Yesterday I voiced my opinion that Susan G. Komen is being short-sighted in its decision to halt funding to Planned Parenthood. Since then there’s a been, as my husband says, “a total shit storm” of backlash against the national organization, and by extension the local affiliates. The immediate reaction of many is to sever all ties with Komen.
Please consider the impacts to other vital programs before making a decision to stop supporting local Komen affiliates.
Here in Washington State, two specific programs funded by Komen Puget Sound come to mind: The Washington State Breast, Cervical & Colon Health Program and the Komen Patient Assistance Fund at Cancer Lifeline.
- The Washington State Breast, Cervical & Colon Health Program (BCCHP) provides free breast cancer screening (an subsequent treatment if indicated) to low-income women. This program was at risk of disappearing a dozen years ago, when it looked like state budget cuts couldn’t provide enough funding for it to meet Federal matching fund criteria. The Komen Puget Sound affiliate stepped in with funds to cover the gap, and has continued to partner with the state ever since.
Today, Komen contributions provide mammograms to women who fall within 251-300% of the federal poverty level. That covers people who have an income, but are uninsured or carry only catastrophic health insurance. Think single moms, college students and the temporarily unemployed.
- The Komen Patient Assistance Fund administered by Cancer Lifeline provides emergency funds to help women going through treatment with rent, utilities, food and dental care. Northwest Hope & Healing also has an assistance fund for patients treated at Swedish Medical Centers, as does The Pink Daisy Project, but the Komen partnership with Cancer Lifeline has the added benefit of connecting patients with a wide variety of other support services.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very frustrated by Komen’s decision on Planned Parenthood. But…
I’m not willing to sacrifice the other programs that rely on funding from the Puget Sound Affiliate.