If you haven't read this post yet, please note that everything has now changed. If you have read it, please note that everything has now changed.
If you're like me, you approve of events like Race for the Cure (which is American and not the same thing as the Canadian "Run for the Cure") because it promotes an awareness of breast cancer and raises money to fight breast cancer, but wish it didn't also create such a showy spectacle of... togetherness... camaraderie... tolerance. All those people pulling together to fight a common enemy, drawing strength from one another, etc...etc... Nauseating. How can a sensible person combat evil while simultaneously excluding and disempowering people?
Thankfully, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, that charitable behemoth, has once again proved that it can rustle up both funds and controversy. A few years ago, it trademarked its pink ribbon and started telling other charities they couldn't use the phrase "for the cure" in any way, ever. They set lawyers on charities with initiatives like "Kites for the Cure" and "Cupcakes for a Cure" who dared either a) raise money for a non-breast-cancer cancer cause, or b) raise money to fight breast cancer for an organization not called the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It's also been partnered with companies that engage in "pinkwashing", a name for what happens when companies use pink packaging, announce that proceeds from their product will go to breast cancer research, and then never actually reveal how much money was involved or where, precisely, it will be going. And it's partnered with companies like KFC which (although we know they're simply a victim of "crispyfatwashing") have been associated with general unhealthiness.
But Komen recently decided it had set it sights too low - that it was, in fact, possible to be more ambitious and alienate more people. It emerged yesterday that Komen will no longer be giving any money to Planned Parenthood. This money - hundreds of thousands of dollars - was primarily devoted to the subsidizing of breast exams for low-income and at-risk women. Komen claims it put a stop to the grants because Planned Parenthood is currently being investigated by the U.S. Congress. Of course, that investigation was instigated by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla) at the behest of pro-life groups, and most Democrats claim it's stupid and senseless. Oddly enough, a woman named Karen Handel was recently appointed senior VP of public policy at Komen, and she ran as a Republican for governor of Georgia two years ago (unsuccessfully) on an anti-abortion platform and is chums with Sarah Palin.
So bravo, Susan G. Komen for the Cure! You have made it possible to run for a cure, while also running away from people who as a result might not know in a timely fashion that they're in need of one.