I never thought I'd blog
on this topic. It's a sensitive one in several different respects and not one I have been willing to touch with a 10 foot pole. However, the time has come as I am sure at least one person is curious out there. If not, for the sake of this post, perhaps you can pretend?
During the fall of 2010, I went to hell and back, quite literally. From discovering my lump (on my own, thank you very much) to the not-so-good doctor's appointment, to the horrible first 'ogram, sonogram and biopsy and all that followed. It was a season that was supposed to be filled with changes and colors and instead was filled with misery and change, but not the kind we wanted.
Despite all of the days that seemed so full of uncertainty, there were several things that kept me going. I blogged about nearly everything (very cathartic), I had friends come out of the woodwork to help us (and we will forever pay forward the kindnesses) and my husband's employer showed amazing urgency and flexibility. I would like to make it abundantly clear just how grateful we are, as I fear this post may indicate something otherwise and that is simply not the case. However, I am so very tired of pink-washing, everything Komen-related and, in a small, sad way, glad that they pulled their funding from Planned Parenthood.
Make no mistake, I am no fan of Komen and I do appreciate the good Planned Parenthood has accomplished. Oh, and before I go any further, this post is NOT a political debate. I appreciate everyone else's views on heady political topics and pray for the same respect in return. This is NOT a debate about abortion (yes, I know some will say it is no matter what) and given that I completely respect other people's views, I expect that I will not be railed for my personal and political views here or in person. I know there are people who have made up their mind with respect to how I feel on certain topics and I will simply state that they not only have never lived in my shoes, but they might well be wrong.
I am not glad that the funding has been pulled so that numerous women lose the opportunity to have needed health care. Yes, Planned Parenthood does offer health care and does not just spend their days trying to "trick" people into abortions. While I am grateful I have never needed their health care services, I am glad that they exist. Why on earth would I then be even remotely excited that Komen has pulled their funding?
I am not happy, but simply relieved that many, many people are waking up to the greed of the corporation called Komen. They beg for money from those who don't have it. They spend a mere 20% of their received funds on actual research. They withdraw funds from organizations that actually need the money. They fund-raise by labeling products with pink ribbons. Many of these products not only are not necessary for us to survive, but may in fact harm us, and yes, cause cancer.
Shocking? Not really. Komen says they want a cure, but they have recently developed a perfume that may well contain cancer-causing ingredients. The scent costs $59 per bottle, however fewer than $2 goes to research. I can't imagine anyone purchasing this, knowing that most of the cost is not even going to the purported mission.
I hesitated to write on this topic, partly because I had so many blogs turn pink for me in 2010. They did it as a show of support and I appreciated it more than anyone will ever know. However, turning pink in support and following up with virtual and local assistance is not the same thing as the pink-washing that Komen does day in and day out.
I spent a good portion of the last year mortified about the type of cancer I had. I received a pink basket in the hospital (for my original surgery) filled with pink, plastic items that included a poem and a "tiddy" bear. I was supposed to be cheered up by the poem, as it was about another woman and how she received a fabulous new set of breasts. I was also supposed to be thrilled by the junk in the basket. Instead I was mortified. A gift basket of organic fruit would be one thing (and, yes, we did receive those and loved them), but this was just beyond painful. Rubbing the pink-washing in my face once again. The basket just reminded me that because I had this recent blip, I was supposed to become a member of another club. Well, no, thank you.
Please understand that not everything pink disturbs me and I know that many pink ribbons are truly meant as a sign of support. However, Komen is not supportive. Coloring buckets of fried chicken pink is not supportive. Putting pink ribbons on products that we don't need or want is not supportive. In fact, for many of us, it's a reminder of times we'd rather forget. If anything, Komen was extremely unsupportive when I was diagnosed.
Did they come to my house and cook me meals when I was sick? No, but my friends ensured we were had groceries and dinners for months. Did they visit me in the hospital or take care of my kids? No, but my friends and family made sure that happened. Well, what did they do?
They stepped up their efforts to get money from me. It was almost as if my name was on a new high priority list. As though because I had been diagnosed, I suddenly had the ability and desire to give to an organization that, in my opinion, has done little towards their supposed goal. It took three letters from me and three phone calls from Peter to have my name removed from their mailing list.
I do think it is a shame that they pulled their funding, but finally the truth about this organization is coming to light. Komen, in my mind, has a lot of explaining to do for years and this issue was finally the straw that broke the camel's back. I am happy to report that all is not lost for PP, as today I read that:
Tait Sye, a spokesman for the agency, said Wednesday afternoon that "more than $400,000 from 9,000 donors came in the last 24-hour period."Add that to a $250,000 "Breast Health Emergency Fund" from Texas oil executive Lee Fikes and his wife, Amy, and the group is closing in on the $680,000 it received from Komen in 2011.
It doesn't thrill me that the funds had to come from other sources. If I had any respect for Komen, then it would have been due to them truly understanding that Planned Parenthood is not the end-all, be-all of evil organizations. However, they clearly don't. I must say the more I learn about Komen, the more I feel that they are truly evil. A corporation founded on a promise that, in my opinion, has not been kept and likely can't be. A corporation that preys on guilt and tries to deny the link between environmental hazards and breast cancer. A corporation that has a budget just for suing other small non-profits just because they used the phrase "for the cure" without THEIR permission? Well, why wouldn't they, considering the millions in funds they receive?
I am not asking for anyone out there to read this and suddenly desire to support Planned Parenthood. I am simply asking that if you have contributed to the Komen Foundation, walked in a walk or even thought about supporting them in any way (perhaps by purchasing something pink?) to rethink your options next time. There are many decent organizations in existence, e.g. Breast Cancer Action that support those with breast cancer and are not in any way funded by pharmaceutical companies or companies who do not have our breast, I mean, best interests at heart.
If you were considering a donation to Komen because of their decision, please reconsider your plan. Support a local organization that helps unwed mothers, perhaps volunteer through your church or donate to deserving organizations overseas, like Mercy House, who truly need your assistance (and, yes, we will be supporting them this year). Please give your money or time directly to those who need it, not to an organization who has not only ignored its mission, but left behind those who could have truly used its help.