Have you ever walked ten miles in one day? How about sixty miles in three days? Was the three-day walk for breast cancer research? If so, you were probably participating in a Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research and patient support programs.

The organization, originally known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, was founded in 1982 by Nancy Goodman Brinker in memory of her younger sister, Susan Goodman Komen. Born in Peoria, Illinois in 1943, Komen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of thirty-three and died at thirty-six. Brinker promised her sister that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer.

In 1983, The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was introduced. Held in Dallas, Texas, the event consisted of a series of 5K runs and fitness walks to raise money for breast cancer research. Eight hundred individuals participated. In 2008, the organization celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Race for the Cure. By 2010, there were approximately 130 races worldwide, and over 1.6 million participated in the race.

Additional funding for the organization comes from cause marketing. What is that? According to https://causegood.com, “Cause marketing is the marketing of a for-profit product or business which benefits a nonprofit charity or supports a social cause in some way.” For example, Yoplait ran the Save Lids to Save Lives program. The Susan G. Komen organization raised over $36 million a year from over 60 cause marketing partnerships.

A number of large corporations provide financial contributions to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Top organizations include American Airlines, Bank of America, Caterpillar Foundation, Ford Motor Company, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, Mohawk Industries, New Balance, Walgreens, and Yoplait.

What started in 1982 has become a multimillion fundraising effort to end breast cancer forever. According to “Susan G. Komen for the Cure” at https://wikipedia.org/wiki, “To date, Komen has funded more than $800 million in breast cancer research.”

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—By Karen Centowski