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Wendy Bumgardner

Will Susan G. Komen Backlash Hurt Walkers?

By February 3, 2012

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3-Day WalkersWhen breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen For the Cure decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood for breast health exams on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, they set off a huge backlash. Update: Komen reversed their decision on 2/3/12. Will there now be a backlash on the backlash?

Their Facebook page lit up with angry donors pledging never to support them again, and donations to Planned Parenthood replaced the lost funding within 24 hours. Two of my personal Facebook friends changed their avatars to anti-Komen symbols. Yet others strongly favored the decision and donations to Komen also rose 100%

With the flip-flop, will both sides stay mad at Komen and stop donating or walking their walks?

I was one of millions of walkers who supported Susan G. Komen for the Cure last year by raising money via their charity walks. Will this backlash lead to big drops in participation at their local Race for the Cure walk/runs and their Susan G. Komen 3-Day For the Cure Walks? The 3-Day walkers must raise $2300 in order to participate -- will it be even more difficult to raise those funds this year?

Losing good will is a huge blow to charities. Susan G. Komen was already targeted by pro-life supporters when they decided to fund Planned Parenthood in 2005. Now they have angered the pro-choice supporters and those who just don't like to see decisions that appear to be political.

While I never heard objections to Komen funding Planned Parenthood, which could have come up when I raised funds for them last year, I saw the immediate backlash when they stopped the funding. This would lead me to second thoughts if I were planning to register for a Komen event this year -- I would probably switch to an Avon Walk for Breast Cancer instead. But if your donor base is strongly pro-life, the new awareness that Komen funded Planned Parenthood programs might lead to a backlash on the backlash and reversal of their defunding decision.

I also saw someone post on the Komen Facebook wall that they will never buy pink ribbon-labeled products again. The pink ribbon is generic for breast cancer charities and not tied to Susan G. Komen. It would be a nasty backlash if all breast cancer charities suffered because of the Komen decision. Our Breast Cancer Guide lists the five best-rated breast cancer charities.

How will you react to this? Vote in our poll.

Photo Wendy Bumgardner

February 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm
(1) Regina says:

It really is too sad that everyone makes this matter into the big political bombshell that it is. Whether someone is prolife or prochoice, can’t we all agree that breast cancer is unnecessary and we should all try to support efforts to eradicate it? You don’t see outbursts like this about eradicating smallpox or polio.

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