Komen Breast Cancer Charity to Cut Host Cities in Half for 3-Day Walk

PHOTO: Breast cancer survivors take pictures of each other during the Susan G. Komen Foundations 2012 Race for the Cure in Washington, June 2, 2012.Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Breast cancer survivors take pictures of each other during the Susan G. Komen Foundation's 2012 Race for the Cure in Washington, June 2, 2012.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure will next year cut in half the number of cities hosting its annual three-day walk, and not because breast cancer has been eradicated.

The high-profile charity cited economic difficulties this week to explain the elimination of seven host cities: Boston, Cleveland, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Fla., Washington and Chicago.

"Economic uncertainty over the past four years have presented challenges for all nonprofits, and have affected participation levels for the Komen 3-Day ... [and] have made it difficult to financially sustain an event of this magnitude in 14 cities," according to a statement from the country's largest breast cancer organization.

The Komen 3-Day requires participants to raise $2,300 for the 60-mile walk and the charity said it raised $82 million in 2011, for example.

READ MORE: Komen Reinstates Planned Parenthood Funding

The latest financial setback comes after the Dallas-based group, formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, last year lost major donors like the Livestrong Foundation, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and oil tycoon Lee Fikes after the organization said it would cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

It announced plans to cut funding to Planned Parenthood that would have gone toward breast cancer education and preventative cancer screenings. Critics saw the decision as a political move against legal abortions, which some Planned Parenthood locations also provide.

Komen representatives said the change was rooted in a new policy prohibiting the organization from granting funds to groups that were under investigation. At the time, Planned Parenthood was at the center of a probe by former Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., which was examining whether it used taxpayer money to fund abortions.

Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, denied allegations at the time and ultimately apologized on behalf of the organization and reinstated Planned Parenthood funding.

But it was too late to recover the lost contributions that went directly to Planned Parenthood, rather than through Komen

Despite the setbacks, the charity remains hopeful "to one day return to a larger number of markets."

The three-day walk will continue as planned in all 14 cities this year, but will be limited to seven cities -- Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Minneapolis-Saint Paul -- in 2014.