Tampa's 2014 Komen walk canceled
Tampa's 3-Day for the Cure will take its final walk this October, ending one of the most high-profile loca
Tampa's 3-Day for the Cure will take its final walk this October, ending one of the most high-profile local fundraisers for breast cancer.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced Monday that the Tampa Bay area andsix other cities will be dropped from the national tour in 2014. Just half of the 60-mile walks will remain for the national series that in 2010 grossed $81 million in revenue.
“Participation levels over the last four years have made it difficult to sustain an event of this magnitude in 14 cities,” the foundation said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Participation in the 14 events has declined 37 percent in the last four years, a 3-Day spokeswoman said in a statement.
The other 3-Day walks cut from the 2014 series are Arizona, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
As recently as 2010, the 3-Day event was Komen's biggest fundraiser, and its weekend-long presence garnered a slew of public and media attention. For nearly a decade, the local event has featured thousands of walkers – most decked out in pink – migrating en masse from Clearwater to local parks to St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront.
It was a financial success in part because it required participants to raise at least $2,300 for the breast cancer charity. Walkers placed that amount down on a credit card at registration and subsequently covered the cost by holding garage sales, spaghetti dinners and other fundraisers during their training.
But the economy isn't the only challenge to Komen's fundraising efforts. The Dallas-based organization in 2012 was widely criticized for cutting its funding of Planned Parenthood. A social media firestorm led to the group changing its position, but the divisiveness remained and participation numbers dwindled.
This year's 3-Day walk will be held in Tampa from Oct. 25 to 27.
The organization's other popular event, the 15th annual Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure, will be held on Oct. 5 in St. Petersburg. The local race is not affected by the changes announced by Komen's national offices, Suncoast race director Gina Kravitz said Tuesday.
Also, proceeds from the Suncoast race will continue to support local breast cancer causes, Kravitz said. Money raised by 3-Day events is distributed by the national offices.