This Saturday, presumably - hopefully - many pink-shirted folks will be back again to take part in the race as a spectator. a volunteer or a participant. It's always a very moving sight. But as everyone remotely connected to the race, as well as many others who aren't already know, this year has been a little different.
The backlash from an unfortunate controversy about whether the Komen Foundation would pull its funding for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, another nonprofit organization involved with family planning, may have subsided following the foundation's retreat from that poorly thought-out original decision last winter.
Clarifications have been duly issued. It's worth noting again that the Vermont-N.H. affiliate played no role in the original decision regarding funding for Planned Parenthood. Nevertheless, the number of people registering for this year's race here in Manchester got off to a slow start,
That the Race for the Cure and the Komen Foundation have done a great deal to bring attention to and raise awareness of breast cancer is hardly arguable. The best example of that is the profusion of other worthy causes which have followed in the footsteps of the Race for the Cure and have emulated - or tried to - the marketing reach and brand name recognition.
From a provincial local standpoint, having a vibrant Race for the Cure is obviously a good and desirable thing for our area. Anytime we have an event that attracts somewhere between 1-3,000 people all told, that's a good thing. Especially this year, with an uncertain economic climate still prevailing, events such as these are to be welcomed and supported with open arms.
It's also going to be one of the last times the race will apparently be run along the traditional route. While current plans call for the run to be staged in the same place next year, it may be moved to a new location after that. Hopefully - and right now there's no reason to think otherwise - the venue will simply be shifting to somewhere else in Manchester. But if the numbers keep falling, it doesn't require a large mental leap to think about how attractive another location closer to a larger market - like Burlington - might seem to race organizers who work hard and have a responsibility to raise as much money as they can. That would be a real tragedy for us here, having nurtured this event from childhood through adolescence, and while it would be no easy task to replicate the infrastructure and experience of the race somewhere else, it wouldn't be impossible either. So we have every reason, therefore, to cheer them on: race organizers, volunteers, runners, walkers and perhaps most importantly, survivors and their families.
But Saturday won't be about inter-foundation politics or the economics of a fund-raising event. It will be about helping people and their friends and families cope with a debilitating and life threatening disease. Let's hope for nice weather and a good turnout. Let's hope for hope.