can not support an organization that supports another organization that I complete disagree with. Planned parenthood is a huge supporter of pro choice and I am sorry but I can not be a part of killing babies.

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