Make a Promise to Make a Difference

Each year, in honor of Black History Month, we celebrate and recognize the many achievements made by African Americans in U.S. history.  We also pay tribute to the inspirational African American women and men of recent history who have battled breast cancer.

As many of you know, in April of 2014, all seven Susan G. Komen Affiliates in California, including Komen Orange County, set out to change the disparities that African American women face when it comes to breast cancer. Because African American women were experiencing significantly higher breast cancer mortality rates — 41 percent higher than their Caucasian counterparts — we wanted to ensure quality access to breast health care in this community. The result was a program many of you know as the Circle of Promise. Our goal: get 2,000 African American women screened for breast cancer, and increase dialogue about breast cancer in African Americans within the community and medical field. We’re proud to report we have hit our goal.

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Now it’s your turn to help us change black history when it comes to breast cancer. Here’s how you can get involved with Circle of Promise to help lower breast cancer mortality rates in African Americans:

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  • Sign up at CircleofPromise.org and become a CoP ambassador in your community
  • Spread the word to your friends, families and colleagues and encourage them to get involved
  • Become a voice in your community to help raise funds for research and to spread awareness about CoP
  • Be a ‘Worship in Pink Ambassador’ and organize breast health education events at your church
  • Donate to CoP to support the people you love by visiting http://bit.ly/1nVFYXn
Worship

Mobile Mammography Van

Tip of the Month: Make sure to be communicative and open about your family’s health history, to increase your chances of detecting breast cancer early, which can be lifesaving.  While we don’t know exactly what causes breast cancer, we do know that having a family history of breast cancer can increase your risk. It’s a tough topic to talk about with family but doing so can save the ones you love.

We hope we can count on you to make a promise to make a difference in the African American community this Black History month and always. For more information visit: www.CircleofPromise.org.

What’s Your Promise?

If you have a sister, you know the bond you share with one another is unbreakable. You would do anything for your sister, and she would do anything for you. Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, had the privilege of experiencing this sisterly bond. “Growing up, Suzy and I were just about as close as two sisters can get. Suzy was the perfect older sister,” says Nancy.

Sisters Susan and Nancy

Sisters Susan and Nancy

In 1980, Nancy made a promise to her dying sister, Susan, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, this promise led to her founding Susan G. Komen and a worldwide movement ensued. To date, we’ve invested more than $2.6 billion in innovative research, community health outreach and breast health education programs in more than 30 countries.  And we’re teaming up with a special theme park for a third year to mobilize the Orange County community in taking part of this powerful promise.

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Knott’s characters donning their “pink” t-shirts

From now until March 18, Susan G. Komen Orange County and Knott’s Berry Farm are joining forces to honor this important promise made between two sisters. New this year, Knott’s is spotlighting the unique bond shared between two sisters with a special “For the Cure” display featuring sisters who have endured the unimaginable: a breast cancer diagnosis. Knott’s also will be offering a special “Pink Ticket” and limited edition “pink” t-shirt to raise vital funds for breast cancer awareness, services and research. We are so lucky to have community partners like Knott’s who help fight breast cancer in Orange County and look forward to a great start to our 25th Anniversary as an affiliate. For more information and to get involved, visit: knotts.com/promise.

New Year, New Opportunities

As we ring in the New Year, we have a lot to look forward to. While we’ve accomplished great things in 2015 – thanks to the time and support of generous donors and volunteers – 2016 marks a special year for Susan G. Komen Orange County our 25th anniversary.  In celebration of this milestone, we hope to make a larger impact on the breast cancer community, and invite you to join us.

Recently at our Grants Breakfast, we awarded nearly $800,000 to 11 deserving breast health organizations in our community. These organizations are our partners in the fight against breast cancer – and with these vital funds, we’re working to improve the breast health of local underserved or uninsured women and men – including populations identified in our 2015 Community Profile Report.

2016 Grant Recipients

2016 Grant Recipients

At the heartwarming celebration, which was part one of KomenUNITY, attendees also heard from breast cancer warrior, Jacque Ruddy. One in eight Orange County women is diagnosed with breast cancer. Jacque is one of them. She is a single mom of two and isn’t letting her second breast cancer diagnosis come in the way of being a supermom.  Jacque also puts a fun spin on her chemotherapy appointments – she calls it themo-therapy! Instead of dreading these appointments, Jacque focuses on the positives in life and dresses up as a new superhero each time.  She is an inspiration to us at Komen – and to all who are fighting breast cancer.

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Breast cancer warrior, Jacque Ruddy

In 2016, we’re continuing to make local strides in the fight against breast cancer. Join us for part two of KomenUNITY: Research Symposium on Feb. 3, which will focus on the 25 percent of funds raised for breast cancer research. We hope to see you there!

Ways to get involved in the New Year: For the third consecutive year, Komen OC is proud to be an OC Marathon Charity Partner. If you’re looking to get fit and stay healthy in the New Year, join team Komen! To learn about incentives and the new run for free option, please contact Stacy Davis at sdavis@komenoc.org or (714) 957-9157 ext. 34.

Giving Thanks by Giving Back

As we enter giving season, we at Susan G. Komen Orange County, in partnership with the YWCA of North Orange County, wanted to do something extra special to show our appreciation for the community.  So on Saturday morning, we visited the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen at St. Joseph Church and School in Santa Ana with our mobile mammography unit to provide access to care for 37 uninsured and high-risk Orange County women. We had a successful screening – it was the most women we’ve screened at one time.

loaves and fishes

Participants stand in line for their free mammograms.

Mammograms are vital in detecting breast cancer in its early stages and without free breast health screenings for women and men in need, knowing whether they have breast cancer or not would be impossible. Our screening event was held in conjunction with the weekly soup kitchen operations, which serves meals to nearly 900 homeless or disadvantaged men, women and children, in addition to providing free medical care, English classes, clothing and more. Our collaboration with the soup kitchen presented the perfect opportunity to do what we do best – change the lives of women and men in our community.

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Alinea Medical Imaging’s mobile mammography helps make these events possible.

We’re grateful for community partners like YWCA of North Orange County and Alinea Medical Imaging for their support of the Komen promise of advancing the fight against breast cancer.  Without their help, we would not be able to offer services at no-cost to the to the Orange County community and encourage breast cancer awareness. We are also thankful for the opportunity to work with Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen and are looking forward to future events at their location.

What are you grateful for this season of giving? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

THINK PINK!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an important time to mobilize the community to elevate awareness about this terrible disease.

Countless resources exist to help you learn about breast cancer and how to detect it in its early stages. By performing frequent self-checks you can take control of your healthy and body – and bring attention to any changes that may occur. Here is a helpful diagram to know what is normal for you:

self check

While the cause of breast cancer is not fully known, researchers have identified factors that can increase or decrease a person’s chance of getting a breast cancer diagnosis. Since no prevention methods for breast cancer exist, being educated on these risk factors can help save lives. Factors linked to a higher risk of breast cancer include:

  • Being a woman
  • Age
  • A family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • High breast density on a mammogram
  • Never having a child

Ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer are: achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting your alcohol consumption and breastfeeding. Women over 40 years old also should receive annual mammograms to stay on top of their health. Staying educated on the basic facts about breast cancer is the first step in prevention or early detection!

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In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many local companies have teamed up to support the fight against breast cancer with exciting promotions. Learn about these generous companies that are supporting the mission of Susan G. Komen Orange County at http://bit.ly/1Pvq5RT.

Superhero Volunteers Reveal Powers at Phone-A-Thon

More than 30 volunteers from Komen OC and First American Title Insurance Company teamed up on Sept. 12 at the First American offices in Irvine to put their superhero powers to the test and call on Orange County residents to rally additional 2015 Race for the Cure heroes. Our crusaders made more than 1,200 phone calls while donning pink capes in true hero fashion to show their spirit for this year’s race theme, “There’s a HERO in YOU.”

Komen OC and First American Title Insurance Company superheroes took to the phones to rally additional 2015 Race participants.

Komen OC and First American Title Insurance Company superheroes took to the phones to rally additional 2015 Race participants.

Komen OC is extremely grateful to First American for hosting the phone-a-thon and for their continued support throughout the years, fueled by three-year breast cancer survivor and First American employee, Stephanie Hathaway. Callers received positive feedback from OC residents who were very appreciative of the friendly reminder about the upcoming Race on Sept. 27 in Fashion Island, Newport Beach.

Three-year breast cancer survivor and First American employee, Stephanie Hathaway (right), poses with a volunteer at the Komen OC phone-a-thon held in Irvine.

Three-year breast cancer survivor and First American employee, Stephanie Hathaway (right), poses with a volunteer at the Komen OC phone-a-thon held in Irvine.

Race for the Cure is the one of the largest and most successful education and fundraising events for breast cancer in the world. Each year, the Race raises much-needed funds for mammograms, community outreach, education programs and life-saving research. By registering for this year’s Race, you can help bring Komen one stride closer to it’s vision of a world without breast cancer.

For more information, visit our Race for the Cure page. It’s not too late to register and show off your superhero power and speed on the Race course. Register here today!

Wanted: Superhero Strength, Pink Cape Optional

WWE Announcer Lillian Garcia, along with 30+ community leaders, volunteers and breast cancer survivors, rallied on the steps of the Pacific Life Insurance Company building in Newport Beach on July 29 to kick-off the 2015 Race for the Cure season here in Orange County.  Participants donned pink capes to match this year’s race theme,There’s a HERO in YOU.

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Race for the Cure is the largest fundraiser of its kind in Orange County, and the signature event raises vital funds for mammograms, community outreach, education programs and life-saving research.  This year’s theme demonstrates that anyone can be a hero in someone else’s life. Showing support and solidarity in the fight against breast cancer is heroic – with or without superhero powers.

Lisa Wolter, Komen OC’s executive director, spoke during the event about the importance of the race, and its positive impact on the OC community. She was joined by Khanh Tran, chief executive officer of Pacific Life Insurance Company and Komen Pink Tie Guy, and Garcia, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor.

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The Sept. 27 race in Newport Beach will include two different start times for runners and walkers. For participants who wish to run, you will have the option of purchasing a PLUS timing chip, a new feature this year that will allow heroes to test their speed on the course! For more information visit our Race for the Cure page.

Register for the race today and reveal your inner hero. We hope to see everyone there!

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