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Susan G. Komen Eastern Washington chapter shutting down

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 8, 2017

FILE - Pink was the color of the day for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2011, with more than 8,700 people gathered at the starting line in downtown Spokane. (SR)
FILE - Pink was the color of the day for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2011, with more than 8,700 people gathered at the starting line in downtown Spokane. (SR)

The Eastern Washington affiliate of the Susan G. Komen organization is closing its doors at the end of March, but a different organization is stepping in to take its place.

The change was announced on the organization’s Facebook page late Tuesday. The change was not made because of any issues with the national Susan G. Komen organization, said Deb Barnes, the former executive director for Susan G. Komen Eastern Washington.

Each regional affiliate has a contract with the national organization that must be renewed every three years, and the Eastern Washington contract is up at the end of March. In recent months board members of the local affiliate have been discussing the future of their organization, Barnes said.

“These have been ongoing conversations,” she said. “It actually was super amicable. There’s nothing but respect on both sides.”

Most of the money raised by Susan G. Komen Eastern Washington stayed local in the form of grants for breast cancer awareness, mammograms and support for breast cancer patients and survivors. A 25 percent share of money raised locally was sent to the national organization to support breast cancer research. The local affiliate has raised $4 million in the 14 years it has been in existence.

Barnes said the local board wanted to make sure all the money raised stayed local, so they are ceasing operations and turning everything over to Every Women Can, a foundation started by Inland Imaging to raise awareness of breast cancer and award grants for health care and other breast cancer related needs.

“The name is being gifted from Inland Imaging,” Barnes said. “It started with them.”

The Susan G. Komen Eastern Washington board of directors will disband and a new board is forming for Every Woman Can. Barnes said she has been asked to be the chief executive officer of the new group.

Every Woman Can will host a Pink Ribbon Run every year to take the place of the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

The area served by the new organization will be larger, Barnes said. The local affiliate of Susan G. Komen covered 14 counties in Eastern Washington. The new group will provide grants to groups in every county east of the Cascades, she said.

“We owe them a debt of gratitude,” Barnes said of Susan G. Komen. “They provided so much awareness around the world. It’s a sad ending but also an exciting new beginning for a new organization that has open, wide potential.”

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