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Local chapter of Susan G. Komen organization latest to be closed
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Local chapter of Susan G. Komen organization latest to be closed

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The Winston-Salem chapter of the Susan G. Komen organization closed Friday, the latest in a line of closings of local Komen organizations across the country.

“We would like to thank the many people who supported the affiliate the past 18 years and look forward to continuing this relationship of impact in a new way,” Lori Maris, vice president of Susan G. Komen Affiliate Network, said in a statement.

The organization said people can access treatment assistance, clinical trial navigation, education and other patient support programs through its national help Line at 877-GOKOMEN or through www.komen.org.

National Komen officials said Friday the timing for closing the local chapter was related primarily to lease agreements expiring and staffing having been pared down to no full-time employees.

Over the past 18 months, Komen has shut down chapters in Arizona, Maine, Orlando, Fla., southwest Florida and eastern Washington.

The reasoning cited for closing the Northwest N.C. chapter was similar to the others — “strengthening its entire network by streamlining operations for increased efficiency and focusing its mission programs for maximum impact on its goal of reducing breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2026.”

However, the organization has been affected by the divisive national political climate and a flap over funding Planned Parenthood cancer-screening services.

In 2012, the national Susan G. Komen organization withdrew, then restored, funding to Planned Parenthood. Local fundraising dropped 43 percent that year, from $219,736 to $126,418, officials said.

The local Race for the Cure has dwindled from more than 10,000 participants in 2011 to about 2,500 for the 2018 race.

On April 20, the local chapter said the 2018 Race for the Cure event would be its last, replaced in 2019 by an event called the More than Pink Walk.

The organization said it will continue to hold local events to raise money “that will continue to go to support breast cancer research and breast health programs at local clinics and hospitals as intended.”

The Charlotte chapter will manage all local active grants and supporters also can give to the Komen Triangle to the Coast chapter.

Since 2000, the local chapter provided more than $6.3 million for education, mammograms, treatment assistance and psychosocial support programs, as well as an additional $2.1 million for breast cancer research, the chapter said on its website.

Media stories about other Komen chapter closings said that local affiliates are required to sign an agreement each year, which carries a certain amount of conditional requirements that must be met for the organization to function.

Competition against other non-profit organizations, fewer donations, and fewer organization participants were named as contributing factors to those closure.

rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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