Courage. Conquer. Cure.

WWE and Susan G. Komen are expanding their partnership for their 3rd annual breast cancer awareness campaign, titled “Courage. Conquer. Cure.” (#CourageConquerCure)

WWE Superstars and Divas are wearing co-branded Susan G. Komen and WWE apparel as WWE platforms “go pink" throughout National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

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The Undertoad


I woke up today with a cold and, while flipping sides so that the congestion could make its slow pilgrimage from one side of my head to the other, skimmed the news on my phone. The news is often bad, but this time it was (again) my bugaboo: politics were touching my lady parts without asking nicely and buying me dinner first. The Susan G. Komen foundation had pulled funding from Planned Parenthood, affecting five million patients who look to PP for access to contraception (35%), cancer screenings (16%), STD testing (35%), pregnancy and prenatal care (10%), and – yes – safe abortions (3%).

I’ve donated to Susan G. Komen before, and even bought extra Yoplait Boston Cream Pie with the pink lids although that yogurt is the scourge of breakfast. I suppose that was stupid, since SGK’s vice president Karen Handel is both right-wing and pro-life, and I am left-wing and pro-choice; restricting access to breast cancer screenings for low-income women because the centers that offer these services also offer family planning compromises the mission of any charity that actually seeks to help cancer patients. Again, it seems that Planned Parenthood is facing the message that as long as they continue to terminate pregnancies, they’ll see funds drop. They’re being bullied. It makes me mad.

A few years ago, I found a mass in my right breast. For a few days, before it was determined by my doctor to be a benign and mysterious hormone-related bump, I wondered what it would be like to be treated for breast cancer at twenty-five years old. Later, a family member had breast cancer and recommended I get BRCA testing to see if I carried the breast cancer susceptibility gene. I didn’t, thank God, but while I waited for the test results I found myself lying on my side in bed at night and thinking what it would mean to lose one or both of my breasts. I’ve had friends who have had partial or complete mastectomies: I’ve seen their reconstructed nipples and thought, “I should probably prepare myself for that.” These lady lumps – that can be so fun to play with, to dress up and dangle necklaces between, that help identify us as women – also mean that we (as their owners) have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer in our lifetimes. Though men can also get breast cancer, it’s 100 times less common. And I’ve yet to meet a dude who’s had an abortion, but (arguably) 40% of American women have terminated their pregnancies. I think that more than half of that 40% would prefer never to talk about the experience and I understand why: not only is it an emotionally and physically wrenching process, but pro-life advocates are becoming more and more intense in their fight to end choice for women. Nobody wants to become a pariah because of (or a mouthpiece for) something so tender that can be so viciously attacked – it is so, so private. The most private. It isn’t a safe topic, even if it makes up less than 3% of the topics that define you as a person, and well-respected charities would rather endanger your health than associate themselves with a clinic that upholds your legal right to choose what to do with your body. Apparently, anything abortion touches, it defiles forever. This is really disgusting to me, even worse than Yoplait Boston Cream Pie.

I don’t know why certain horrible things outweigh other horrible things for me in terms of managing my personal response. I can’t help but think of a line from Clueless(and believe me, if I could help it, I would, and would replace this line with something from Citizen Kane or similar, because the tone of Clueless doesn’t really jibe with my emotions): “I felt impotent and out of control, which I really, really hate.” When Troy Davis was executed, when George W. Bush won the election in 2004, and listening to Jackie Speier talk about her abortion almost a year ago: the morning reports sucked the wind out of me and made me feel like a crustacean pulled out of her shell by a hungry Survivor contestant. I can see the other side of things from here, or almost. I can (mostly) respect other people’s points of view, even if I secretly feel that my experience of being a human must be so different from theirs that we may as well live on different planets. Maybe, for this particular issue, it’s that I feel as though there will probably be more occasions in my life where I find a lump (one in eight); maybe it’s because I’ve had my nose in a book for almost two decades and think that the mass from chapter two will show up again in the last or second-to-last chapter. Certainly there are endless numbers of terrible things that arrive in your inbox as you’re battling a sinus infection and before you get fortitude from your first cup of coffee, but rarely do two personally-significant causes clash in the way that today’s did for me. It’s a moment of complete alienation, shaking your faith in the fact that you and the people you disagree with can argue over dinner and make up during dessert. Certain things are just too important to you, they dominate too much of what’s vital to sustain life on your planet: that everyone deserves the right to take care of their bodies, that everyone with breasts can unite over the horrible adrenaline rush that comes with hitting a speed bump during a self-exam regardless of politics, that nobody should be denied a place to go sweat it out for testing because they can’t afford to go somewhere else.

Statistically, assuming half of you who read my blog are women (I believe it’s more – haaaaay ladies!), 1,400 of you will develop breast cancer and 4,000 will terminate, or have terminated, a pregnancy. Some of us will experience both, so perhaps the reason that the friction between a breast cancer charity and a reproductive health organization bothers me so much is that I can’t help but read it as another significant event that closes an early chapter, like Garp’s undertoad. I shouldn’t read it that way; our narrator is unpredictable, after all. I’d just hate to see so many of us stranded in the middle of the ocean, no floaties, rethinking all of that gross yogurt and wishing we were back on page two. But there’s good news mixed in with the bad, of course. Maybe there’s still a chance that we’ll make up over dessert. I hope so.

"Locks of Love gave me a free wig" / "PETA fought for me to adopt a pet that the shelter was going to euthanize" / "Autism Speaks bought my kid an iPad"

Good for you! Really. I’m glad that the amount of actual charity work these scam organizations do is not zero. And if you happen to be one of the few recipients, rock on.

But please recognize that your experience is rare. You are the exception, not the rule. Your experience of actually receiving services in no way invalidates my far more common experience of being scammed. Your one success does not outweigh the many failures.

Anecdote is not evidence. When you assert that “I got something, therefore this isn’t a scam” well first of all I want to ask if you know how pyramid schemes work. Furthermore, you sound ridiculous. Compare similar statements:

“I’m not poor, therefore poverty isn’t real.”

“I don’t vote, therefore democracy is a lie.”

“A cop once let me off with a warning, therefore no police brutality to anyone anywhere.”

“I have a job, therefore labor discrimination isn’t a thing.”

“I’m healthy today, therefore no diseases exist.”

My wife is employed by the local Bass Pro Shops store. Every year they hold a charity auction to benefit the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Awareness organization and encourage lots of participation from the local community.  For the last couple of years I have been invited to contribute a few prints for the auction and of course I enthusiastically and humbly do so.

This year her boss was looking through my blog archive on her phone and picked this post out as one he would like to see in the auction. I originally posted it as a color shot back in the summer but he told her he thought it would look better as a black and white, so voila!  

Guess it shows why he’s a boss…:) 

Planned Parenthood Thrives Despite Conservative Attacks

More than 99 percent of women who have ever had sex have used at least one birth control method in their lifetime. So virtually all women– regardless of race, religion, marital status, or political party– have had one thing in common at some point in their lives: Wanting to have sex but not wanting to get pregnant.

“I think with all the conversation around women’s health and birth control in the presidential elections, women have become much more tuned in to these issues,” said Serena Josel, Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. “Birth control is basic healthcare for women and these issues really resonate with them.”

With so many women relying on some form of contraception, it is interesting how much political candidates– presidential and local—have been attacking the issue in recent months.

Most recently, the state of Texas cut off all federal funding for family services, including the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program. The decision came after, the state cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood facilities earlier this month because the state government prohibits taxpayers to fund clinics that provide abortions. However, Planned Parenthood does not use any federal or state money for their abortion program.

The federal government currently funds about 90 percent of the $40 million women’s health program, which services 130,000 low-income women each year. 

“The Texas situation is dire,” said Josel. “We are looking at several Planned Parenthood health centers closing their doors.”

In response, Josel says Planned Parenthood is reaching out nationally and locally to help engage women’s health supporters in Texas. Even in Los Angeles, volunteer phone banks have been launched to help educate Texas supporters and make them aware of rallies in their state.

But even as Conservatives carry out their attacks, organizations like Planned Parenthood have actually received a boost in donations.

“We especially experienced a bump in fundraising after the Komen situation, as our supporters tried to make up potential loss in dollars for our breast health programs,” said Josel. 

Planned Parenthood’s national breast health fund received over $3 million in donations the week following Susan B. Komen’s decision to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood’s breast health program.

 “We have even seen a major bump in the number of people who are signing up to receive our emails, to volunteer with us,” said Josel. 

Though Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles branch didn’t have a grant with the Komen Foundation at the time, Josel said it received an overwhelming amount of requests for information from the media and the public.

“The Komen controversy was stressful in many ways,” said Josel. “But it was also an opportunity for us to be able to educate people about the broad range of services that we provide, which they might not have been aware of before this controversy.”

(image via Flickr / cecily7)

How Komen flushed their brand in 24 hours

The lesson for nonprofits here is you have to always bring strategic decisions back to your mission and your supporters. How would they perceive it? Mission statements aren’t something top of mind every day and they usually aren’t something we can rattle off in an elevator. But that’s why they exist, to guide you as things like this come up.

Denver Komen Will Continue to Fund Planned Parenthood…For Now

Best known as the group behind the Race for the Cure, an annual fundraiser and 5k run, the Susan G. Komen foundation made national headlines this week when it announced it would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood. But, it looks like one Komen branch won’t be backing down from its ties to the embattled reproductive healthcare organization.

In a statement, released on their website Tuesday evening, the Denver branch of the Susan G. Komen foundation announced it would continue funding Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. While the decision is not a permanent one, requiring approval of a committee and only guaranteed through March 2013, the move still seems to be a major break other chapters of the Dallas-based organization. 

from The Colorado Independent:

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains uses its Komen money overwhelmingly to serve patients whose health-care options are severely limited. As the Denver Post reported yesterday, 84 percent of PPRM patients have no health insurance and 62 percent live at or below the federal poverty line.

In deciding not to preclude future funding of the local Planned Parenthood chapter, Denver Komen has offered a small counter narrative to the dramatic news yesterday that the national Komen organization has decided against any further Planned Parenthood funding pending the conclusion of a highly charged congressional audit that came as part of an historic assault on the women’s reproductive health and abortion provider. The audit was launched last year by social-conservatives in the Republican-controlled House who were spurred to act by anti-abortion organizations, mainly the Susan B Anthony List.

National spokespeople for Komen dismissed arguments that the organization had succumbed to political pressure, citing only the fact that Planned Parenthood is under congressional investigation and that, according to new grantee criteria, organizations under investigation can not be considered for funding.

It’s unclear why Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains doesn’t fall within that criteria.

PPRM Spokesperson Monica McCafferty told the Colorado Independent that, whatever the reasoning, the fact is “Denver Komen has been a strong advocate” for her organization.

The news is not likely to please Karen Handel, a recently appointed Komen SVP and former Republican gubernatorial candidate, who many believe may have been a more direct influence on the decision to cut funding. During her time running for office in Georgia, Handel was an outspoken opponent of Planned Parenthood, openly stating that she, “[does] not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” and promised to cut grants and other state-funding for the organization.

But the question remains, what happens after March 31, 2013? Will other chapters receive similar exemptions? Or is this just a PR move, to calm the national outrage over the funding decision, that will be banned by the Komen Foundation as soon as eyes turn to other headlines?

(image courtesy of the Washington Post)

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Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair. Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process.
—  Susan G. Komen for the Cure • In a statement revealing they’ve reversed their decision on Planned Parenthood, adding: “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.”

The Decemberists are deeply troubled by Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s recent decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, a vital resource in the battle against breast cancer. Providing cancer screenings to low income women is integral to the prevention and defeat of breast cancer and it is unconscionable that Komen should politicize this very important issue by bowing to the fear campaign being waged against PP by the right. We’ve decided to redirect the proceeds of the Team Jenny t-shirts and buttons away from Komen for the Cure. 100% of the net profits of these items will be instead donated to Planned Parenthood’s Breast Health Emergency Fund

Please help to support this essential institution. And, if you’ve supported the Team Jenny effort in the past, please write to Komen for the Cure via their site ( or via twitter (@komenforthecure) and let them know that undermining women’s health for political reasons is unacceptable.

By: The Decemberists

[NB: decisions like this affect more than just people who identify as “women”.]


A PRINCESS MUST MAKE IT HER BUSINESS to be an active participant in the charity whirl.

  I attended, along with 5,000 other two-legged types,  the L’Oreal sponsored charity  “Because Your Dog is Worth it Too!“  

It’s billed as, "The most fun a dog and its owner can have in one day.”

Or an owners three dogs.

This  is a  double whammy charity, because it benefits the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure,  with a focus on saving lives both human and animals. The people, and their dogs, were very earnest about this mission. 

Lots of games for kids, the grownups and the doggies. There was “The Ultimate Air Dog Dock Diving”…

And belly diving, too.

There was also a bone head…I mean, a bone high stacking contest.

Their were pink duck races for the two-handed, and Doggie races for the four-fleet- footed, including dachshunds, bulldogs, beagles, yorkies and pugs.

We saw some good old fashioned, full frontal, patriotic  happiness, for sure.

The corporations had matching funds, which made for some husky contributions.

Which really helped. Because making our charity goals is always a stretch.

Pretty hot day it was…Lots of tongues hanging out.

….and lots of happy cooling off….



and doggawnit…that’s no hogwash.