Last week, I blogged about the brouhaha brewing in the breast cancer community over the commercialization of Komen. I also mentioned the Canadian documentary about Komen called Pink Ribbons, Inc., that is making its debut today — the same day the pink dust has settled following Komen's Planned Parenthood firestorm. (It also happens to be the one-year anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy, or my "surgiversary," as I like to call it — but I digress.)
That's what I call a tipping point. Because for the first time, everyone everywhere can glimpse a Komen that can no longer hide behind its frilly pink curtains.
As you know, Komen partners with a gazillion companies, lending their name to a ton of products, all sold under the pink umbrella. As a consumer, I buy a yogurt (not organic, BTW) with a pink ribbon on it, thinking I'm doing good — only to later learn I must mail the lid back to the yogurt company before they make a contribution to Komen. The yogurt company makes money off of me, and then donates a few cents of said made money to Komen, getting a tax break in return. Sweet deal all around. The kicker, though: Many companies place a ceiling on how much moola they donate, so even though you buy a "pink" product, no money may go to Komen at all if said company has met its donation quota. That is a bummer.
But don't feel too bad for Komen. They earn mega money regardless, though just $650,000 was earmarked for screening exams for low-income women over at Planned Parenthood. And for that there is an uproar... and political pressure... which caused Komen to cave but then they rescind and say they'll continue to fund some PP breast screening programs (for fear of losing liberal dollars). At least for now. Even though breast cancer is an equal-opportunity employer.
Oy, I have a headache.
I don't know about you, but I think the time has come for the charity that is raking in the biggest bucks (ahem, Komen) to use that fat leather wallet not just for good, but to make good. Finding breast cancer is the first step, but it's not the only step. It's what comes after finding breast cancer that is most troubling. Komen, we really need your money to go all in towards research that figures out why we are getting breast cancer in the first place. Why is it so epidemic? Why is it striking younger and younger women? Why, with all this "awareness," are people still so in the dark about the disease? We also really need your money to find better treatments for those who already have BC (including our metastatic sisters, please; for more on blogger Katherine's opinion on that, see her post here).
What we don't need is more "awareness." We don't need more pink marches with people raising money that goes towards funding more pink marches. We are all too aware, Komen. The awareness baton has been passed. It's time to pull the plug on pink — and get to work.
I purposefully choose a different path to the top today; I hope Komen does, too. Because actions speak louder than pink.