Feb 5, 2016

No local services expected to be lost when Susan G. Komen leaves Wyoming

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation plans to pull out of the state of Wyoming at the end of the year and take its grant funding with it.

The foundation, with its slogan “Ending breast cancer forever,” was created in honor of a breast cancer victim. It aims to promote breast health and raises money for research and prevention through its annual “Race for the Cure” events.

According to Charity Navigator, 80.3 percent of the $228.4 million the Susan G. Komen Foundation raised nationwide in 2014 was spent on the programs and services it delivers.

The impact of the foundation’s withdrawal will be felt in organizations around the state, such as Northwest Family Planning in Cody.

Michelle Gutierrez, director of Northwest Family Planning, said that organization still has grant money from the Komen foundation available through April.

“We can still help women in the community get breast health services,” she said.

In addition, Northwest Family Planning raised $2,000 last fall through its Lights of Hope program. That money will be used to provide breast health services as well, she said.

“We hope to be able to do that again this year,” she added.

Thanks to local fundraising efforts, Gutierrez said she doesn’t expect any changes in services as a result of the loss of the Komen Foundation grant, though that loss was not something she expected.

“It is unfortunate that Susan Komen is pulling out of our area, but if we do our own things, it will be OK,” she said. “We’re fortunate in this area that so many people support breast health.”

Northwest Family Planning also refers women with breast health concerns to other organizations, such as the Wyoming Cervical Cancer and Breast Health Program and the Avon Foundation, she said.

“There are other options out there; it’s just that the funding isn’t streamed through us,” she said.

Northwest Family Planning assumed the local Women’s Health role last year after the former Migrant Health Service office closed in Powell.

“We felt there was a need to keep it up, so we took on the Komen grant after that,” Gutierrez said.

Migrant health services will return to Powell this year through Ag Worker and Health Services, under the management of Montana Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Council Inc.

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