After 14 years helping women fight cancer, Tacoma’s Breast Cancer Resource Center lost the battle of its finances.
In “a very tough and emotional” meeting on Monday, the board of directors voted to dissolve the center at 3502 S. 12th St. by July 31, according to the center’s website.
The dissolution ends a troubled time. The center closed on April 11 because of financial constraints. In recent years, funding decreased while demand for the center’s services increased, Executive Director Janie Cunningham said.
After losing funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in 2009, the center turned to individual donations to raise the $20,000 per month operating budget. Although it was struggling financially, the center never wanted to impose a nominal charge on the women they served, Cunningham said.
“We couldn’t justify making this a place where certain people didn’t feel they could come in,” Cunningham said.
The Breast Cancer Resource Center distinguished itself as a place for low- income women, 34 and younger to get vouchers for diagnostic mammograms. It was also a safe space for women to share their struggles among peers, Cunningham said.
The center’s resource room made wigs, prosthetic breasts and specialized swimwear available to women, regardless of income.
“These things should not have to be vanity items,” Cunningham said. In some cases, women who were not able to afford these resources were on the verge of discontinuing chemotherapy before visiting the center and receiving them free of charge, she said.
Now, Cunningham has to find places to donate these items to other organizations who can use them for their intended purpose: To help women fight cancer.
“None of these things make people money,” Cunningham said, but they do make people more firstname.lastname@example.org