My favorite stories about the Susan G. Komen foundation – can they recover?

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Unless you have been away from just about every possible media source the last 3 days, you have probably heard about the utter public relations fail of  the Susan G Komen foundation. At best, they have naively applied an entirely NEW criteria for grant funding to various Planned Parenthood clinics around the country essentially blocking PP from any further money. At worst, their pro-life heavy executive group conspired to take advantage of the recent GOP Congressional attacks on PP and pull funding because they disagree with 3% of what PP does in their clinics.

What made it such a PR debacle is that, the worst case scenario seems the most likely given the steps taken in the past year which were easily exposed. They didn’t even control the messaging here – the press release about the withdrawal of funding was made by PP, not SGK. And just like that a non-profit organization that enjoyed fairly close to universal support  lost a large chunk of it’s reputation. Even with rumblings in the past about their aggressive lawsuits against ANYONE who uses the words “for the cure”, and being criticized for not seeming to care about environmental factors that contribute to increased cancer rates, the majority of the public viewed them with warm and fuzzy feelings. I’ve walked in two of their 3-day walk events (the 1st one I did was actually an Avon 3-day) and I’ve donated to walkers every year when I couldn’t participate myself.

Now? Many people I know who were signed up to walk in 2012 canceled. People funneled donations directly to PP effectively erasing the lost funds. Employees of SGK resigned. Regional SGK chapters (every single one in California for instance) rebuked the home office decision.

Yes, they are a private non-profit that can take political stands if they choose. BUT – they spent 30 years NOT doing that. Their mission was to fund breast cancer research, detection, treatment and awareness ESPECIALLY to segments of the population who didn’t have easy access to medical assistance. Thanks to SGK, people were literally kind of up to HERE with pink ribbons! Which is a GOOD thing because lordy – were we ALL totally aware! But they flushed all that away by taken was so obviously a political position on a very polarizing topic – abortion rights and access. In 24 hours they jumped into one of the hottest pots of oil you could choose! So dumb. When you rely on donations and volunteers you want to INCREASE your pool of potential donors, not DECREASE it drastically.

3 days later now – as of earlier this morning – they have reversed their decision. But, not before inviting scrutiny on themselves that they really couldn’t pass IMHO. The earlier complaints I mentioned are back in the news. A not so flattering documentary is being released this weekend about them and it was filmed BEFORE any of this happened. The main brain trust of the group has had their political agenda exposed. Even if that whole group (including the founder) stepped away, I am not sure the organization could recover. Only 17% of money donated goes to actual research? The President is drawing a $500k salary? They granted $7.5 million to Penn State and never thought of pulling THAT money away after the child rape charges yet they pulled $650k from PP due to a NON CRIMINAL congressional investigation?

So much they have to overcome. I have the strong feeling that even after backing away from this, more stories will surface about their questionable activities and they will be tainted for the long haul.

Anyhow – here are some of my favorite articles I read this week that I shared on my Facebook page and which sparked some great discussions.

Top Susan G Komen official resigned over Planned Parenthood cave in (The Atlantic – focus on background motivations))

How Komen Flushed Their brand in 24 Hours (Winning The Internet – marketing angle)

The Race for Respect – (Margaret and Helen – because everything they post on politics is brilliant and funny)

Komen’s Choice – (New Yorker Commentary)

And – my two favorite quotes from those stories that pretty much sums up the whole issue here:

“Maybe we should stop Walking for a Cure and start Walking for Respect. I mean it. Really.”
– Helen

“In American politics, women’s bodies are not bodies, but parts. People like to talk about some parts more than others.” – Jill Lepore

 

 

Friday beauty – cloud colors

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Nov 17, 2010 - Classic clear fall blue skies & deep blue ocean

Some fog off on the horizon, but otherwise everything is a brilliant, deep blue. Contrast that with the same time of day in early January when a very muggy heat wave rolled through.

 

Jan 3, 2010 - high clouds, muted blue, almost green water

The sun was shining through, but still everything seems pale

1/3/10 - Pastel hues - everything seemed to have a pink blush

Rain rolls back into town this weekend – unfortunately creating an adventure for the Breast Cancer 3 Day walkers this year – though certainly NOT dampening their spirits I know!

Anyhow – Happy Friday!

 

Helping out the searchers

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how ’bout getting off of these antibiotics
how ’bout stopping eating when I’m full up
how ’bout them transparent dangling carrots
how ’bout that ever elusive kudo
alanis morissette (Thank You)

You can tell that the San Diego Breast Cancer 3-Day walk is about to start. Next weekend to be exact. How? Because I am getting hits the last 3-4 days on searches like “2006 3-day walk route” and “2006 3-day walk camp site”. Clearly, participants for this year are scouring for info on last year to get an idea of what to expect. So, here, let me assist a little more with that since I am not sure if my posts from the event last year were all that clear. I did have some challenges after all and a tiny distraction called the Mighty Mite Chocolate Bowl in the middle of everything! For the last 3 years of the event, the walk has started at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. You drive in through the front with all your gear and find your tent assignment group and dump your gear on that truck. Already, there are crew members out to assist you with everything. Then you hurry up and wait 🙂 Basically they want to get as many of the walkers checked in as possible – if not all – before they start things up. Day 1 will be your slowest day since everyone will be starting out at the same time. Unless you are a true speed walker and manage to get yourself out in front of the pack (in which case IMHO you are missing the whole point of this event!), you will be walking at a pretty reasonable pace with everyone on the route. Some points will even be rather slow as you approach cross walks where you can’t help getting bunched up in a crowd. Relax. Be patient. Have fun. On this day you will more of your fellow walkers than on any other. Try to remember their faces. At the rest stops, say hi and chat a bit to get to know them and why they are walking. As you move along the route, do the same thing. This will help you in camp and on the next two days as you will always have someone with whom to share a smile and an encouraging word. Or, to bitch about the porta potties! Take note of the cheering groups and sweeper vans and safety crew along the route. You will be seeing them all weekend long as they move along the route with you. Day 1 takes you through the city of Del Mar, along Torrey Pines state beach and then UP Torrey Pines Hill. The first big hill of the walk. Get used to those. San Diego is not flat!! But then you go across the Torrey Pines ridge and then down La Jolla Scenic into La Jolla. Again, this is what I love best about Day 1 – to me it is the most beautiful route all around. From La Jolla you wind around the coast into Pacific Beach and then cut up towards Crown Point. And there you will find camp. Crown Point. It’s perfect really. Tons of flat area with fairly soft grass and the sound of the water lapping at the shores of the bay. In earlier years they used to move the camp between day 1 and day2 so that you were sleeping in different spots each night. But I think having this one base camp is really smart. Day 2 then becomes a wonderful journey around Pacfic Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma and down through Mission Bay back to camp. Night 2 in camp is really special. Dance your booties off! And you will. You think you wont be able to, but you will. Day 3 is what I missed last year with my t-band injury, but I heard from other walkers that it went up into Old Town and Bankers Hill and Balboa Park before descending into downtown and finishing at Petco Park – another change last year which I thought was brilliant.

I’ll be out there next Friday in front of my office as the walkers pass by at the top of Torrey Pines Hill, cheering like crazy. It’s a special event that I will do again in the future when Sportsboy doesn’t demand quite so much of my training time. I think I want to crew one year too. Have fun all you walkers! See you out there next weekend.

Recovering

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Knees are still stiff and painful when I first get up from sitting for any length of time, but the blisters are fine. I went to the closing ceremonies on Sunday. Hung around cheering for walkers and then finally got the courage to go on in myself. I still felt like I didn’t belong since I didn’t complete the walk. But as usual, people are so supportive at this even that it was a non-issue. I am glad that I did dive into it at the end. Petco Park was the perfect place for us to finish and was a lovely backdrop for the end of the event. $11.3 million was raised in San Diego! Wow!!

Second filling done today – not as bad as the first. I even made it without valium 🙂

Good news and bad news

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Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. (The bad news)


Perhaps the third time was not the charm. The blister from Day 1 became my ultimate nemesis creating a series of injuries which have knocked me out of the event. I had it bandaged as I started into day 2 and it flet pretty good. But, I *should* have gone to the medical tent in the morning and had them do it. I arrived back at camp at 5:30 and had breakfast and participated in the pre-walk stretch. The route opened at 6:15 and I was ready. Looking back, even though the toe felt ok, I know I favored the right leg and consciously led with my left when going up and down curbs as we made our way out of Pacific Beach and onto the Mission Beach boardwalk. That was a change in my regular gait which was a mistake. About three miles into the route, my left knee started to hurt on the outside. My knees have never hurt. I stretched, tried to loosen it, and went back to leading into elevation changes with my right foot. But the knee kept feeling worse. I took some Motrin with no effect. Still, I was keeping up a pretty good pace and arrived at the lunch stop at 8:30. Unfortunately, they would not let anyone LEAVE the lunch spot until 9:30! That really hurt me. The kneww totally stiffened and then hurt so much that I had to limp. So, with everything at a standstill anyway, I went to the medical tent and saw a physical therapist. He diagnosed a tightened IT band? It’s the connectiong between the knee and hip. He iced it, the massaged it (oh that felt good!) then showed me specifically how to stretch it out. He told me that once it starts hurting, it can last a long time, but that it is ok to keep walking through it as long as I kept stretching at the breaks and just kept moving (curse that stupid route holdup!) With that knowledge I went on. It would hurt like hell, then oddly ease up in waves. Going uphill felt good, going down hill was agony. Of course this being San Diego we had one steep uphill in Pt Loma and then back down again. I was so focused mentally inward to walk through the pain that I didn’t notice as much around me. There were supporters of course and I weakly would wave back at them. I tried to soak in the atmosphere in Ocean Beach (breathed in a faceull of incense at The Black, a local “head shop”). Being in OB is liking traveling back in time to the 60s. I admired the gorgeous houses and views on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. As I approached a Pit Stop at mile 15, I started debating in my head. Do I take van back to camp? I was moving slower, but still moving through the route fast enough thanks to my head start in order to make it back to camp to get home for the football game. Or, do I take the van in order to preserve a chance at walking on Day 3? As I turned onto the street about 3 blocks from the pit stop, my right toes gave me the answer. I was so focused on the left knee, that I did not notice that the wrapping on the toe had shifted, was had ultimately created another blister in between my toes and cut into my pinkie toe! I felt the sharp pain, sat down right there and took off the shoe and sock and saw blood. Ok, I’m done! I truly shuffled to the pit stop. Hopped on a van and fought the tears. I was so exhausted from the battle with the knee and then pissed that a gamn blister took me out. The van took me to a bus which took walkers back to camp. On the bus, I was with other walkers who had taken themselves out. 3 others had the exact same problems that I did. We consoled and bolstered each others spirits. I got home and iced the knee and cleaned off the blistered toes. I also slept! Nick came home from work and I got ready for the football game. Ugg boots eased my feet and toes. But the knee. Well, it was really both knees at this point because the right knee had started to hurt in the same spot just before the blisters hit me. As I got out of the car at the football field and could hardly move, I made the decision to shut it down entirely. The icing and stretching at home and the rest had not made anything better. The blisters hurt as soon as I put on a tennis shoe. How was I going to walk? So I am at home. I will go downtown for the closing ceremony to cheer on everyone else. When I told the other parents at the game about the knee pain, those who were runners immediately grimaced in recognition and told me that shutting it down was the only things to do. They also confirmed that this will hurt for awhile! Lovely. I guess I was asking too much to get through a third 3-day with not a single blister of injury.

We are the champions! (The good news)
Another kick ass football game was played last night. The Torrey Pines Golden Falcons beat the Rancho Bernardo Broncos 14-6. Like last week, the two teams hit each other hard. The Falcons scored first and went up 14-0 early. Once on a pass play and once on an interception returned for a TD. Then the Broncos tightened up their game. They scored toward the end of the half and then had possesion of the ball for what seemed like the entire second half. Our offense was getting beat up. Our starting center took a hard hit and pulled himself out for a series. But the backup center had already had his hand wrapped up and then got an elbow injury and had to have THAT taoped up. He gutted it out though and then when the regular guy put himself back in they fought back. One of our running backs to a blow to the lower back and came out crying. His older brother who plays freshman football rubbed it for him and he went back in. DS2 came up limping after a defensive play and shook it off. The coaches son who had been injured early in the season and played tentatively all year finally found his courage and old form and was flying all over the field. Despite some very poor referee calls, the Golden Falcons toughed it out. The deciding play had the Broncos driving to within 12 yards of the goal line with under 2 mins to play. A touchdown and 2 point kick would tie the game. Then they fumbled! The coaches son fell on the ball and hung on with all his strength. He came out of the pile with the ball and a bloody finger and the biggest smile you have ever seen! His dad lifted him up in celebration and that’s when I first started crying 🙂 We ran out the clock and we all stormed the field to celebrate I see that several of the *boys* are crying! These are 8,9,10 year old boys just letting it all out after battling through to a 10-0 season. This was a game when calls by the refs and hard hits by the opponents could have deflated their will to win. They didn’t let it stop them. Most of the team went afterwards to Texas Lil’s for beer and ribs. What I loved the most was that DS1 finally got to see one of the games.

3-day walk report, Day 1

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Well the font should be pink, but then it would be *really* be hard to read so this mauve will have to do.

Oh man today was SLOW! Did not walk into camp until 4:45. Started at 7:40am though. Tomorrow I will get to camp to eat breakfast before 5:30 and hit the route when it opens at 6:00am. I *must* be done by 2:30-3:00 in order to get home, shower, and eat something before leaving for Murietta. Nick will be off work at 4:00 so he is joining me up to see Alex’s last Mighty Mite game of his career.

Lowlights of the day (let’s be real, walking 20+ miles there are some lows!)

Temps went from very cold during opening ceremonies to hot during the day. I had to shed two layers on the route. At lunch, a crew member was offering to take excess clothing off people’s hands and bring them to camp. Well, my stuff wasn’t there when I checked!! Grumble.

I developed my first ever blister on a 3-day! Bottom of my 4th toe on my right foot. Arrrgh!! Consequently I walked incorrectly on that foot for the last 10 miles and now the right pinkie toe and outer bone area are sore. Sigh. Blister has burst, skins is cleaned, neosporin and bandaid applied. I will have to try a couple different sock/shoe combinations for tomorrow. When I am supposed to go fast. Grumble.

I bit into an apple incorrectly and now the place where the fillings were done is all sore again. Grumble.

Ok, enough of that! Highlights!

It was freaking gorgeous today! Since we started late and were totally bunched up forcing a much slower pace, I took lots of scenic pics of my fine city. We went from the Del Mar Fairgrounds where we watched the sunrise, up Torrey Pines hill, down La Jolla Scenic, had lunch at The La Jolla Shores park, walked along the beach in La JOlla, then through the Bird Rock area into Pacific Beach and entered the Mission Bay boardwalk at Fanuel Park just as the sun was starting to set. Rather than try and post all the pics here, I will create a kodak album once the walk is over and link to it from here.

I found the Little League mom and her cousin during the Opening ceremonies and walked with them. Since pace today was not critical it was nice to have company. I found out that this mom belongs to an Oct 97 birth list! So we shared stories of our mom groups 🙂

The Walk is everything I remembered it to be and I am so thrilled that I found a way to slide it into my schedule this year. The cheering groups all the way were so inspiring. The creativity in attire and signage just cracked us up all day! Think of it this way – all weekend it is totally acceptable to talk about titties!! There was a support vehicle that had painted on it’s side 1-800-dial-atit. Ok, too many digits, but loved it! Another van was covered in pink milk jugs. Jugs! Get it? The jugs van! Ahem. Anyway, all euphamisms for breasts were seen and totally accepted. Men can talk about boobs all weekend and not get slapped during the 3-day! One sign read “Hoofing it for headlights!”

When I got up to the top of Torrey Pines hill, 10 of my co-workers were up there waiting to cheer me on. I’d worn my NU shirt (now lost apparently!) to honor their donations and it was so nice to have them come out.

Anyway, time to shut it down. I slept only an hour last night. Too amped as always! I think I will sleep much better tonight! I am glad that I chose to come home. I did the tent/camp life thing the first two times. I don’t feel like I am missing anything being at home instead. More tomorrow if time permits! Thanks for all the well wishes.

Ready to walk!

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Packed and ready to go! Of course, since I packed the gear bag, I have decided not to stay in the tents! It just doesn’t make sense to stay only one night. I have to drive to camp sight on Day 3 anyway since I will return home to attend Alex’s final football game. So, I will just call a cab tomorrow and come home, then drive out and park in the neighborhood just outside the camp. Since the Day 2 route begins and ends there, I just hop back into my car and head out to Murrietta. Anyway, long explanation for me to say I am coming home each night. I went through the full experience the first two years so I wont feel like I am missing out. But now, I am sleepy. I have to get up at 4:30am so that I can eat something before having Nick drop me off before 6:00am. Opening Ceremonies are at 6:30. Walking begins at 7:00. I probably wont get onto the route until nearly 7:30 unless I am lucky enough to get up front. I dont want to start out too early anyway or else I will pass work before everyone is there! I am calling them at the bottom of the Torrey Pines grade so that they can come out and cheer when I reach the top just across from our building. So I may post a Day 1 update tomorrow 🙂 Feel free to call and leave messages on my cell phone. I will have it with me and will check it at each rest stop. The other advantage to coming home is being able to recharge the phone each night. Thanks again to everyone who donated. I am off!