With the 20th Annual Race for the Cure just two weeks away, the registration for the race is 50 percent behind last year's pace. As of Monday afternoon, the Race has only registered 495 participants - last year approximately 2,200 people participated.
"We are down significantly in numbers at this point," said Vermont-New Hampshire Affiliate President Debbie Peretz. "When we crossed into July and the numbers were still so horrible, we thought we had to do something."
According to Peretz and Race Chair Carrie Rubinstein, the main reason - probably the only reason - behind the dramatic drop in numbers is the backlash to the decision that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure made early this year to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
"We are expecting to be off [in numbers], but we were expecting to be off by 20 to 25 percent," said Peretz. "Right now we are off by a lot more than that."
Problems began this past February when Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced that they would no longer award grant money to Planned Parenthood programs. The foundation made this decision because the family planning service was under federal investigation for allegedly using public funds to provide abortions. In the controversy that followed, the Komen
Peretz and Rubinstein stressed that the local affiliate did not support the decision and expressed their disappointment with the decision back in February.
"We weren't happy with what national did and we were clear about that from the beginning," said Peretz. "The best defense that we have is that we don't send them any money."
"As an affiliate, we didn't agree with what national did," said