Ahead of Fort Worth race, Komen affiliate worried about fight fallout

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 8:42 PM

FORT WORTH - There are calls for the CEO of Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure to resign after a firestorm of controversy.

More than one online petition has popped up on the web site Change.org. One has 1,400 names on it, and the list is growing daily.
 
In February, Komen announced it would stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood because the agency was under investigation. A Florida congressman was investigating whether Planned Parenthood spent federal funding on abortions.
 
Since her initial statement days after the firestorm broke, Nancy Brinker has remained quiet. Employees in the north Dallas headquarters offered no comment on the petitions Thursday.
 
The Greater Fort Worth Race for the Cure is three weeks away and organizers say fundraising is still slower than normal. One week ago, they reported a 42 percent decline in registration since 2011, and a 32 percent decline in fundraising.

Numbers have improved in the last seven days, according to Jennifer Wersal, Race and Communications Manager for the Greater Fort Worth Komen affiliate.
 
Registration and donations have gone up by five percent in the last week, but remain down 37 percent and 27 percent compared to 2011.
 
"It's been difficult, because we are trying to let people who have questions know what we do here in greater Fort Worth," Wersal said.

She said the affiliate researches the people they serve, then gives grants to agencies who can best fill the voids that exist.

"One year transportation to treatment was the big issue," she said. "So we are able to give the Red Cross a grant and they helped with transportation. We were able to get ladies to treatment who couldn't have gotten there otherwise."
 
They gave out $900,000 in grant money in 2012. They raised $1.2 million from the 2011 Race for the Cure.
 
"Seventy-five percent of our funds stay local in our service area," Wersal said. "That's education, screening, treatment. Twenty-five percent go[es] to headquarters for research grant initiatives."
 
In Dallas, the "Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon for the Cure," which benefits Komen, is scheduled for Sunday. A fundraising gage on the foundation's web site shows they have raised 35 percent of their goal. However, that is not an indicator of anything, said a Komen spokesperson.

The majority of donations come in on the day of the race or after. The spokesperson also said registration is on par, and could even be greater than it was last year.
 
Wersal is hoping the controversy doesn't overshadow what the agency is trying to accomplish.
 
"We just want to let people know what our focus is here, and in all affiliate offices, it's all about the mission," she said. "It's all about finding a cure for breast cancer."
 
The Fort Worth race is April 14. Registration is open until the race begins.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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