Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has been far more than a charitable organization to me. It made me a survivor and not a victim. It gave me a finish line to concentrate on during my treatment and race to every year. It provided me with a cause to galvanize my spirit. Through participation in and fundraising for its races, my family and I were able to convert our fears about my cancer into help for other women and concentrate our energies into research, education, and advocacy for women's health. While there are certainly larger donors, our family regularly contributed and actively fundraised. My husband and I were even honored to be recognized as one of Susan G. Komen's Survivor and Co-Survivors of the year in 2010.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure also gave me an outlet to teach my two young daughters about charitable giving and destigmatizing disease. My older daughter participated in her first race when she was just seven weeks old with us carrying her along the route. Last year, at age 10, she raised over $11,000 and ran with me while her eight-year-old sister cheered loudly for us at the finish line with a sign that read "Go Mom Go!"
Like millions of other Americans I was terribly disappointed when I learned of the foundation's decision to pull its funding from Planned Parenthood Federation. Disappointment doesn't really cover it. I felt angry that an organization so well run and scientifically-based would forget its mission and cave to political pressure. I felt sad because its decision would cut off needed funding for women's health and divide what has been a strong organization united in the fight against breast cancer. I felt scared that if an organization as sophisticated as Susan G. Komen could reverse its longstanding support for Planned Parenthood's women's health services, the fate of our current laws on abortion certainly was in grave danger. But most of all, I felt a deep sense of betrayal by an organization that I respected and supported.
The foundation's apology and pledge to continue support for Planned Parenthood has given me renewed hope. I sincerely want to be able to continue to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but I know that it will be much harder to ask my friends and colleagues for their contributions as part of my fundraising. I also know I will have to watch the foundation's decisions more closely. Just like the fight against my breast cancer, I know the road will be tense and difficult, but as long as Susan G. Komen stays focused on our shared goal, I will continue to race for the cure with it.