|2008 Opening Ceremonies: Carrying the "Victories" Flag|
I've continued to go out and cheer my Kindred Spirits team at each subsequent event, and make personal and business donations to Komen and the team. My estimate is that I've raised over $50,000 since I started to focus on the issue of early detection and screenings for breast cancer. When I asked for donations, I always mentioned that it was for research that benefited not only breast cancer, but other forms of cancer as well; and that it supported screenings for women who could not otherwise afford them. The millions of dollars raised here in Seattle alone have meant that the incidence of death from breast cancer has gone down significantly because of early detection and regular screenings.
Komen's decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood clinics who offer these screenings is difficult for me on several fronts. I find that I can't overlook the bitter politics involved in Komen's revised policy on grants. The bottom line is that it means that I will direct my personal and business support for breast cancer to Planned Parenthood, specifically so that these screenings can still be made available to low income women.
The decision is personally painful to me because not supporting Komen means I won't be making donations to the Kindred Spirits team. There's a minimum amount that each walker is required to raise before they can participate in the 3 Day, and it's been difficult for many of them in the economic climate of the past several years for them to hit their minimum. I know that the event is compelling from a personal perspective. Strong friendships have been made over the years. My admiration and personal concern for each of you who will continue to walk is unchanged.