I Will Not Be Pinkwashed: Komen's Race Is For Money, Not Cure
It’s October. And that means, it’s prime pink season. It’s national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that magical time of year when shades of pale pink are plastered onto every product, every container, every conceivable gadget or gizmo the Susan G. Komen Foundation can get its hands on. That iconic symbol of overlapped ribbon is supposed to adorn every man, woman and child who ever had a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, niece or aunt who faced the horrifying struggle of breast cancer.
But I am not buying it.
Susan G. Komen: For Cure of Con?
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a multimillion-dollar company with assets totaling over $390 million. Only 20.9% of these funds were reportedly used in the 2009-2010 fiscal year for research “for the cure.” Where does the rest of the money go? Let’s have a look. Health screening is 13.0%. Treatment is 5.6%. Fundraising is 10.0%. The largest chunk of the pie is going toward “public health education,” 39.1%. More on that later, but for now I’d like to take a look at the millions, or 11.3%, spent on “administrative costs.”
Click on this link from Susan G. Komen’s Form 990 from 2008 showing the salaries of some of its highest-paid employees. All non-profits have to file these with the IRS. "Part VII, Section AAa" show what the numbers in the columns represent, but cut out the board members listed as having no salary -- er, “reportable” salary.
What do we see? Note the dates of employment for some of the lesser-paid employees. Gary Dicovitsky, VP Development, for example, was paid $95,291 (plus $2,746) only from 10/08 to 3/09. Gary must have gotten a promotion since then, though. Because while it still lists his position as VP Development from 10/08 – 3/09, his salary from 2009 was $417,109. Oh, plus $18,091 in change.
I don’t know about you, but I would never expect directors of a charitable “non-profit” organization to make more than most doctors, lawyers, or even politicians. Their CEO and president, Hala G. Moddelmog, made $531,924, plus $26,683 in change. That's more than President Obama makes.
Here's another screenshot from 2009 Form 990, straight from Komen.org. Yup, more of the same. Curiously, these were the only employees listed in this type of form, similar to the 2008 one. Other employees were not listed with their position title.
In all, about 11% of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s annual revenue goes toward employee salaries. And that adds up to a lot of money. But what about the rest?
"Public Health Education"
We have all seen the rallies with pink hats, pink T-shirts, pink staging, pink everything. Is this really making a difference?
The area in which Komen spends the highest percentage of funds is in “public health education,” in other words, bringing awareness to the population of the disease itself and the importance of screening for early detection of breast cancer. While that may be considered a worthwhile goal to some, it’s important to realize that Komen stands to profit from spreading that message.
It admits to about 10% of funds used for “fundraising,” but let’s be honest, the pink-ribbon-plastered “awareness” and”education” campaigns are often little more than a highly effective form of advertising — which in turn, brings in Komen’s millions. In other words, a way to raise funds for itself, while getting a pat on the back for its efforts to “save lives.”
One thing that doesn’t quite compute with me is how Komen’s mission of finding a “cure” — after all, that is its name — is congruent with putting over half its money toward promoting awareness and screening, for early detection of breast cancer. It’s not curing breast cancer to be aware that you could get it, nor is finding out that you have cancer and treating it in the early stages in hopes of entering into remission. That’s not a cure. Yet that is Komen’s largest promoted focus.
So how does it hope to accomplish its mission of finding a cure for breast cancer?
Research "for the Cure"
The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of a charity giant such as Komen funding research to prevent disease, is pouring money into Big Pharma’s pocketbook. After all, our only hope for a cure for cancer is that magical drug or vaccine that pharmaceutical corporations will one day rescue us all with, right?
Of course not.
But the reality that research in the conventional medical world is put toward, well, conventional medicine (allopathic drugs) remains. For me, this begs the question — where exactly does your research funding go, Komen?
SGK had the following to say regarding accusations that its organization funds pharmaceutical research:
“It’s been reported that Susan G. Komen for the Cure provides funding to pharmaceutical companies. That is simply not true. We have never funded pharmaceutical company research – our grants, totaling $450 million, have gone to research institutions in the U.S. and abroad.” – Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Ohh… okay. So you would never provide funding to pharmaceutical companies that sell disease-promoting, toxic chemical drugs to cancer patients.
But take their money? Sure!
“The Komen Foundation owns stock in General Electric, one of the largest makers of mammogram machines in the world. It also owns stock in several pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca (now AzkoNobel).
AstraZeneca has long been a Komen booster, making educational grants to Komen and having a visible presence at the Race For the Cure. At the 1998 Food and Drug Administration hearings, the Komen Foundation was the only national breast cancer group toendorse the AstraZeneca cancer treatment drug tamoxifen as a prevention device for healthy but high-risk women, despite vehement opposition by most other breast cancer groups because of its links to uterine cancer.
The organization’s biggest sponsors are — surprise! — the corporations that profit from cancer through chemotherapy and radiation. To them, Komen for the Cure isn’t really about finding a cure for cancer; it’s about promoting cancer so that they can sell more drugs and radiotherapy that keeps more patients locked into a cycle of dependence on toxic cancer treatments.” -Well put, Natural News.
(Did you catch that bit about poisoning healthy women with the carcinogenic cancer drug, Tamoxifen, as a preventative measure? Yeah. Moving on…)
Susan G. Komen does indeed provide millions of dollars to fund research — but what exactly is it researching with those grants? One blogger diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer who had serious doubts of the intentions of the Komen foundation, dug through the research grants herself, and found the following information about how Komen’s research money is spent.
Its pie chart for all research spending from 1982-2010 says: treatment, 22%; early detection, 15%; etiology, 8%; prevention, 10%; model systems, 3%; survivorship, 9%; and biology, 33%.
Now, of those categories being researched, which sounds like it is actually focused on curing breast cancer?
Early detection? No.
Treatment? No. (That would be drugs used to treat symptoms.)
The only conceivable categories related to finding a cure for the cancer being researched would be etiology (the study of causation), survivorship, model systems, and biology.
So to break it down even further, Susan G. Komen for the Cure only spends a possible 53% of its research funding for a cure, or — about 11% of total revenue. Donate a dollar “for the cure?” Only about a dime of that will go toward research that might actually be designed to cure cancer, through allopathic medicine that is driven by the pharmaceutical system.
Right now I am looking at a pink Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket. Okay, a picture of one--but this actually happened.
Komen receives over $55 million in annual revenue from corporate sponsorships, from such health-minded companies as Coca Cola, General Mills, and KFC — that’s right, the fast-food joint contributing to American society with buckets of diseased and tortured birds fried in genetically modified toxins.Buy a bucket of junk food, and pretend as though you’re helping to save lives while you slowly take your own!
Pink ribbon products are everywhere. But how much good is it really doing to support the fight against breast cancer by purchasing them?
As it turns out, not much.
If only about a dime of every dollar is spent on research for a cure, then just imagine how minuscule of a contribution is being made for that cause when such a small portion of the pink proceeds go toward Komen as a whole.
Pinkwashers are clearly not just in it for the noble cause. The companies that sell these products are well aware that promoting themselves as supporters of breast cancer awareness leads to better public perception and increased profits.
Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy explains that, “The makers of some pink products donate proceeds only for a limited time. These products may command a higher price tag, and sometimes they will remain on sale after the donation period ends — even with the higher price.”
In addition to limiting the amount of time that portions of pinkwashed proceeds will be donated, product manufacturers also usually put a cap on the total amount of money that will be donated. If that limit has already been reached by the time you buy your pink product, your purchase isn’t contributing a thing. But the company sponsoring Komen continues to proudly sport the pink persuasion anyway, in hopes that you’ll buy into it.
The Breast Cancer Action organization has created a project to educate consumers about the deceitfulness of pinkwashing, or cause-marketing of pink ribbon products. They promote awareness of this issue with the Think Before You Pink campaign, aimed especially at highlighting the pink products which themselves are cancer-causing or dangerous to your health, such as toxic cosmetics, rBGH-laced dairy products and air-polluting cars. The BCA is doing great work toward fighting the pinkwashing scam and is actually a breast cancer organization I believe should be supported, if any!
Bullies "for the Cure"
Did you know that Susan G. Komen for the Cure spends nearly a million dollars annually suing small charities over the use of the word “cure” in their charitable endeavors? Komen’s general counsel, Jonathan Blum, had the following to say regarding a legal battle of Komen's that threatened to shut down a small lung cancer organization for using the word “cure” in its name: “We see it as responsible stewardship of our donor’s funds.”
Cause when I donate money to a charity, I expect them to use it to dismantle other charities that don’t have millions of dollars to spend on harassing others. Thanks so much for being a good steward of my donations, SGK.
Do we really need breast cancer awareness anyway?
In my not-so-humble opinion, cancer "awareness" is a ridiculous goal invented by deceitful organizations such as SKG to profit off off the American public -- make sure you're "aware" that you could potentially get breast cancer! So that you go and get yearly mammograms (and make lots of money for us!), and then once you get cancer, you can come right back for unbelievably expensive and toxic treatments that will only keep you alive long enough to squeeze out from you every last penny that you're worth!
Sorry, this stuff really bothers me.
The only thing I would advocate as far as the “awareness” train goes would be the importance of self breast exams. Obviously, you should always be looking out for changes in your body that might signal illness. But if I were to discover anything suspicious, I would be very, very careful about just who I put my potentially ill body in the hands of — I certainly would not want a conventional doctor to swoop in like a vulture and push a bunch of dangerous and nonsensical “treatments” down my throat that will only make me sicker and cause me to live miserably.
Stop the lies! There are already cures for cancer!
Breast cancer, along with other cancers, is being treated and cured successfully every day with alternative therapies, and have been for quite some time. But do big corporations and organizations like Susan G. Komen stand to profit off of those treatments? Of course not. So we aren’t hearing about them.
Even modern advancements in safe and effective cancer cures are being found — and thwarted by the FDA and the pharmaceutical giants (in which Komen has monetary stock, remember?) which support such government agencies.
I strongly encourage everyone to watch the documentary film, Burzynski the Movie: Cancer is Serious Business, for an eye-opening look into what happens when cancer cures are actually found (their creators are faced with a prison sentence). The film documents the work of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a medical doctor and biochemist who has discovered the genetic mechanism that can cure most human cancers. For a limited time, you can actually watch the film in its entirety online for free.
Prevention is the best cure
More importantly, what the medical establishment fails to recognize is that cancer is largely preventable. And Susan G. Komen for the Cure is no exception to such ignorance. There are no mentions of eating healthy foods, getting proper levels of cancer-preventing Vitamin D, or cutting out sugar — the substance that feeds cancer cells — in any of its “public health education” efforts. Even though these are scientifically proven ways to prevent cancer.
I am looking at another image: pink cupcakes. This is not how you fight breast cancer.
No. We are simply told to accept that our likelihood of getting breast cancer amounts to little more than a genetic roll of the dice. So we must continue to "hope" for a cure, in case the die are cast unfavorably against us.
The harsh reality is that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a major player in the multi-billion-dollar industry that is cancer. If a cure for cancer is found (or acknowledged), the industry would collapse, and those billions would not be made anymore.
You're free to draw your own conclusions, but as for me, I don't believe that Susan G. Komen's mission is truly "for the cure."
Emily Michelle writes about natural health and real nutrition at her website, ButterBeliever.com.