Last fall I walked the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure for the first time. It was a gorgeous day and I brought my son T along, pushing his stroller through wave after wave of people joined in support of loved ones, friends and strangers, people they’ve lost and people they never knew. I myself have been fortunate enough to have only limited personal experience with Breast Cancer, and luckier still that my mother and grandmother, now in her eighties, are both healthy and cancer-free. Despite being spared an upfront view of the disease, I chose to not only walk, but reach out to my family and friends to donate and support the cause. In my view, a disease that attacts the healthy living of so many women and men is worthy of an afternoon of my time, some emails and phone calls, and I owe it to my figurative sisters to stand and fight with them.
Unfortunately, due to some extremely poor strategy calls by SGK executives, the cause now faces additional challenges. After using its corporate voice to tout an anti-abortion platform, pulling its cancer screening funding from Planned Parenthood, SGK faced a public backlash that has resulted in a serious decrease in contributions to the charity and a significant drop in the number of walkers signed up for their annual run/walk, another large source of revenue. Several executives have resigned, and no doubt more will follow suit. SGK employee morale is reportedly at an all-time low following the charitable golden child’s fall from grace.
It’s not for me to say whether SGK, or any charitable cause, for that matter, has the right to tout political agenda. In this case, however, the punishment meted out by the public threatens to hurt them right back. Every dollar lost is a life potentially shortened or lost; without contributions, there is less money for SGK to distribute for women and men to get early detection screenings and other support. I can only hope that, in the future, SGK will consider the implications before it makes politcally charged decisions. In the meantime, I continue to support the cure, if not the cause.