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National controversy hurting Southern Arizona's Race for the Cure

National controversy hurting Southern Arizona's Race for the Cure

CREATED Mar 21, 2012

Reporter: Corinne Hautala

The largest fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Southern Arizona is days away and registration numbers are down about 40 percent.

Race for the Cure event organizers told 9OYS they thought it there would be no problem reaching their goal of 10,000 participants.  That goal became harder to achieve, last month, when Komen National announced it would not award grants to Planned Parenthood.  It later reversed the decision, but the damage was done.

Komen of Southern Arizona said it had nothing to do with that decision and it would consider awarding a grant to Planned Parenthood in Tucson.

At a time when donations are down, Jaimie Leopold with Susan G. Komen Foundation of Southern Arizona, said grant requests are up.

“We actually doubled the amount of grant requests, this year.  We had over 24 requests, with a total of 1.4 million in grant requests,” said Leopold.

The foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year is Race for the Cure and with just days until the event, participation is down significantly.

“We have 6,000 people registered today," explained Leopold.

Without donations, Leopold explained they will be forced to give out fewer grants, therefore, helping fewer women in need.

The St. Elizabeth’s Health Clinic, in Tucson, has received grants the last several years from the Komen Foundation of Southern Arizona.

“If we didn't have this grant money,” said Sister Eileen Mahoney, “I'm not sure what we'd do with the women coming to us for help. We count on it to be able to help them get care.”

At 33-years old, Marey Bullard of Tucson was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She qualified to receive grant money the foundation had given to St. Elizabeth’s Health Clinic.

“They paid for my surgery, so that was helpful,” said Bullard.  She said she doesn’t know what she would have done without the financial help and added the foundation has also been emotionally supportive.

“I have their number on speed dial,” she said.  “They're about saving lives and they're passionate about that.”

Race for the Cure is Sunday March 25th at Reid Park.