brand challenges

Komen for the Cure Cuts Walks, Citing a Lack of Funding

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 6, 2013 11:34 AM

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity is cancelling its three-day fundraising walks next year in Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Washington. 

"The difficult decision to exit these markets was not made lightly, as we know this bold and empowering event has touched the lives of thousands of participants like you," the group posted on its Facebook page.

Participation in the walks has steadily declined 37 percent since 2009, a spokewoman told the New York Daily News, and the cities removed from plans for 2014 did not meet fundraising goals, according to a spokeswoman. Every participant is required to raise a minimum of $2,300 and walk about 60 miles over the three day events. The walks will continue in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Policy Exec Resigns

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 7, 2012 10:51 AM

AP is reporting that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's leading breast-cancer organization, has accepted the resignation of Karen Handel, its SVP for public policy since April who was at the center of a firestorm after the Dallas-based non-profit pulled funding for breast-cancer screening to Planned Parenthood centers.

Handel, who's reportedly declining a severance package, was behind the pink-ribboned organization's recent policy to not give grants to any group under government investigation, a move that singled out Planned Parenthood — which is undergoing a Congressional inquiry into whether federal funds intended for reproductive education were being used for abortions. Komen last week reversed its decision and retinstated funding to Planned Parenthood, but still faced a backlash from breast cancer activists and others outraged at the politicizing of its brand.

Below, read Handel's resignation letter to Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is named after her sister, in which she accepts responsibility for the defunding — but adds that it was in the works long before she joined Komen. Handel writes that "the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization."Continue reading...

brand commentary

The Week Komen for the Cure Destroyed Its Brand

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 5, 2012 01:45 PM

The Super Bowl of women's health happened last week. The winner? The Democratic Party-aligned Planned Parenthood, provider of numerous women's (and men's!) health services, including, yes, abortions. The loser? The heretofore unassailable Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest anti-breast cancer organization.

On Tuesday, January 31, the Komen organization rather quietly announced that due to new grant policies, it would cease funding to Planned Parenthood. By Wednesday, Feb. 1, the backlash was on. Even author Judy Blume was slamming Komen as it stood its ground and attempted to weather the storm. That night its website was hacked. By the morning of Thur. Feb 2, Planned Parenthood was reporting donations in excess of what Komen had cut off, Komen executives were quitting in protest and local chapters of the national organization were in outright rebellion. Then a tweet, at top, that showed just how desperate the billion-dollar brand was to stop the hemorrhaging.

It did not stop. It still has not really. And maybe it never will.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Komen for the Cure's Nancy Brinker Addresses Planned Parenthood Flap on NBC

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 2, 2012 06:15 PM

Komen for the Cure founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker addressed the organization's controversial decision to cut funding to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in a six-minute interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, a breast cancer survivor and friend, in one of her first public statements beyond a video statement released on Wednesday. Brinker says the Komen board's decision to make "grant excellence" a measure for funding led to Planned Parenthood being dropped and denied it was singled out or that Komen's brand has been damaged.

New York-based radiologist Dr. Kathy Plesser threatened to quit Komen's medical advisory board unless the decision was reversed. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg also announced that he is giving a $250,000 matching gift to Planned Parenthood to help make up for the loss of funding by the Komen Foundation. "Politics have no place in health care," the mayor stated. "Breast cancer screening saves lives, and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way."

brands under fire

Komen for the Cure Crisis Deepens

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 2, 2012 11:45 AM

The Atlantic this morning reports that the top health executive at the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Mollie Williams, resigned to protest the organization's decision to sever ties and funding for Planned Parenthood.

The world's leading breast cancer research advocacy organization and brand is in crisis mode this week to repair the damage to its reputation since the news broke. The Atlantic calls the controversy "avoidable" and "regrettable":

An entirely avoidable, and deeply regrettable, controversy has been raging this week over the decision by the (formerly highly esteemed) Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation, the world's leading breast-cancer research advocacy group, to cut its support for Planned Parenthood, which used Komen dollars (about $600,000 annually) to pay for breast-screening exams for poor people.

brands under fire

Komen for the Cure Sees Planned Parenthood Backlash

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 1, 2012 07:19 PM

Did one of the greatest heavyweight nonprofits in the world just shoot its own brand in the foot — a foot it so desperately needs in the race to cure breast cancer?

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, America's most recognized and funded breast-cancer charity, announced that it will cease its work with Planned Parenthood, a major provider of breast cancer screening. A day after the move, a massive outpouring of outrage has the charity on its heels trying to defend itself.Continue reading...

health matters

Avastin Breast Cancer Decision Leaves Questions

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 21, 2011 01:01 PM

As CBS News notes, breast cancer patients are "dismayed" at the FDA's decision to pull Roche's Avastin drug for breast cancer treatment in the U.S.

The blockbuster drug will no longer be available for treatment of advanced breast cancer, a blow to women with the disease who have been lobbying to keep the drug available as an option when all others have failed. The drug remains on the market to treat colon, lung, kidney, and brain cancers.

"I did not come to this decision lightly," stated FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "Sometimes despite the hopes of investigators, patients, industry and even the FDA itself, the results of rigorous testing can be disappointing."

“We are disappointed with the outcome. We remain committed to the many women with this incurable disease and will continue to provide help through our patient support programs to those who may be facing obstacles to receiving their treatment in the United States,” commented Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head, Global Product Development at Roche, which makes the cancer drug through its Genentech division. “Despite today’s action, we will start a new Phase III study of Avastin in combination with paclitaxel in previously untreated metastatic breast cancer and will evaluate a potential biomarker that may help identify which people might derive a more substantial benefit from Avastin.” Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Pinkwashing in the Spotlight on Eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 28, 2011 12:16 PM

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, unleashing a tidal wave of pink products as brands show their solidarity (and raise money) for a life-saving cause: breast cancer research. But consumers and marketers alike are leery of so-called "pinkwashing."

It's the subject of filmmaker Lea Pool’s new documentary about the industry that has grown up around breast cancer, the rise of corporate involvement in fundraising and its deleterious effect on research into the disease: Pink Ribbons, Inc., which premiered at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

“What Pink Ribbons, Inc. questions is whether all these pink ribbons and marches and rallies are actually accomplishing anything at all, other than making people feel better because they think they’re marching for a cause,” writes Kim Voynar in Movie City News.

“More to the point, it raises the question of whether the effect of putting a pink, cheery face on the issue, and promoting the idea of “positive” fundraising walks as opposed to telling women yes, you should be getting angry and marching and protesting and demanding more support for research for a cancer whose primary risk factor is being born female, is more detrimental to actual progress than people think.”Continue reading...

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