MANCHESTER -- The local Vermont-New Hampshire Komen affiliate released fund-raising figures Thursday following last weekend’s Race for the Cure in Manchester. While pledges are continuing to be accepted through Sept. 1, the regional affiliate reported this year’s race on July 28 brought in $185,046.
That number includes cash sponsorships, race registrations, pledges and proceeds from the silent auction, raffles and merchandise sales. While down from last year (when the goal was $250,000) the tally indicates continued support for the breast cancer foundation.
More events planned
"It was a very good day, all things considered," said Debbie Peretz, Vermont-New Hampshire affiliate president, in a written release. "Our numbers were down but the energy level was up, and the folks on the field -- participants, volunteers, survivors, everybody -- really put their hearts and souls into the race. Good things will come from this and, hopefully, we’ll see our numbers start to turn around next year."
Komen affiliates across the nation found themselves dealing with a backlash following a controversy at the national level over whether to continue funding for Planned Parenthood breast cancer screenings earlier this year. At this year’s race at the Hildene meadows, participation was down by about a third -- 1,600 runners and walkers, as opposed to approximately 2,200 through recent years on average.
"We were just unsure," said Deb Peterson, a Bennington resident and executive director for the Vermont-New Hampshire affiliate. For those who participated, Peterson said their enthusiasm and fundraising was "amazing." And she reiterated that local support for Komen stays local.
Seventy-five percent of funds go toward community health grants within the affiliate, while the remainder goes toward national Komen research grants and education.
"The money is going toward helping your friends and neighbors and family," said Peterson.
Earlier this year, the affiliate awarded $500,000 to 16 community-based breast health programs in Vermont and New Hampshire, including the Bennington Free Clinic and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center; the result of fundraising in 2011.
With several more events planned, the extent of the fallout from the Planned Parenthood controversy won’t be known until the end of the year. Providing a boost to the local affiliate, however, are multiple new events for 2012, including a New Hampshire Race for the Cure in Portsmouth which raised more than $154,000 this past May. New Hampshire also has its own inaugural equestrian Ride for the Cure scheduled for September.
Total could rise
Peterson said the local affiliate was hopeful the new events could result in a still higher final tally compared to last year. "We’re trying to step up our game" in New Hampshire, she said. "The amount we can give out is based on our bottom line."
Vermont’s Ride for the Cure takes place Oct. 8 in Woodstock, while the local "race for the cure on snowshoes" -- Tubbs Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer -- occurred in January at Stratton Mountain Resort.
Peterson said the additional events were drawing new participants. "It’s a big event for equestrians," she said of the annual Ride for the Cure, in its third year, where both riders and horses arrive bedecked in pink.
For dog owners, a Paws for the Cure was part of Orvis’s Dog Days in June.
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