Susan G. Komen for the Cure has cancelled half of its three-day charity races for 2014 due to a decline in participation. The announcement comes a year and a half after a controversy embroiled Komen stemming from the organization’s decision to stop grants to Planned Parenthood for breast screenings. The group restored funding to the abortion giant just days later, but the criticism continued.
A spokeswoman for the breast cancer organization said on Wednesday that the drop was “a little more dramatic” last year following the Planned Parenthood controversy in January of 2012.
USA Today reports that the Dallas-based organization is cancelling its races in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C. Races will continue in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Participation in the races has dropped 37% over the last four years, according to Komen. Those who participate must raise a minimum of $2,300 to walk 60 miles over three days. Komen spokeswoman Andrea Rader said that, due to the amount of money that must be raised, 60% of participants take part in the event only once.
Though Rader acknowledged the Planned Parenthood controversy as a reason for a more significant decline in participation last year, she said the “vast majority” of people have moved on from the conflict.
Last year, the Komen Foundation briefly decided to withhold more than half a million dollars in annual funding from the abortion provider due to the fact that Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms. The tax-funded organization simply refers patients to those who do perform them, collecting a fee in the process.
According to LifeSiteNews, donations to Komen doubled immediately after the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, but backlash from pro-abortion supporters led Komen CEO Nancy Brinker to restore funding prior to stepping down from her position.
“There are some folks who will never be back and we know that, and we hope that they will support breast cancer charities because the work’s important,” Rader said. She attributed a more consistent drop in participation to the economic downturn and competition from other events.