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Public Statements

Letter to Ms.Ostrander and Ms. Hood, Denver and Aspen Komen Affiliates

Letter

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Date:
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Colorado U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet today welcomed the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reinstate funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings. And they applauded the efforts by Komen's Denver and Aspen affiliates, which helped convince their parent group to change its position. In a letter to the leaders of the Denver and Aspen Komen affiliates, Udall and Bennet thanked them and their leadership teams for their efforts to prevent politics from keeping Colorado women from accessing critical health care services. They shared several stories of women who received life-saving treatment as a result of the Komen-PPRM partnership to illustrate its importance to women's health in the Denver area.

"Your relationship with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), which is based on the mutual goal of prevention of and early screening for breast cancer, is an effective and critical one for the women of Colorado. In Denver alone, we can't help but be impressed by the fact that while PPRM received only 4.3 percent of Denver Komen's funding last year, its clinics found nearly 20 percent of all breast cancer detected through Denver Komen resources," Udall and Bennet wrote. "In sum, your work is life-saving. On behalf of women across our great state, thank you."

In Colorado, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has helped nearly 2,500 low-income women access breast and cervical cancer screenings through the Women's Wellness Program. Because of budget constraints this year, Colorado was forced to cut funding for breast cancer screenings, effectively leaving 5,500 Colorado women without access to these life-saving services. Denver Komen's grants to PPRM provided a crucial bridge for this gap in funding.

The full text of the letter is included below:

Dear Ms. Ostrander and Ms. Hood:

We are writing to thank you and the rest of the leadership team at the Denver and Aspen Komen affiliates for your steadfast efforts to prevent politics from standing between Colorado women and their access to health care. Your decision to stand firm and call on your national office to reverse its decision to cut off funding for important breast cancer screening programs at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country no doubt played a crucial role in the announcement today that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is changing course and taking politics out of its granting process.

Your relationship with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), which is based on the mutual goal of prevention of and early screening for breast cancer, is an effective and critical one for the women of Colorado. In Denver alone, we can't help but be impressed by the fact that while PPRM received only 4.3 percent of Denver Komen's funding last year, its clinics found nearly 20 percent of all breast cancer detected through Denver Komen resources.

As you know, PPRM has helped nearly 2,500 low-income women statewide access breast and cervical cancer screenings through the Women's Wellness Program. Because of budget constraints this year, our state was forced to cut funding for this program - effectively leaving 5,500 Colorado women without access to these life-saving services. Denver Komen's grants to PPRM provide a crucial bridge for this gap in funding, and the decision earlier this week by Susan G. Komen's national office to cut funding to Planned Parenthood would have thrown that relationship into jeopardy.

In sum, your work is life-saving. We know you fight for Colorado women every day, and we want to share a few of their stories, which were made possible through your determination:

- Sarah C. of Aurora shared that nearly three years ago, a close friend discovered a lump in her breast. However, because she was uninsured, Sarah's friend had nowhere to go. Sarah brought her friend to a local Planned Parenthood clinic, which guided her through the health care system. Within a month of her visit to Planned Parenthood, her friend discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer and was able to get the treatment she needed to save her life and be cancer free two years later.

- Lisa S. of Boulder turned to Planned Parenthood after discovering a lump on her breast. She had been receiving her primary care from Planned Parenthood since she was 16. Without Planned Parenthood, Lisa would not have been referred to a special program for uninsured women under 40 where she was able to get the care she needed.

- Belinda B. of Westminster learned about breast health education through her physician at Planned Parenthood. As a busy working young adult who had no history of cancer in her family, Belinda would never have thought she could be affected by cancer. But Planned Parenthood discovered a lump in her breast during her routine checkup, helping her identify this early and stay healthy.

These are just a few of the countless stories of Colorado women whose lives have been changed for the better because of your hard work and Komen's partnership with PPRM. Again, on behalf of women across our great state, thank you.


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