There's been a lot of chatter in blogs lately about Komen, pink branding, and, most damning, that very little of the KOMEN money...all those races and walks and bracelets and ribbons...actually goes toward researching a cure for cancer. There's also talk that Komen is in bed with big pharma, which admittedly, has its own set of issues. I deny none of this. In fact, while I will be running in the local Race for the Cure this fall, I won't be putting together a team, nor will I be asking for donations.
So, you might be asking, why the heck is she even telling us all of this. She sounds rather wishy-washy. If she's against Komen, why is she even participating?
I want to clarify: I am NOT against Komen as an organization at all. I'm against the duplicitous nature of the "for a CURE" mumbo jumbo. If an organization raises millions of dollars "for a cure," I expect that, quite frankly, a lot of their money should go toward a cure. Instead, approximately 25% goes toward research. When it comes to research dollars, only about 3% go toward research on metastatic breast cancer which is what actually kills the absolute vast majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer. Komen's mission is to end breast cancer. Yet, almost as much Komen money is spent on fund raising, office expenses, etc. as goes toward research.
But I'm letting all that roll off my back right now, because one thing Komen does, and does superbly, is support those with breast cancer, and for that, I'll run. I have directly benefited by Komen funding in one way, especially, that might potentially prevent me from having an reccurence. One way that has been life changing.
A year ago, I attended, a yoga retreat for breast cancer survivors that was funded by Komen and private donations and Duke Cancer Center. It was an amazing experience, one I shall be forever grateful for.
However, much more life changing was my participation in a Komen grant sponsored exercise program here in town. C.U.R.E. (A Community United Through Relationships and Exercise) was one of the best experiences of my life (some might think that my life has been boring). Granted, we were a small community, but what we learned about exercise, alone, made the experience worthwhile.
I am much, much stronger than I was before beginning the classes. I also had the opportunity to try different forms of exercise, for instance spin (and I decided that I really do NOT like it) and aqua fit (water aerobics, two thumbs up). Zumba, which I really did not think I would like, turned out to be one of my most favorite exercise options, and I now attend at least two zumba classes a week, have purchased a zumba game for our xbox kinect! I'm in the market for the best option for zumba shoes.
I also developed relationships with other bc survivors I may not have otherwise developed. For instance, one participant was a woman I'd known in passing for several years, yet I didn't know she had had bc and she didn't know I had. On the surface, we are two vastly different women, but we easily found commonalities in the CURE classes.
The teachers were very awesome as well. As trained exercise specialists, and young very fit women themselves, I would have previously been disinclined to chat them up; however, that was so not the case with these CURE instructors. The one I exercised with the most frequently even went so far as to come up with a specialized exercise routine for me and one other participant as we were a little stronger and more able than some of the others. Regardless, we all had fun, we all tried out new activities, and best of all, I learned to enjoy sweating to the point that my entire head was wet. Who knew?
So, for this, and this reason alone, I'm not convinced that Komen is worth totally ditching. I have certainly benefited from Komen's generosity in funding these programs.
Oh, and now I've "graduated" to the regular classes at the Rec Center and can hold my own with students who are the age of my own children. Some times, I even show them up :)