This coming May I would have participated in my 6th Race for the Cure as a breast cancer survivor. I would have organized a team, raised funds and spread the word about Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s good work. Instead, I am mailing all my medals, my shirts and my coffee cup back to Komen.
After I was diagnosed with stage II invasive ductal carcinoma, I wanted to do something to make a difference in breast cancer. So, like many others, I turned to my family and friends and asked them to join me and support the largest breast cancer organization in the world, Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of the pink ribbon. But I turned a blind eye to the pinkwashing partnerships: the pink buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken for the cure, the pink ribbon handguns, the Promise Me perfume. I swallowed my discomfort because I trusted Komen. And because they were the ones offering me a free massage in my oncologist’s office right after my diagnosis. I needed that massage back then but now, six years later, I need real progress. I need this epidemic to stop.
Komen’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood opened up my eyes to the current state of affairs in breast cancer. Too many breast cancer organizations are pinkwashers who exploit this disease to make a buck at any cost; have agendas that put politics and profits before patients; place too much emphasis on mammograms despite their demonstrated failure to reduce the death rate; and, repeatedly leave poor and underserved communities and women of color to fend for themselves.
This year, I opened my eyes and I am not going to ignore what I see. I stand firm in my decision to sever my ties with Komen for the Cure because I need to make a difference.
Breast Cancer Action doesn’t take funding from organizations or corporations who make money from this disease, so BCAction needs the support of individuals like you and me. This year, I choose to stand with the thousands of people at Breast Cancer Action who will work together to make the changes that will address and end this epidemic.
I really hope you’ll join me,
Nancy Speir, Former Komen Support & BCAction Member