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Susan G. Komen for the Cure® – No More Apologies!

There has been a lot of discussion recently in the blogosphere about Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. I believe the rumblings are starting to be heard. Now the question is will Komen begin to listen? Like I’ve always told my students, there is a huge difference between hearing and listening.

For the record, Komen describes itself as,

—the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists – the only grassroots organization fighting to cure breast cancer at every stage, from the causes to the cures and the pain and anxiety of every moment in between.

Komen’s stated mission is:

to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

Like many bloggers, I’ve been thinking about this organization of late and how it seems to have failed in the above stated mission.

But this particular post isn’t really about that success or failure.

Mostly, what I want to address today is why I have felt so uncomfortable criticizing Komen in the past.

Honestly, I’ve been “sitting on” this particular post for quite a while. Well, no more….

Here is a perfect example that illustrates my hesitation…

This past April a very dear young female relative of mine contacted me about getting various family members together to participate in the recent Race for the Cure event held at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.  I told her I wouldn’t be able to participate this year since I had just had my hysterectomy/oophorectomy surgery and it was too soon. My doctor would not OK my participation. That was true, but…

I admit it, I took the easy, cowardly way out.

I felt relieved because I had a valid excuse. It was kind of like having a note from my doctor to get of gym class in high school. I felt relieved because I didn’t have to explain to her how I really felt. I didn’t have to explain to her why I didn’t support Komen.

I didn’t have to explain why I really didn’t want to participate.

I felt badly for not being completely honest.  I felt guilty. I felt like I had to make excuses as to why I wasn’t participating. I feared I would appear ungrateful. I felt like I was letting people down.

In short, I felt badly because I was not supporting Komen.

Does something seem wrong with this picture to you?

This got me to thinking and then asking myself some questions…

Here’s a few I came up with.

When exactly did Komen become the face of breast cancer and maybe even the face of cancer period?

When did it become almost un-American or at least unacceptable to criticize Komen or choose to support a different organization instead?

When did people like me start feeling guilty for questioning?

When did people like me start to feel a need to make excuses for not running in races?

When did any of this become about my action or lack thereof?

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Shouldn’t Komen feel badly? At least a little bit?

Today, I am emphatically stating, “No more guilt, no more excuses!”

I will no longer feel badly. I will no longer feel guilty. I will no longer make excuses.  I will no longer be quiet , well, it’s not like I have been, but…

I will no longer apologize or make excuses when people ask me why I don’t support the “big K” and I don’t mean K Mart!

However, it seems to me Komen could stand to do some apologizing.

For what you might ask?

For starters how about for the lack of dollars funneled to research. According to their own fiscal records, about 23% of dollars taken in are designated for research, not even close to being enough in my book when your mantra is eradicating breast cancer.

Next, how about apologizing to people who have been denied financial assistance during diagnosis and treatment because they didn’t properly qualify or “fit in” with Komen’s mission?

How about apologizing for not communicating current breast cancer information with complete accuracy? For example, awareness and mammograms are important, but they are not the entire solution.

How about apologizing for taking issue with the “little guys” like “Kites for the Cure” and “Mush for the Cure,” who also want to use the words for the cure in their mantra?

How about apologizing for deciding to “borrow” the name of another organization when contemplating relabeling October as Breast Cancer Action month? (Maybe even Komen is saying enough with the awareness…)

How about apologizing to the many other cancer organizations who almost appear not to matter? Is it really about survival of the fittest biggest?

How about apologizing to those with cancer who do not fit the “proper cancer survivor mold”? You know the one, the one depicting everyone smiling and surviving gracefully while perhaps preparing for a race as well.

And perhaps the biggest apology should go to all those with metastatic breast cancer. Their faces seem almost hidden from view in the “Komen cancer mirror.”

And then, of course, there is that elusive cure…

Finally, perhaps Komen should apologize for not listening.

That’s all people like me are really asking for, to be listened to.

Komen has accomplished good things and I am, in fact, grateful for those things. I really am. The trouble is, there is still so much more work to be done.

And this work doesn’t involve pushing perfume.

It’s time for Komen to listen, evolve and truly lead.

It’s time for change. It’s past time.

 

Do you think Komen is up to meeting the challenges of the future and willing to change?

Do you ever feel guilty or make excuses for not supporting a well-known organization?

Do you feel Komen has exclusive rights to the phrase “for the cure”?

67 thoughts on “Susan G. Komen for the Cure® – No More Apologies!

  1. Well done, Nancy! You certainly aren’t the only one feeling this way. I’m with you and the guilt comes along, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked to donate to someone’s walk, but because I realize the person asking has the best of intentions, I don’t want to seem ungrateful or unsupportive of them. So, I give. It’s not even about the cause anymore, but the person seeking donations. Which is crazy, but I guess we’re made of tender stuff. In the future, I will try to explain my position, but it’s a tough spot to be in, going against the big pink.

    Great job.

    1. Stacey, Thank you for understanding where I’m coming from. I do support all the walkers/racers/donators because they do mean well. They are doing great things. It all gets a bit awkward at times, but like I said, I’m done apologizing. Thank for your comments.

  2. Excellent questions Nancy! And brava for daring to stand up and be counted!

    If Komen were a for-profit corporation, the shareholders and other stakeholder would be up in arms at the lack of real accountability, transparency and communication to date, as well as the unfulfilled promises and a seeming inability to evolve.

    And one more thing, why are we asking these questions? Shouldn’t it be Komen?

    1. Rachel, Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to comment. And you’re right, that was my whole point really, shouldn’t Komen be asking? Shouldn’t Komen be “apologizing?” The whole big “pink picture” is skewed.

  3. Good post, Nancy! The important thing is that we all pay more attention to where we’re giving. Let’s face it, cancer non-profits are big business!!! And like any company, some do better or worse work.

    I, too, have felt uneasy with Komen. I know so many people who have really been helped by them. I cannot deny the camaraderie & feeling of positive purpose that comes from running with 20,000 like-minded people. But mostly, I appreciate what Komen has done to help move BC away from a disease that was something to be ashamed of, that was only spoken of in whispers with shaking heads.

    Those good things don’t cancel the need for accountability, however. BTW, what smell do you associate with BC? I’m thinking it must smell like alcohol preps (a smell that still makes me slightly nauseous), a slight hint of vomit, & rancid meat (that was what all meat smelled like to me during 1st round of chemo – couldn’t have any in my house).

    Thanks again for a good, thoughtful post.

    1. Julie, Oh you are so right. Everyone needs to make the extra effort to find out where their hard earned dollars are going and on what they are being spent. Like you, I appreciate the good work Komen has done too. But, when you are the self-proclaimed global leader, well you simply cannot lose sight of your stated mission, and in my opinion, Komen has.

  4. Great post! I have heard rumblings about Komen since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Didn’t think much about them. But I have to admit that the sea of walking pink bothers me too.

    I think part of my uneasiness is tied to the “happy face” that is affixed to everything Komen. I don’t feel happy about having gotten BC. I don’t want to put a smile on it. I am impressed, however, with the number of people who participate in the Komen races; it gives people a place to gather with others who have gone through (or watched someone else go through) the BC experience.

    But I am a little unnerved by what appears to be a relatively low amount of dollars being funneled into research at the end of the day.

    Maybe this is the reality of the nonprofit world, that gobs of money must be spent before any real money for real research can be raised. But a small voice inside me says that there is also another force at hand here — a booming PR voice that is trying hard to be the biggest and the best in the Land of Pink.

    Bringing awareness to BC has been critical and Komen should be commended for doing that. But it’s time to switch gears and start funneling a LOT more of the money they raise into research and assisting those already afflicted. That would make me feel more like participating.

    1. The Big C and Me, Thank you so much for your important remarks. I never gave any of this much thought either until recently. I agree with you about the “happy face” that seems affixed to all things “breast cancer pink.” Mostly, I just can’t accept that an organization raking in gobs of money while proclaiming its mission is to eradicate breast cancer should be content with 20-25% being spent on research. That’s my biggest gripe of all. And the fact that they never seem to address the metastatic breast cancer community. And the fact they don’t partner with others. And the fact they claim ownership of words like “for the cure.” Well, you get my point!

  5. I’ve decided to boycott Cancer Research UK charity shops after looking on their website and will no longer for donate items or buy from them. I’ve watched two Race for Life events where I live and it gets bigger every year and there are three this year as opposed to two last year. So glad I don’t know anybody who was taking part who would badger me into also taking part or sponsoring. If I did I would refuse but at first not give a reason. If the asker gets emotional I will stand my ground and then say that I would rather donate to other charities and cannot afford to take on another one. Then at the last resort give my honest reasons.

    1. Teresa, Thank you for commenting. I think you have the right to donate (or not donate) to any organization you choose. We shouldn’t have to make apologies or feel guilty should we?

  6. thank you nancy for weighing in. i think your questions are SPOT ON.

    i would love to see some answers now.

    komen, are you listening? the chorus of voices is growing…

  7. Fantastic take on this, Nancy. And isn’t it indicative of how much Komen has gone off the rails when people feel reluctant to call them to account? There are so many people who feel this way, aware of a troubling ambivalence about them, but afraid to appear somehow ungrateful if they take Komen to task. It just shows you how much their mission has been perverted by their corporate power image. They are supposed to be working for us, not the other way around.

    So good that you have articulated what a lot of people have been feeling and thinking.

    1. Kathi, I’m glad you added your thoughts to this conversation. I have certainly felt reluctant to criticize, and the thing is, I still want to support Komen. I want Komen to live up to its own stated mission that’s all. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Participating in one of Komen’s breast cancer walks is a way for people to show support for family members who have or have had cancer. I would say Komen is very good at bringing people together, especially when someone may not know what she can do to help. That was so thoughtful of that relative to reach out to you and try to get the family involved in something together. If you haven’t already, you should call her and thank her and suggest a different event that would be more appropriate to participate in together. And then let me know so I can come!

    Could you give some examples of some other organizations that do a better job? Are there other walks a family could participate in other than Komen events?

    1. Lindsay, You are right, there is no doubt about it, Komen is very good at what it does. Its marketing has been quite succesful! Yes, that was a thoughtful thing for our relative to do. I don’t know which walks are particularly good for funding research. If someone does, please let us know in a comment. Personally, I like Breast Cancer Action and the National Breast Cancer Coalition as organizations to support, but I’m sure there are many other good ones. I have heard some good things about the Avon walk, but I don’t really know… I’m open to all suggestions…

  9. Komen absolutely does an excellent job of getting people together. What I would like to see them do is take the next step — take all that money they raise and refocus their efforts on their original mission.

    How can an organization be “for the cure” if they don’t invest in research? They are the Goliath in the breast cancer world and they need to step up and lead the way.

    Thank you Nancy for taking this on. I know that some people will always take this as “Nancy’s mean” but until we all demand something better, nothing will change.

    Katie

    1. Katie, I agree with you. Komen needs to utilize its strengths and dollars in ways that get it closer to meeting its own goals. Its monumental “success” demands it and we should all settle for nothing less. Thanks for your comments.

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    Nancy my dear you already know my feelings on the subject the obscenity of it all.. so I thought I’d give you a few rounds of applause on the fantastic job you are doing getting the word out!!!
    Love Alli XXX

  11. Nancy although I am an ‘outsider’ and not qualified to comment, there are, unfortunately, companies the world over that could be ‘accused’ of the same thing. Personally, I am over them all.

  12. I totally agree. I just spent the last two days working at a Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society. They have done much to help me through my cancer journey. I know they aren’t “breast cancer” specific. I feel much better about donating my time and money to them then I do Susan G. Komen. Thanks for your wonderful article.

    1. Linda, Thanks for sharing your opinion and offering an alternative. I’m glad you feel good about where you donate your time and money. Hope to see you back soon!

  13. Nancy -there really is so much PINK that anyone can stomach. Komen is part of the “industry” of breast cancer. They have found a financially lucrative niche and are very proprietary. If they want to “own” breast cancer…I for one am willing to hand it to them on a silver platter! For years I ran in the “race for the cure” and naively thought I was “doing something” to raise awareness…of what? for a worthy cause? a disease that has no rhyme or reason? an industry that retailers greedily look forward to fill in the gaps between Labor Day and Halloween? Once I received my diagnosis I realized just how UNAWARE I was. Komen needs to do more than apologize. They need to cease and desist in their unforseen (maybe not?) “mission” of feeding an industry that relies on the proliferation of a (potentially) deadly disease.

    1. TC, Thank you so much for sharing your frank opinions. I agree, there is only so much pink and awareness people can take without it all seeming just “over the top.” I think you hit on something here about a breast cancer “industry” that has popped up and turned into a huge retail/marketing tool that actually has been quite succesful in terms of dollars, and not just for Komen. It sort of feels like breast cancer is being “used” doesn’t it?

  14. just catching up with blogs after vacation. This is so well said. This was the first year in ten I did not run our race for the cure…i felt guilty and relieved. My dilemma has always been that my onco made it clear that the protocol that saved my life was komen research..

    but i am so sick of it all and this was very well timed and very well said girl, good job!

    1. Lauren, It must have felt strange to not participate and I understand your conflicting emotions. What your oncologist said just solidifies this even further, so much potential is there for more good work. Thanks for your comments. It’s good to hear from you.

  15. thank you for this post. As my best friend is fighting for her very young life against breast cancer, I feel like I should support ANY research. But the truth is, I’ve not been a fan of the Big K for a long time. Not only is the amount of funding devoted to research terribly minute, the research includes vivisection (animal testing) which is not only inhumane (karma people!) but ineffective. There are other organizations out there that are much more responsible and ethical. All K seems to do is market things with, as my friend said, those damn pink ribbons. We need to be vocal and can, by raising informed awareness, shift support to better organizations.

    1. Lindsey, Thank you very much for adding to this discussion. I’m sorry to hear about your best friend and wish her the best. I agree, Komen’s research funding is terribly inadequate. That’s what needs to change. They continue to vehementaly fight for their “rights” to the “for the cure” words, so why aren’t they sending more dollars toward research? Cure goes hand in hand with research. It doesn’t make sense to me. Hope to “hear” from you again, Lindsey.

  16. Still so darn torn, Nancy…. However, I must tell you that I helped someone recently with a race (car races) with 100% of the raised $ going to a particular cancer organization (one I do not support–okay American Cancer Society). This is a teeny town (pop 1200). Guess who got a phone call from Komen re: the word “race”? Seriously? It was really car races! That did make me start listening to the rumblings and be more open-minded to hearing you and others.
    I love reading your blog posts–you make me think! Really think!
    :-) Lisa

    1. Lisa, Oh my gosh! Are you kidding me? Komen called because of the word race? And this was a car race? Unbelievable. Well, get on board, Lisa. We need you! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Nancy,
    I know they’ve heard us because THEY called ME to talk about it. We may have a next step in the works for us all to come together, at least that’s what we agreed to. I’m calling them again today to see where THEY’RE at on it. More when I know more.

    XOXOXO,
    Brenda

    1. Brenda, I think they’ve heard us too. Now they just need to listen and make meaningful changes. We don’t need “lip service.” Good work, Brenda! Thank you!

  18. Nancy, this is a great post. Thank you again for taking on the big problems.

    I think it is time we stop being nice girls and start asking these difficult questions. I am tired of feeling like I have to apologize for having breast cancer when I hear the backlash against organizations like Komen. I am tired of hearing only about races, screening and awareness when we should be hearing about exercise, nutrition, and decreased alcohol consumption. If we want to stop this disease, and all other cancers, we need to stop wasting our time painting things pink and start applying our energies to making real change – in the research labs and in our homes.

    Sending big hugs to you and to Brenda – let’s hope this is the start of some of that change.

    1. Cyn, Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. I’ve missed your words of wisdom! You’re so right, we do need to stop apologizing and we do need to stop wasting time “painting everything pink.” Awareness doesn’t equal prevention does it? And there won’t be real solutions without research and lots of it.

  19. Love this posting, Nancy! It speaks such truth. There’s only one place for Komen pink, and that’s Pepto Bismol.

    I really think that the problem also lies in Komen’s influence on the press. The cameras keep rolling, so everyone gets swept up in the good they think Komen is doing.

    Your questions are right on target. I wish I had the answers….oh wait, I do….RESEARCH!

    1. Beth, Perhaps the press needs to do a better job doing their research! Komen does seem to have a lot of influence over the them too. Thanks for your comments, Beth. And you might be right about that Pepto Bismol!

  20. Nancy- so much money is invested into the pink industry – retailers, non-profits, pharma, clinics, careers. It raises the concern of what is driving what, and if there truly is any incentive to finding a cure.

    1. tc, Thanks for the comment. I fear you are right. What is driving what? That is a very good question. Sometimes I wonder about that cure incentive too. I don’t want to be too cynical, but…

  21. well said! i have taken issue with this org in the past simply for it’s monopoly on cancer causes.. pink and komen do NOT represent all cancer. and importunately not everyone understands that.. after my dad passed i was given pink key chains.. pink ribbon stickers.. and even a handmade pink ribbon quilt.. i appreciate the thought honestly.. but my dad had kidney cancer (and don’t get my started on the stupid ribbon color change in that dept.)… i still do my races and walks proudly wearing a shirt i made with every ribbon and stating “cure one cure all”.. i still support cancer causes of all kinds because my hope is not gone.. i am still looking for that cure i have been promised… thank you for this post it has given me so much more to think about!

    1. Ana Marie, That is one of the big problems with the pink ribboon culture, other cancers seem to be somehow lost in the shuffle and that’s just not right. What is the reason for this? Well, I think it has to do with certain body parts, but don’t get me started either! You are doing what feels right for you regarding the races, walks and causes you choose to support. Good for you! Thank you so much for your comments. And again, I’m sorry for your loss, Ana.

  22. “energizing science to find the cures” takes dollars. That will not happen for those of us with metastatic breast cancer when only 2-3% of Komen money goes to research for stage 4.

    It’s a sad commentary for the 44,000 women and men in this country who die from breast cancer each year that Komen’s “feel good” approach has led to many people thinking there actually is a cure for breast cancer.

  23. Wow, Nancy, this is incredible. I have heard this sentiment from so many people. Quietly. Nervously. Apologetically. And then, POW! As soon as there is space to speak with honesty about concerns we have with pink culture and industry the flood gates open. You’ve just given others the permission to say what they think and how they feel. No apologies. No permission needed.

    You make solid points, and I believe you and everyone else who cares deeply about making a difference in breast cancer has a right to be infuriated about the lack of progress, the misappropriation of funds, the lack of meaningful awareness and action, the fear mongering and profiteering, the exploitation of good will, the multitude of pink crap that lines store shelves and later landfills, the fun at the expense of diagnosed women, the lack of attention to environmental causes… Well, look at that… you’ve just opened my own flood gates…

    Komen is not involved in all of these core issues in pink ribbon culture, but as the face of breast cancer culture, as the self-appointed leader of the global breast cancer movement, as the organization with the loudest megaphone and a lot of revenue, it has an obligation to deal with these issues.

    As you said, there is a difference between hearing and listening. And changing your mantra from “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” to “Breast Cancer Action Month” is not quite good enough. They can do better. They must.

    –Gayle Sulik

    1. Gayle, Like usual, you voiced your thoughts very well. I agree, many people have been unfairly made to feel guilty while standing “on the side lines.” It seems wrong to me that many of us are made to feel uncomfortable and sometimes portrayed as ungrateful. Clearly we are not ungrateful for the work Komen has done, but as you said, Komen is the self-appointed global leader and with that position comes great responsibility to live up to its own stated mission. It has a loud megaphone and the revenue, that says it all. Thanks for the great comments.

  24. Great post. I shared it on the Pinkwashing Wall of Shame on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nopinkwashing).

    Even though I know I’m right, I’ve shared that hesitation to tell people, especially cancer survivors why I don’t support Komen. When I told my triathlon training class that I wouldn’t participate in Tri For The Cure they looked at me like I had just killed a puppy.

    I also can’ support an organization that focuses more on a cure than on prevention, so that no one else needs a cure and partners with the very companies that are polluting our bodies and environment, and fighting against legislation that would protect us from being exposed to toxic chemicals without our consent.

    To me that’s the proof that it really is more about money that eradicating cancer.

    1. Danika, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Also, thanks for sharing my post on Facebook. I laughed when I read your statement about being looked at like you had just killed a puppy. Funny, but then not so funny. I understand your concerns about Komen’s lack of attention/support in regard to prevention, pollution and toxins too, and the partnering with companies that contribute to such things is really inexcusable. Thank you for your passion and for your comments here.

  25. BRAVO, Nancy for articulating the conflict that so many of us feel that have lived through this horrible disease. People are stunned to learn that this particular cause marketing has really hit a nerve amongst survivors and the BC community. Very little of the revenue from these “pink” products goes towards finding a cure (we’re talking a few cents on the dollar from the vast majority of them). Even worse, there is no formal criteria or vetting for any products that slap on a pink ribbon every October (one of the most flagrant examples from 2010 was Mike’s Hard Lemonade — alcohol use has been definitively linked as a BC risk factor). Similarly, some of the ingredients in pink ribbon food products contain known carcinogens and growth hormones (think dairy, etc.) Although I’d like to think that corporate intentions (and consumer behavior) is in the right place, the truth is that people are being duped into this annual ‘pinkwashing’ under the guise that their purchases are raising awareness. In reality (if you read the fine print), most of this is only raising revenue for companies that have already pledged a pre-determined amount to the cause. Let’s face it — BC has come out of the closet over the past 20+ years and is no longer a shameful secret. Awareness has been accomplished — now it’s time to get serious about funding a cure and every dollar counts! Empower your purchases — Think Before You Pink. : ) (Now if we could just find a way to end the viral and insipid FB status updates feigning BC awareness by posting bra colors/candy cravings/purse location. There is NOTHING flirtatious or sexy about breast cancer, people! If these geniuses want to help, maybe they can start posting the date and time of their last (or upcoming) mammogram on their wall. It would be equally cryptic and might save a life.

    1. Beth, Thanks for your comments; you make some really valid points. I do think it’s time to move beyond the awareness part and get on with funding research so we can study things like the biology of cancer more thoroughly and try to figure out why some people get it in the first place and why some cancers metastisize and others don’t to name a couple. We need to develop less harsh treatments and then, of course, focus more on prevention. There’s still so much to figure out. If all this pinkwashing was bringing in dollars for this kind of thing, I would say bring it on! Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be the case. And you’re right about all the silly flirtatious stuff surrounding awareness. It’s just that, silly. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  26. Nancy, would you permit us to use a portion of your blog post in a video we are making to support this exact position? I and my friend Debbie are both breast cancer survivors. Debbie runs an organization called The Pink Daisy Project that supports young women struggling with the financial hardships of breast cancer. OUr goal with this video is to get your message (which is the same as our message) heard. We plan on being bold and even a little shocking to open people’s eyes to our frustration over the hijacking of pink/breast cancer. In fact, I plan on bearing my breastless chest during the video. Even though Debbie & I are both professional writers, you stated our position far more eloquently and powerfully than we could. We would be happy to give you credit in the video if you want. WOuld you give permission to use your words in our message?

    1. Jeanne, Thank you very much for you kind words about my blog post. It sounds like your project is striving to fill a very important need for young women struggling with financial hardships that often accompany a cancer diagnosis. Giood for you. Please feel free to share my words in your video. I’ll send you a personal message about it as well. Thanks again for commenting.

  27. … except the Komen organization gives 80.5% of funds to research, not 23%. See http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4509

    or this:
    http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/consumer/how-much-of-your-donation-goes-to-breast-cancer-research

    These events are a wonderful way for people who want to do something to feel like they are helping. And they are helping. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to hear voices demanding more, lord knows we need more. But these organizations are sending a lot of money to research, and 80 cents on the dollar is not bad. Charity navigator gives Komen their highest rating, higher than ACS.

    As an nonHodgekins lymphoma patient myself I sometimes feel slighted that so much attention is paid to breast cancer in particular. I think though that we should be grateful for organizations that send money to research. To rail against research because there is no cure yet it to entirely misunderstand the nature of research. I am a scientist and personally know many cancer researchers. I’ll tell you what, research is hard. And slow.

    1. Mike, Thanks for dropping by again. I guess we have differing opinions again! After a fair amount of researching and reading the blogs of others who study these things, I decided a while ago that I cannot support Komen, though admittedly, they have done some good things. Your statement claiming Komen spends 80.5% on research is just wrong. Here’s a link to an informative piece written by a woman I highly respect who also happens to be an accountant. She did a recent analysis of the numbers and the amount targeted toward research is more around 25% if that, not nearly enough in my opinion. Here’s the link. http://cancerculturenow.blogspot.com/2011/01/komen-by-numbers.html Also, Charity Navigator does not do a complete analysis about where dollars are spent, so their ratings are not really telling the whole story. Of course, you are entitled to your opinions and are free to donate where ever you like, but as for me, I will not be giving a dime to Komen. I prefer to donate elsewhere. Thanks for commenting, Mike. And BTW, I don’t blame you one bit for feeling slighted, but that’s another issue… And you’re absolutely right, research is slow. That’s why it should be the MAIN focus, again in my opinion.

  28. I’d like to know where you get your statistics on where their money is spent, because it is clearly incorrect. Can you validate your accusations of only 23% going to research. Maybe you should back up that statement with some verification. And if not for Komen, who would be there bringing out Breast Cancer Awareness the way they do? Don’t support them, but don’t bash the good that has come out of what they do accomplish!

    1. Lee, Thank you for commenting. Actually I did provide a link to Komen’s financial statements which states that Komen allocates 25% to research, so I did back up my accusations. I also have links in my other Komen/race post in which the figures show 19% is allocated to research. That’s why I went with 23%, clearly an amount that is not enough when your mantra is cure. I did acknowledge the good things Komen has done. I will continue to speak out about the low dollar amount (my opinion) spent on research. Telling the truth is not “bashing.” I also think it’s way past time to move beyond simplistic awareness campaigns. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  29. I am curious about a few things. You said people make you feel guilty for not supporting Komen – how is that Komen’s fault? Next you said 23% to research isn’t enough – there is never enough by Komen only takes 25% of the funds to the national level (which last year was $63 million. The other monies stay local to support all women. I am not sure of these ones you say Komen won’t support because they don’t fit the mold. Komen is not a direct service provider. They grant out funds to clinics, hospitals, groups etc to help women with breast health education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, bills during treatment, life after breast cancer and even programs dealing with Stage 4. Which group is being shunned?
    I agree that people make not supporting Komen like living in New York and not being a Yankee fan. It is always your choice. Komen gets yelled at for giving too much to research and not enough local and then too much local and not enough research. People get mad if they are not asked to be included enough and then complain that they are asked and “hounded” too much. And they are under constant attack because they are so well known. I don’t see anyone attacking the American Cancer Society.

    1. Jenn, My guilt is mine alone, but I actually don’t feel guilty anymore. That’s why the post was entitled “No More Apoloiges.” Now I feel free to explain myself fully when people ask me why I do not support Komen. I cannot support an organization that allocate 25% or less to research when the mantra is all about cure. You’re right, it’s always about choice, but so many people are not aware of the financials. When you are the self-proclaimed leader, criticism must be expected. Transparency is called for. Actually the ACS has been criticized too. Komen is in a whole different league with the pink ribbon branding, marketing, partnering with questionable businesses/products and self-promotion that goes on. Thanks for voicing your opinions.

  30. I don’t think they are in a different league. Avon does it all the time. LiveSTRONG has even had a few questionable partnerships over donations etc.
    Just trying to understand – do you think that the 75% that Komen keeps in each community for screenings and treatment assistance etc should all go to research then? 100% to research and nothing local? Regardless of the division of funds it is never enough.

    1. Jenn, I actually think Komen is in a different league as they are the self-proclaimed world leader in their supposed mission to eradicate breast cancer. And when you mantra is cure, it seems to me at least 50% should be going to research. Even that would seem too low as far as I’m concerned, but it would be better. Thanks for stopping by again. I appreciate your thoughts.

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