The race is three weeks away and the sea of pink is expected to be much smaller than in years past. That means the donations it raises will be smaller as well. Last year, the San Francisco affiliate raised $1.6 million. $1.1 million of that stayed in the Bay Area.
The race is a familiar sight to many. Komen is the world's largest breast cancer charity. It's headquartered in Dallas with 120 affiliates across the nation. The San Francisco-Bay Area affiliate's fundraising race is set for September 9. Organizers say normally by now, there are as many as 2,000 participants registered, but this year there are only 1,000.
Komen executives believe that's because of backlash from a January proposal to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood. That proposal was never adopted nationally and the San Francisco affiliate says it would never have adopted the policy anyway. Planned Parenthood has never asked San Francisco for a grant.
Komen and the groups it helps support say lack of donations will not hurt Komen management, but it will hurt the women who rely on it. "I think the problem we have here is that health is being politicized and health issues should never be politicized," Maria Sousa told ABC7 News. "And we feel very strongly that what we're here for is the women who've lost their jobs or are working at jobs without insurance. And unfortunately, there's hundreds of thousands of women like that in the Bay Area and that's who we're trying to help."
"The thing to remember is the money that comes from these local walks stays in local communities and gets granted back out, so all this controversy going on at the national level has nothing to do with the services and women of this community who need those services," said Mike Smith with the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund.
The local affiliates are required to give 25 percent of the money they raise to the national headquarters, but that money only goes to research and not to things like executive salaries or other overhead.