On March 24, 2012 The Associated Press announced at least five high-ranking executives from Komen have resigned.
On March 22, 2012 The Washington Post reported that a prominent Howard University surgeon, Dr. La Salle D. Leffall, Jr. stepped down from the charity's board.
NBC News claimed Komen's donations are down sharply. In southwest Florida, donations are down nearly thirty percent; in Lafayette, Louisiana they were down twenty-seven percent and in Fort Worth, Texas, registrations for races were down forty percent.
New York City cancelled it's annual "Gala," saying it was uncertain about further funding.
On March 22nd, 2012, NBC correspondent Lisa Myers explained:
The organization known for its iconic pink ribbon is taking a hit where it hurts, at Races for the Cure around the country... Eve Ellis, a former New York board member whose family has raised or donated about $250,000, says she's closed her check book." Ellis lamented: 'I've stopped giving to Komen because it no longer represents who I thought Komen was. And that, to me, is extremely sad.'
Myers continued: "Komen's hierarchy is in turmoil... Three top executives have resigned. All said it was a personal decision, but had opposed Komen's recent effort to withdraw funding of Planned Parenthood....there are growing demands for Komen to clean house."
Is this Komen's fall from grace? Or is this the the beginning of the fall of the Komen Empire?
I've always had great respect for Nancy Brinker and her unwavering, altruistic concern for people with Breast Cancer. These qualities alone made me a fan and supporter and advocate of hers, back when I was Stage I.
Now the foundation has crossed many boundaries with the Planned Parenthood debacle. Even more daunting is the connection with Penn State and the schmoozing with the NFL. Let's go back to 2010 with the law suits, suing lesser charitable groups over the phrase "For the Cure."
Perhaps even worse, and to me unconscionable, is the huge gap Komen has created between the Stages of Breast Cancer. These groups are totally divided. Stage I and II are the "Pinkies"; Stage III is borderline "Pink" and Stage IV "invisible."
Yes, poor Stage IV. We are left behind in research funding, new cutting edge treatments, support groups, the general public and, of course, for the most part, October. I do not believe this was intentional on Komen's part, but it's real, I know, I'm in Stage IV!!
I believe when one loses focus of one's original goal or mission, in this case curing Breast Cancer, one has lost control. Komen, in trying to protect their "empire" of brands, taglines, logos, phrases, marketing and so on, is suffocating in its own "pink haze." Kelly O'Keefe of VCU Brand Center made an observation about the self-inflicted wounds of Komen. "There's nothing more tragic than a management team that doesn't understand their own brand."
Komen seems to have lost the understanding of their followers. They don't seem to notice the connection between the appeal of other groups offering the same help. We the public are aware. We are aware that Komen has changed it's attitude and original mission from saving lives to bringing the world the ubiquitous "Pink Campaign."
We don't need anymore awareness! What we need to know is How and Why we go from Stage I to Stage IV and die. Why is the concentration then NOT on Stage IV so we never need to get there, period?
As the public now becomes more educated and the criticism mounts, those who have the most to lose are first and foremost the suffering patients -- and then those who profit from the Pink Conception. Unfortunately, Breast Cancer has become "big business." Corporations alone seem to gravitate to the BC bandwagon to make themselves look good. Anytime a disease is used for individual profit it's down right unethical!
This rise in corporate involvement and politics with Breast Cancer fund raising and charities will certainly be the fall of the Komen Empire.
In America alone, the odds of getting Breast Cancer has risen to one in every eight people. How is this possible with all the billions taken in over the past forty years?
The Roman Empire prospered and grew perhaps because they adopted the concept of "citizen," not "subject," thus building the best army and best communication system in the world at the time. Part of Rome's decline was the abandonment of the concept of "citizen" instead of "subject."
Komen prospered and grew because the organization adopted a strong concept for the "Breast Cancer Patient," focusing on"speedy research and a cure." It built the best army of "Pinkies" with some of the best publicity and communication strategies of our time.
Is Komen declining because they abandoned the initial concept of the "Breast Cancer Patient" and "speedy research and a cure" and began running "The Komen Empire" of the rich, highborn and powerful?
Komen's persona is dwindling quickly. For Susan G. Komen's sake, I hope this is NOT "The Fall of the Komen Empire" and perhaps just a wake up call for so many!
Until next time,