HUNT VALLEY, Md. (WMAR) - Buying a t-shirt and a bracelet turns around that helpless feeling for 13-year-old Tess Hyde, who is worried about her friend.
"She was really sad for a couple of days, and I didn't know what was wrong with her.
And she came up to me and said Tess I have something to tell you. And she told me her mom had breast cancer," said Hyde.
Still in middle school, but Hyde is faced with understanding the impact of breast cancer. She is considering a last-minute registration for the 20th annual Race for the Cure in Hunt Valley on Sunday.
Walk-ups are what Komen needs this year. The organization has seen its biggest dip in the number of people registered and donations.
"We're down by total dollars about 45 percent and our registrations are down about 34 percent from this time last year," said Lenore Koors, Development Director, Komen Maryland.
Donations have dipped at Komen chapters across the country, following a controversial and some believe political move, by the national headquarters to suspend grant money for screenings at Planned Parenthood.
That decision was reversed. But Komen Maryland is still struggling to distance itself, even though it never funded the organization.
That doesn't stop Nancy Swierk from using one week of sick leave every year to volunteer.
"I had five friends diagnosed in a two-year period about six years ago," said Swierk.
The one friend, who did not do preventative screening, she fears, will pass away soon. Komen Maryland worries many programs will be cut if their numbers stay down.
"We're a safety net for many people. There's a lot of people now who are uninsured or underinsured," said Koors.
Komen for the Cure is giving Tess Hyde the power to do something, the power just to be a friend.
"I'm trying to help her as much as I can but there's not enough you can do, you know," said Hyde.
Volunteers will be registering people at the Hunt Valley Towne Center from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. You can walk up on Sunday starting at 6 a.m.
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