I see that your organization, “Komen for the Cure” is getting a little bad press today. In fact, I just heard the news on CNN that you’ve pulled funding to Planned Parenthood – funding that was used to pay for mammograms for women who are underinsured, uninsured or otherwise cannot afford to pay for them. It’s all over Facebook as well, and I understand your Facebook page is being bombarded by comments coming in from all over the country. As we all know, you started the organization in 1982 to honor your late sister, Susan Komen, who passed away as a result of metastatic breast cancer. Cheers to you and your rich pals for being so pro-active in trying to find that cure. After all, that’s why millions are donated each year – so you can do just that.
It seems as though you take quite a large salary (and you are already very wealthy) and have even held positions in George W. Bush’s administration. Why should it surprise anyone that you have caved to pressure from your wealthy right-wing pals to pull funding for free mammograms performed at Planned Parenthood facilities. As I see it, the problem is that Planned Parenthood also performs abortions, and that is the basis of the pressure to which you succumbed. Abortion is and probably always will be a political hot button, but it has nothing to do with breast cancer and pulling funding for mammograms that just happen to be offered by the same organization that provides abortions makes no sense, even to those who have bought into your “savior of the masses from the horrors of breast cancer” image that you certainly do nothing to deny.
As for me, as a woman with metastatic breast cancer, I, along with many of my metsisters and brothers, stopped listening to your message a long time ago. You claim to be “for the cure” yet you give less than 5% of the millions raised each year to research for metastatic breast cancer. Now, you are pulling funding for mammograms because you don’t agree with the politics of the organization providing the mammograms. Thanks to you, breast cancer awareness has come a long way since 1982, but now it’s time for you to stop talking the talk and start putting the money raised by your organization towards really making a difference (and I certainly don’t mean that we need a cancer-friendly perfume or to see your logo on 1 million more retail items.)
My message to you is simple: Restore funding for mammograms (even if it means writing a check to Planned Parenthood) AND substantially increase funding for metastatic breast cancer research. The rest is, quite frankly, nothing more than a feel-good marketing ploy that is sending the wrong message. Komen can only be “for the cure” when the funds raised from children selling lemonade, people walking, swimming and buying everything from yogurt to cars really does go to finding the cure. Nancy, you can make a real difference and the last thing you need is the ugly publicity being generated by pulling funds for free mammograms.
PS: Don’t Stop Believing!