Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In a little over a month, Pittsburgh has its 20th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
“People are still very angry and I think we’ve lost trust,” admits Pittsburgh affiliate executive director Kathy Purcell.
This year the non-profit breast cancer awareness organization has been embroiled in controversy.
Last month the national organization withdrew funding for mammograms at Planned Parenthood — a move praised by abortion opponents, but also denounced by breast cancer screening supporters.
“I don’t think we ever considered not doing the race, but certainly it didn’t seem to be the right time to be asking people to register for the race and kind of pushing pledges,” Purcell says.
The organization later reversed the decision.
Even so, the aftermath has been painful. Every email reminder about the race, every mailing stirs up the anger yet again.
“We know there’s going to be people that will decide not to participate this year,” Purcell acknowledges.
Also five top organization officials across the country have resigned since.
“For Pennsylvania, there are three executive directors. None of them are leaving,” she proclaims.
Embracing the challenges, the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure is full steam ahead – same race plan, same security plan, and many of the same racers and sponsors. Because the decision was reversed, talk of rival races and protests has died down.
Planned Parenthood was not available for an on camera comment.
The Race for the Cure will be on Mother’s Day in Schenley Park. They expect 30,000 people and $2 million in fundraising — figures that haven’t changed despite the controversy.