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Komen DC Run Hurting

(photo: Talk Radio News Service/flickr)

The Komen Race for the Cure in the District of Columbia is one of the nation’s largest, with as many as 60,000 runners in past years. This year, in the wake of the Komen Foundation’s disastrous attack on Planned Parenthood following their hiring of a failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate and Palin acolyte, registration for the run is down 40%.

Registration is down nearly 40 percent for this year’s Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure in Washington after the controversy in February over the breast cancer charity’s unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

Across the country, numerous affiliates have reported a downturn in donations and registration for Komen for the Cure events in the aftermath of the funding flap.

Big Pink has irrevocably soiled its brand with the American public; one can only hope that previous participants and donors are finding other avenues to support breast cancer research and screening more directly, or are giving directly to Planned Parenthood, which is what I do now.

It’s not only the DC race that’s hurting; Komen affiliates nationwide report trouble.

Elsewhere, the drop in donations has already hurt affiliates’ ability to fund community organizations. Because registration and donations for its March 25 race fell short of goals, the Southern Arizona affiliate was not able to give out as many grants this year despite a record number of applications, according to its executive director, Jaimie Leopold.

The Komen ‘flap‘ will, I believe, be studied in business school classrooms for many years as a counterexample to building a strong brand: ruining it takes only one bad decision in a polarized climate.

Lightning in a bottle, this one was. But not in the good way that phrase is usually used.

Dday has more.

UPDATE: TPM provides some reporting from other affiliates. This doesn’t look good.

In Sacramento, Calif., approximately 18,000 people participated in the race this year, down from 25,000 the previous year. And it took a late surge in registration to get just to that number. In Richmond, Va., about 6,000 joined in, down from 7,300 the previous year and well short of organizers’ goal of 10,000. Asked about the decline, the local affiliate’s executive director Linda Tiller told the Richmond Times Dispatch there’s “nothing other to attribute it to” than the Planned Parenthood flap.

Tucson, Ariz.’s race shrank from 10,000 registrants to below 8,000 this year. Some 45,000 marched in Columbus, Ohio, down from 50,000 in previous years. In Atlanta, organizers also reported their participation rate was down 10 to 15 percent in 2012.

Maureen Meldrum, Komen Detroit executive director and a 21-year breast cancer survivor, told TPM that participation was down for the city’s race earlier this week, though she partly attributed the decline to the event being held on Memorial Day.

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Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge