14 September 2012

How can you still support Komen? After everything that happened, how?

Ok, so not a direct quote. But it’s the sentiment that I and many other people who have crewed and walked in the 3 Day this year have been faced with. I’ve heard it and variations since the whole Planned Parenthood thing exploded, and I’ve seen others online struggling with it. One or two walkers who landed in our sweep van were talking about it.

It doesn’t even matter what side of the issue we’re on: a not so small number of people don’t seem to quite understand how we can still throw our support behind this organization.

I didn’t come to it lightly. I chewed through it here, practically vomiting my thoughts onto virtual paper while I picked through the detritus of what was happening with Komen.

In a nutshell, after the fiasco of saying that Planned Parenthood would no longer be getting funding from Komen, they backed down and reversed the decision, and as part of that revised the policy change that supposedly was at the crux of it all. The person who seemed to be the instigator and for whom the issue of PP getting funding was personal “resigned.” Funding was not only restored, but from what I’ve heard, PP got a little more this year than last.

And more recently, Nancy Brinker resigned as CEO and moved into a different position.

But here’s the thing…no matter what happened, no matter how skewed I think the salaries of those high in the Komen chain are, no matter what I think about the politics and the unpleasantness of it all, that doesn’t change the fact that Komen does a lot of good for a lot of people.

I think the good they do outweighs the bad. The money they spend on research, on direct health care, on support of women and men who are facing breast cancer is far more important than what I think was an egregious error in judgment.

They screwed up. They’ve admitted it. They’ve taken steps to correct it. People have lost jobs over it.

Still…I get where people are coming from. It was huge, so why did I turn around and volunteer to crew this year?

This really was too much fun
Well, to be honest, I did it partly because it meant hanging out with DKM and having some fun. I’m not ashamed to admit some immature motives.

But just as important…while I did not want to walk for Komen this year—I knew I’d never be able to adequately fund raise, for one—I absolutely did want to support the people who looked past everything and did what they had to do in order to walk. I have no issues with those who fully embrace Komen and they do it because their hearts are as big as their ability to face those miles head on and with a smile.

They didn't could I?
I think there’s something honorable in doing what you know is right, even when throngs of people are telling you you’re wrong. A lot of the people participating in Komen events this year are doing it in the face of a ton of criticism. The least I can do is support them, because the place they’re coming from is absolutely right. It didn’t take anything more than time and energy to drive that van around the Bay Area. It didn’t cost me anything more than gas (because, duh, I forgot to get reimbursed…) and my share of the hotel room we got the night before.

Truly, I can’t speak for other people, what motivated them to get involved this year in spite of everything that’s happened with Komen. I can only say that for me, the positives of Komen far outweigh the negatives, and I would much rather be engaged in something that saves lives and protects the integrity of people going through treatment than I would in turning my back on them just because I disagreed with that one thing.

Will I walk for them again? I honestly don’t know. If I don’t, it’s not going to be because of the PP debacle, it will be because walking those distances is getting harder and harder. If I do, I’m going to have to straight up admit to donors before the fact that I probably won’t cover all 60 miles. But I have no doubt that I will remain involved somehow. Crew is important; I don’t mind the idea of driving a van or hauling food or cleaning up for and after the walkers.

She certainly still deserves support
I’ll likely walk for Avon next year; it’s 2 days instead of 3, and I can do that (well, let’s hope it doesn’t go like this year’s Avon did for me…) And I’m really curious about the Avon Vibe, if it feels any different from Komen. Will I like it more? Like it less? Will it matter at all?

I’m already registered to crew for Komen in San Francisco again next year. It was just too much fun not to.

And how can I miss the Hookers???
But it has nothing to do with the political side of Komen. It has everything to do with the people who are putting one foot in front of the other; if the foundation doesn’t deserve support, those people do. (A big chunk of the team I walked with in Atlanta last year, the Pink Slips, is walking in Seattle this weekend. If I could, I’d be there doing anything I could to make the walk work for them. They deserve support; they’re taking every step for all the right reasons. How could I not support that?)

I can respect it if someone doesn’t want to throw another dime at Komen. I respect it just as much if they do. There’s no right or wrong in how a person feels about this; it just is what it is. It is a conundrum, but no one should feel bad for the side they pick…both sides are defensible, but I find more worth in the side I ended up on.

My opinions and needs < Komen’s actions and needs < people with breast cancer and people who will get breast cancer.

It really is that simple.


Angel and Kirby said...

Good for you. Komen does a lot of good for a lot of people. I know I had many free mammograms at the company I worked at because Komen' mobile unit came out. I know the company paid for it but none of the ladies especially those making minimal wage had to put out a penny or file a form. Those walkers deserve the support you can provide.

G.G. Mueller said...


Derby, Ducky said...

Yep, mum still sends green papers to Komen, but has expanded to include other women's health organizations. Not just breast health issues. Don't forget more women die from heart disease than breast cancer. So green papers go for heart health too.

Plus we all need to get out and just have some fun, supporting each other in whatever we want to do.

DKM said...

It was 100 kins of fun.

Sleepypete said...

I'd read the earlier posts about Komen but hadn't really been following it outside what you're put on the blog - it sounds like they've carefully examined their earlier decision and sorted out a lot of things, getting their integrity back along the way.

I wouldn't worry about supporting them, it looks like they've listened to the criticism and addressed it. Cheers for presenting the info here in the balanced way :-) The people who need to look at themselves are the ones who are being blinkered - it's ok to blacklist people but you should always check back to make sure they deserve to remain on that blacklist.

I know what you mean too with the not being sure if you can make the 3 days. I'm seeing that myself with my own ability to last through the cricket season (at 37 the knocks are taking longer to recover from).

Whatever decision you make you be the right one for you :-) And if you have to admit that to donors ? They should respect your honesty (I know I will!)

PS I may do the same next year with wearing the Pink Hat in matches :-)