Funding a Cure

Those of you who read my blog know that I’m living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Before my diagnosis, even though my mom is a survivor of breast cancer, I was astonishingly ignorant about breast cancer and trials and drugs and so many things that now occupy my entire life. I look back and am a little perplexed why I wasn’t more interested in learning more, in understanding more about genetics and how I might be affected. Coping mechanism, I suppose.

Now that I am immersed in the world of metastatic breast cancer, the more I learn, the more I’m enraged.

It pisses me off that breast cancer has become a brand in the US.

Like really pisses me off.

I often grill people about where funds go when I see something pink. I’m sure some of them might recover at some point. Being under cross examination is not a fun experience, I know, I’ve been there.

I don’t feel bad about it because they will remember. Vividly.

The only reason that the pink fluffy stuff that helps no one but the seller continues to thrive is because people buy it. Does it help the buyer think that they are doing something good? Probably. For a minute or two. Does it help those of us dying of breast cancer? Not usually. If any of the proceeds of those items are donated to breast cancer research, it might amount to pennies.

I didn’t understand this after my mother’s diagnosis. She participated in the Komen races for the cure for years and so did I. In fact, my law firm had teams for many years and we raised a lot of money. I’m sure I’ve purchased a lot of pink products over the years, believing I was doing something to honor my mother. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t look farther than that. Maybe I didn’t want to know. Maybe the act of participating was in itself the expression of love for my mother. I confess that I cried every year, remembering the fear and worry that accompanied that time in my life.

Now that I’m immersed in the breast cancer world, I feel betrayed, duped, taken advantage of, and royally pissed off.

Yes, you read that right.

I feel betrayed, personally betrayed, by all of those companies (including and especially Komen), who made money and gained notoriety off of the idea of curing breast cancer, but haven’t actually put their money where their mouth is.

As all good branding people do, now that a new generation of women with breast cancer are aware of the duplicity, Komen and others are starting to pivot. Now those of us metastatic people have separate shirts, colors and the theme of many events are “more than pink,” or some other such nonsense.

Apparently, they realized that when a company says they are “for the cure” and yet donate less than 20% of their PROFITS to research, that just might be false advertising.

News flash, that’s exactly what it is. FALSE.

I know that some of my metsters (those who are also living with this insidious disease) have spent time and effort to change some of these issues from inside Komen. I’ve seen several participate as honorary chairs of Komen events, using their own branding to help Komen pivot. I do see that there could be value in that endeavor.

BUT

That feels to me like lipstick on a pig. You can’t dress up an organization and pretend the whole history hasn’t happened.

It happened.

And it’s unforgivable.

17 thoughts on “Funding a Cure

  1. Your poster/photo says so much. And how much of the 19 cents goes to research for MBC? Like you, I knew nothing of this world when my mom had a breast cancer diagnosis, and not much more when it became metastatic years later. What an education I have had as I’ve lived with it myself. I did Komen walks early on, I wore pink t-shirts, and surely made many misguided statements. No more. Keep up the good work, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! I love your blog as it gives me a lot to think about as I navigate life after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2016. I personally found Komen useless when I was diagnosed and the experience initially soured me. What I’ve learned about Komen since then downright disgusts me. I usually donate to Metavivor but Breast Cancer Research Foundation is offering donation matching currently. I can probably also have my company match too. I’ve heard good things about BCRF but I’m curious about your thoughts since you seem to have thoroughly researched. Thank you! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have anything against the Breast Cancer Research Foundation but they give such a small amount to metastatic research that they are not one of my preferred charities. I hear many good things about them!

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  3. That’s so true and sad at the same time, I know a pastor here in Memphis that they always raised money for cancer (dad suffered from non hodgkin lymphoma) and he told me that the money they give for cancer, only 10% goes to actual research…the other 90% is for overhead….insane…..bastards

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning Abigail. Excellent post. Sometimes reality is very harsh. Have you checked out the salaries that Komen pays out? I find them to be a ridiculous amount of money. I have struggled severely over the past 6 years with cancer, not only with the disease itself,, but with the cost of all the treatments. I contacted nearly every non-profit organization that is supposed to be helping patients and was told numerous excuses as to why they could not help me in any way. One of the most ridiculous responses was that they couldn’t help me because my cancer was of an unknown primary. Really? I didn’t see anywhere on their site where it said we help only certain kinds of cancer patients. I have posted many times about this very subject because as you say… it just pisses me off. I suppose the worse part of it was… after speaking to some of these people about obtaining help… I would look up their salaries… which ranged from 80,000 per year to 500,000 per year, while their CEO’s are drawing over a million a year. It seems that the organization has no problem using our donations to help these people… just not the one’s they are supposed to be helping.

    I want to thank you so very much for shining your light on breast cancer and cancer in general. People need to know… and people like you that have the courage to tell it like it is… are very rare…. So, again… thank you.

    I wish you well-ness and a most beautiful day…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting!! It’s a difficult thing because we will never really know what goes on behind closed doors at a variety of companies. The non profits that don’t live up to their own hype are the worst, I think. Anyway, when you are literally dying, things like what other people think really do fall by the wayside. Love and light to you!!

      Liked by 1 person

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