Komen Supporters Racing for the Cure At About Same Rate as Last Year

The first Race for the Cure event since a lot of people started pointing out that Komen actually kind of sucks as a charity was to be a test for the organization, and since turnout at this event was the same as last year, organizers say all's well that ends well. But is it really that simple?

Last year's El Paso Race for the Cure featured 11,500 preregistered runners, and this year's held steady, with 11,000 participants registering. According to Komen's El Paso executive director Stephanie Flora, an additional 7,000 people showed up to register on the day of the event, but according to local police, it was more like 1,000 to 2,000.

MSNBC says the fairly steady race participation is a sign that people in El Paso aren't bothered by Komen's unpopular decision to defund and then re-fund Planned Parenthood and lie a whole lot about it. Organizers called the event a huge success. But it's not really fair to say a money raising event was a success without knowing, uh, how much money was raised. And it's hardly fair to say that Komen's undamaged just because roughly the same number of people were interested in participating in a race.

Regardless of whether Komen's recent PR problem affected race turnout, Komen continues to tout the services it helps poor women obtain. On the event's page, it urges people to donate money to the cause, saying donated funds would support

Free mammograms and diagnostics
Medical treatment for qualified breast cancer patients who cannot afford care, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation
Support services including support groups, assistance with finding financial resources, prescription refills and transportation to medical appointments
Education about the warning signs of breast cancer, methods of early detection and the latest treatment options
Cutting edge research to find a cure for breast cancer

When they eliminated funding to Planned Parenthood, Komen CEO Nancy Brinker said that the reasoning behind the decision was to cut out the middleman and focus instead on organizations that were providing services directly to patients rather than simply giving referrals for mammograms. Now, less than a month later, they're attempting to encourage donations by promising donors that their funds will go to support the very sort of programs— education and diagnostics for low income women— that were too inefficient when Planned Parenthood was providing them.

But maybe race organizers are right, and people don't care about thinking critically before giving money to cancer research even though their charity of choice may be taking advantage of their good intentions. There are other things to get mad about, after all— like Chris Brown winning a Grammy.

Turnout steady at Komen charity race despite controversy [MSNBC]