Monday, June 3, 2013

How to you measure importance

I don't think it was a surprise. A disappointment yes, but a surprise no. Over the past 4 years we have seen the numbers of participants and the $$$s raised in the SF 3 day dwindle. You could blame it on the economy, you could blame it on politics, you could blame it on "Over pinking" or anything else you want to call it. The fact of the matter is, it is sad to say the least. I received this email today... 

As the Susan G. Komen 3-Day continues to evolve, next year will bring changes that will affect many members of our Komen 3-Day family. The 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day will return to Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and the Twin Cities. However, we are saddened to share that the 3-Day will not be returning to the following markets in 2014: Arizona, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Please note the 2013 3-Day series will continue as planned.
Half of the cities have been cancelled for 2014. Let's look at that in real terms. Last year the total proceeds of these 7 cities was,  19.5 million dollars. 75% of the net proceeds go to research and 25% to community programs. These events Komen, Avon and AIDS rides etc all have costs associated with them. Approx. 25% is what I have read in the past. So break it down. 19.5 million less 25% overhead (4.875m) A net proceed of $14,625,000.
Of that 75%  or $10,968,750 went to research, $3,656,250 to community programs from these cities that are no longer on the calendar for 2014. It is Komen's hope that walkers will gravitate to the remaining cities. I hope they will. But Air travel and hotel costs will make this a problem for many. But on the other hand I have felt the energy of large walks and small. Large is better.
I pray that people will continue to walk in the other 7 cities. I hope their numbers grow. I hope a lot of things. But above all I hope the reduction in the funds for research are not the reason one grant isn't funded that could save one life. I am grateful for the advances that we have helped fund. I am proud of Komen for being a leader and instrumental in every advance we know.
This year I walk in SF's last 3 day walk. Then later this year I walk in Atlanta's walk. I will be walking in Seattle next year (2014) and remembering my walks in DC and in SF. I will be remembering carrying the flag Belief in two walks with tears streaming down my face. I will remember people I have come to know for whom advances came in time to extend their lives (but not save it) like Bridget Spence. I will remember the Hookers for Hooters, and my Boa Boy, little children handing out animal cookies and band aids on Jordan in SF, and pink dogs in DC... I will remember pearls in Maryland and tears under the Washington Monument and I will, always remember and live the motto of the final flag raised in triumph "WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP!" Because until we have created a world without Breast Cancer, I will not.
How do you measure the importance of a life. Is it in gross numbers? Is it in bottom lines? No lives are worth so much more than that.
I will continue to fight because the value of a life is immeasurable.  I hope you will join me.