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Letter to the Editor: Komen for the Cure Apologizes for Scheduling Annual Race on Yom Kippur

August 10, 2011

Jewish Community of Louisville
Through: Mr. Matt Goldberg, via email to mgoldberg@jewishlouisville.org

Dear Kentuckiana Jewish Faith Community:

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Louisville Affiliate, humbly apologizes to the Jewish Faith Community, for the conflict between our Annual Komen Race for the Cure and Yom Kippur, this October 8, 2011.

Our promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cure. The Komen Louisville Affiliate has been committed to that promise since our founding in 1999, and over the last 13 years we have held our most significant fund-raiser, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, on the second Saturday in October, which is breast cancer awareness month, at the Waterfront Park. The second Saturday in October has become widely known as the “Komen Louisville Race Day,” and is attended by over 10,000 participants, with a race course that this year will be run in both Kentucky and Indiana.

The Waterfront Park is a very popular venue, and events are often rescheduled a year in advance to assure access to the site, and to contract for all the support services necessary to conduct such an event, such as audio visual equipment, tents, food, security, port-a-lets, parade permits, closing of streets, parking, entertainment, signage and such. As you can imagine, the logistics for putting on the Race for Cure are considerable.

As we approached this year’s Komen Race for the Cure, we discovered that it would also fall on Yom Kippur. We checked with Louisville Waterfront Park officials as to other available Saturday dates in October, to which to move the race, without success. A few years ago our other major fundraiser, the Pink Tie Ball, fell on Rosh Hashanah, and we were able to delay the dinner until after sundown to accommodate our Jewish friends in attendance. In this year’s situation, there were no real options short of conducting, rescheduling or cancelling the 2011 Race for the Cure.

The Komen Louisville Affiliate derives the majority of its revenues from the Race for the Cure.  Seventy-five percent of the net revenue stays in our 15 Kentuckiana county service area which, in 2011, funded 18 grants to local entities which provide breast health care, education and services, totaling over $625,000, and the other 25 percent went to Komen Global for Breast Cancer Research, totaling nearly $200,000. We are pleased to have invested nearly $4 million toward the fight against breast cancer in this community since our inception, working to fulfill our promise.

I assure you that the Louisville Affiliate had no intent to offend anyone, specifically the Jewish Community, in holding its Komen Race for the Cure, on October 8, 2011.  If under the circumstances I have described, we have offended you or others, I, on behalf of the Board of Directors, apologize and ask for your forgiveness. Our work, as a Komen Affiliate, is to contribute to the cure of this disease, so that all will be free of its effects. That is why our hundreds of volunteers give of their time to make the Cure a Reality.

The Louisville Affiliate will in the future take every step to avoid this type of conflict. We can only invite you to continue to support our work in our community, which so many of you have and are doing. You do make a difference. Komen makes a difference. May the promise of one sister to another continue to guide our work.

Again, we apologize to all. We would never act in a way to harm our long-standing relationship.  In that spirit, we trust that we can continue to be partners in the fight against breast cancer.

Sincerely,

Robert S. Silverthorn, Jr.
President
Susan G. Komen for the Cure,
Louisville Affiliate

Note from JCRC Director Matt Goldberg: The Jewish Community Relations Council expressed our serious concerns but, at this point, this race will happen on Yom Kippur. Our JCRC of course supports the mission of Susan G. Komen, and in no way do we want to interfere with their mission. Mr. Silverthorn has personally assured me that every remedial effort was made after discovering the conflict, and that every effort will be made in the future to avoid a further conflict. He also assured me that the Louisville Jewish community will be involved in the early planning stages should a future conflict arise either with the race or any other Susan G. Komen event. We are continuing to monitor this situation, and will provide an update should the situation warrant it.

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