Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Komen Rots...

Been writing that a lot lately - mostly in response to other folks' links about Susan G. Komen for the cure (that's their official name) and their battle to trademark the "for the cure" part of their moniker. (read more about that here). Seems to me like they've totally lost focus about what the fight to eradicate breast cancer is all about.

For the record, I've never been a big fan of Komen. I applaud them for bringing breast cancer to the top of the cancer pile, but it doesn't end with awareness and pink ribbons. They raise gobs of money via their races, walks and product donations, but still, 40,000 women died last year from breast cancer. Each October, it gets harder and harder to walk through the store without getting pretty ticked off about all the pink ribbons on things like cookies, batteries, pens and clothing. Companies, it seems, have figured out that if they slap a pink ribbon on their label and mention in teeny five-point type that a "portion" of their proceeds from the product's sale will go to Komen, they will make a mint. They make a million, donate $10K to Komen who lumps it into their generic "research and education" pile and no one is the wiser, right?

But what the heck research is Komen funding? Treatment for women who have been diagnosed or ways to end BC forever? Both are important, but they are two totally different things. Spend more funding dollars on research for the cure and nobody would even need treatment.

Blogger Anna Rachnel breaks down how the money is spent in her recent "Komen by the Numbers" post. A former public accountant before being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she crunches the numbers and gives a very clear picture on how little of Komen's funds have actually ended up in that "research" pile since the organization was founded in 1982. Shocking, to say the least, but not surprising.

My fear has always been that Komen would become THE face of BC fund-raising and other organizations like the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute would get pushed aside while their donations get smaller and smaller. If Komen's trademark attempts are successful, I could totally see that happening.

Know that there are lots of survivors, relatives of survivors and even relatives of lost warriors who are not at all happy with how you do what you do, Komen. Know that we're watching you and blogging about your shenanigans as well. You really ought to be ashamed of what you're doing, but I suspect you aren't.

In that case, you really do rot.


Anna Rachnel said...

Felicia, firstly thank you for commenting on my blog, and thanks for reposting the post link to yours. Komen would do well to start engaging with the very people they set out to help, and really listening to our concerns. There's no shame in a huge organization like that changing tactics. It's not too late. Unfortunately I'm skeptical that it will happen, because I agree with you, that much of what they do is about corporate sponsorships and partnerships, which has become big business in itself.

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Nancy said...

Interesting insights here. Just spotted you on Anna's blog and liked your comment there as well.