Race for the Cure turnout down 7K from last year
Posted June 12, 2012 9:36 p.m. EDT
Updated June 13, 2012 6:06 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The weather was perfect Saturday for the 16th annual Susan G. Komen Triangle Race for the Cure, but it didn't mean increased turnout for the state's biggest annual fundraiser for breast cancer research and programs.
In fact, about 16,000 people showed up in west Raleigh for the footrace – roughly 7,000 fewer than last year.
Though the national Susan G. Komen foundation came under fire in February when it decided to stop funding breast cancer screenings provided by Planned Parenthood, the local Komen chapter's interim director Kathy Burns said it's impossible to tell whether that played a role in race turnout.
"I don't know if we'll ever know that," Burns said. "We certainly hope that is something that people stop focusing on and focus on the programs we do."
Public outcry prompted the national organization to quickly restore Planned Parenthood grants for breast cancer screenings.
"It's not political. At the end of the day, anyone can get breast cancer," Burns said. "We're not about politics. We're all about breast health."
She added that 75 percent of funds raised by the Triangle chapter go directly to programs in 29 counties across the state. The other 25 percent helps the national organization fund breast cancer research.
Burns said she is staying focused on the number of people who did participate in the fundraiser this year.
"(Sixteen thousand) is a tremendous amount of people to show up for one event," she said.
Rex Healthcare's mobile mammography van is one of the local programs supported by Komen's local chapter.
"We really can't do what we do without (Komen)," said Rex Foundation spokeswoman Amy Daniels. "Each year, we ask for more. Each of the grantees need more and more. The demand keeps rising and, to meet that demand, we need more funding."
Still, Daniels said, she trusts that Komen will continue to be a strong partner for Rex.
Burns said she didn't expect Rex or other programs to be impacted by race turnout. Komen is continuing to accept donations through July 9 and will sponsor its first-ever Race for the Cure in Wilmington in March, she said.