The Maine Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation will close at the end of the month, putting an end to the Race for a Cure.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the organization will close its Brewer office on March 31st, the end of  fiscal year, and cease to exist in Maine. The Board that oversees the charity says a drop in participants in the Race for a Cure has caused a decrease in funds raised, making the local organization unsustainable. And organizers say that's a national trend, not just an issue in Maine.

But it's been a great run since Komen Maine started in 1997, with more than $3 million invested in local breast health programs, and $900,000 donated to national Komen research programs. The organization has helped provide free and affordable testing for women, and support for breast cancer patients.

The Race for a Cure has offered a sense of camaraderie for women dealing with breast cancer, as well as congratulations to survivors. Having taken part in this event, I can attest to how emotional it is to see all the survivors, in their dark pink gear, standing shoulder to shoulder with big smiles. And how comforting it can be to attend the event after losing a loved one to the disease.

But attendance has been steadily dropping for charity walks across the country, and it's not just the Race for the Cure that's been affected. But it's been dramatic enough for Komen Maine, that the organization just can't afford to keep operating. Last year's race brought in just over 2,000 people, which is down from 3,500 in 2014. At its peak, the Race for a cure attracted about 5,600 participants in 2010.

The local chapter is hopefully not gone forever, as organizers say they hope to establish some sort of presence in the future.

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