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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU alumna braves backlash with Komen

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Spencer J Eggers/The Daily Campus

(Spencer J Eggers/The Daily Campus)

In January 2012, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced they would no longer grant money to Planned Parenthood for screenings, education and treatment programs, citing their support of pro-life causes.

Within hours the story went viral and Komen’s Facebook page was filled with messages of hate, slamming the largest non-profit breast cancer organization in the United States.

Four days later Komen succumbed to the pressure from women’s health advocacy groups, politicians and the media. Komen’s Board of Directors announced that it would amend the policy, thus re-instating money to Planned Parenthood.

Despite this decision, the damage was done.

“Thrust into the eye of the storm” with Komen was SMU alum Adine Zornow, who accepted a job with the organization just days before they chose to pull funding from Planned Parenthood.

Faced with a decision to “weather the storm” with Komen or return to her job at the Boys and Girls Club, Zornow chose to “remember the mission and all they did in the 30 years” and join the Komen team.

While speaking with students at SMU on Tuesday night, Zornow reflected on her decision to stick with Komen and lead the global and national development team to raise money for the organization.

“If not me then who?” Zornow asked. “I needed to dig deep, roll up my sleeves and make it happen.”

Zornow seems to thrive when forced to dig deep and face crises. After all, it was her father’s battle and eventual death from leukemia that led her to crisis management and eventually the position with Komen.

“It forever changed my life,” Zornow said, when discussing her father’s death. “I immediately went into action mode and thought, I need to make a difference.”

It was this passion that led Zornow to volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which later turned into a career.

Zornow started off at the bottom with the Society and worked her way up the ladder.

“Don’t ever be too big for any job,” Zornow said, as she reflected on an experience where she was required to pick up trash at a fundraising walk as part of her job.

“I’m an SMU grad, I’m very smart, I’m very talented, and someone assigned me to trash duty?” Zornow thought at the time.

However, her tenacity paid off as she worked her way up the ladder from coordinator at the local affiliate branch to senior director before moving on to the Boys and Girls Club and eventually Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

While Zornow would not comment on the Komen controversy or discuss how the organization chose to deal with the backlash, she did emphasize the importance of Komen continuing to tell their story, reminding audiences why the organization was created.

“We need to go back to our mission,” Zornow said. “Maybe people need to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

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