"We waited for the dust to settle just a little bit. And then we just wanted to reach out and just tell them how we were feeling," said Komen Arkansas Executive Director Sherrye McBryde.
The dust she referred to is settling from a decision by national Komen leaders to pull funds from Planned Parenthood. It's a decision it revised, giving back the funds, after a massive public backlash.
According to McBryde, the controversy stirred up talk about everything except what she considers Komen's calling.
"We're about breast health. We're not about that "A" word," she said referring to abortion. "It is sad to me that we have to deal with an issue, a political issue that really has nothing to do with what we do. "
For many who have been Race for the Cure runners, they logged into their email Friday, clicked on the message from the Arkansas affiliate, and scrolled through seven or so paragraphs of clarifications, funding outlines, and an outright apology about the controversy that crept into the conversation on the national stage.
"We just felt like it was time that we said to them [our supporters] that we're here to work and we hope you'll be here to help us do that work," McBryde said.
During what McBryde described as a "PR nightmare", she and her staff wondered how bad the fallout would be locally as people across the country pulled donations from Komen during the debate.
"It might have been the elephant in the room -- every room we were in. Of course we were concerned," she said.
The email's already elicited some responses, as varied as the women Komen seeks to serve.
"There have been some responses that weren't so fun to read," McBryde said. "That's disappointing. But at the same time, the vast majority of responses have thanked us for sending out this letter and thanked us for clearing up some questions they didn't understand."
This isn't Komen's first time to be embroiled in controversy for its connection to Planned Parenthood. Over the past few years, supporters have pulled donations from the foundation because of its support of the clinics, which in some cases provide abortions in addition to breast health exams.
By breaking down the group's money management and re-focusing on the future of women's health in the Natural State, McBryde hopes people won't pull their support for Arkansas' Komen in reaction to a fight they didn't start, but one they hope is finished.
"I'll go so far as to say that email was my stamp, saying we're looking forward," McBryde said. "It happened, and we can't pretend it didn't, but we're moving foward to plan our race in October and we hope others want to be involved."
"So, the past is the past?" KARK asked.
She nodded and said, "Learn from it."
To find out more about the grants awarded by the Arkansas Susan G. Komen affiliate, click here.