California Wins Award for Advocacy

Chris Tannous from Komen Orange County (third from the right) is there as the California Collation is honored for advocacy.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® awarded its seven California Affiliates with the “State Policy of the Year Award” for their advocacy to ensure access to breast cancer screening and treatment in the face of significant state budget cuts.

The “State Policy Campaign of the Year Award” is presented to a Komen Affiliate or Affiliates who advanced breast health issues and brought positive changes through their public policy initiatives at the state level. The seven Komen California Affiliates formed the California Affiliate Collaborative to work with one voice on breast cancer issues in California.

In 2009, the group supported three bills to expand access to breast health services for underserved women in California. The group protested cuts to “Every Woman Counts,” California’s program to provide free mammography screenings for uninsured and underinsured women who do not qualify for Medicaid, including the elimination of eligibility for women age 40-49. Together, the seven Affiliates have been a vital voice for Komen and women in need across the state.

Chris Tannous, president of the Board of Directors for Komen Orange County, was in Dallas for the award presentation.

The members of the California Affiliate Collaborative, in addition to Komen Orange County, are: Komen Central Valley Affiliate in Fresno, Komen Inland Empire Affiliate in Temecula, Komen Los Angeles County Affiliate, Komen Sacramento Valley Affiliate, Komen San Diego Affiliate and Komen San Francisco Bay Affiliate.

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Komen OC Advocates Honored

Anyone who has dealt with a cancer diagnosis understands the importance of a friend who will be your rock of support. That’s why the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure decided to honor co-survivors this year by naming a Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Co-Survivor. The award recognizes the family, friend, healthcare provider or colleague who is there to lend support from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.

Jane Ka’ala Pang was named the Affiliate’s first Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Co-Survivor. Pang was nominated by her husband, breast cancer survivor Victor Pang.  Jane has been her husband’s personal navigator through his cancer treatment, balancing his medical needs with family responsibilities and her career as a nurse at a rehabilitation center. Jane has also been active in Orange County as an advocate and resource for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders facing the challenges of cancer. Victor thanked Jane for her “passion and dedication to my health.”

Marcie Smith, advocate

Marcie Smith has honored by Komen Orange County as the Outstanding Breast Health Advocate.  The award honors a non-survivor who has gone above and beyond his or her job description, who volunteers to make a difference in the lives of breast cancer survivors and who educates the community. Marcie is an advanced nurse practioner at MemorialCare Breast Center and has dedicated her career to ensuring that women have access to quality breast health care. She has been involved with Komen for the Cure for over 20 years. Marcie was described as “saving women’s lives one by one over 20 years and (she) continues to be a warrior advocate for breast cancer patients with a laser focus on their individual care and needs.”

Congratulations to these tireless friends and advocates.

South Asian Women Needed for Study

Are you a South Asian woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? Do you know someone who fits that description? A research study is being done and strictly confidential interviews are being scheduled. Drs. Beth Glenn and Roshan Bastani of the UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research are conducting the study to assess the unique needs of South Asian women diagnosed with breast cancer. They would like to hear about your relationships, your satisfaction with healthcare providers, and your sources of social support during your cancer experience.

Interested South Asian women (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Maldivian and Bhutanese) who have been diagnosed with breast cancer should contact Neetu Chawla, who will conduct the interviews in English. Please contact her at nchawla@ucla.edu or 310-825-7430. You can also contact Dr. Beth Glenn at 310-206-9715. Women will be offered $30 after completing the one-on-one interview.

Celebration Afterglow

Executive Director Lisa Wolter rocks her pink wig.

Executive Director Lisa Wolter rocks her pink wig.

If you miss a great party, the second best thing is to see the photos afterward. The sense of fun lives on! If you missed MasCUREade on March 5, presented by the Komen Orange County Affiliate, you can check out the photos on www.komenoc.org.

Rebecca Hultquist was the event chair and for her “the highlight of the evening was giving the survivor toast.  I was overwhelmed with emotion as I stood there with my sister, my co-survivor, and toasted my fellow survivors and celebrated their years of wellness. I can’t thank everyone enough who attended and made this celebration so great. When I was diagnosed five year ago, I never imagined my life would be so full doing what I do today for the Komen Orange County Affiliate.”

Rebecca Hultquist and her sister Laura Melendez

For fun, the MasCUREade evening included healthy cooking ideas from Chef Lala, Sue Snyder and her Laughter Yoga, Brad “Martini” Chambers of Martini in the Morning internet radio, the SouthCoast Singers, entertainment from Visions Entertainment and Atomic Ballroom Dance Studio, door prizes, a Graffiti Wall and a “Passionately Pink” photo booth.  There was also an emotional survivor recognition and awards to honor special breast cancer survivors, a co-survivor and a breast health advocate.

Don’t miss the next Komen Orange County Affiliate event: Pink Tie Ball on Saturday, May 15.

Double the Inspiration

Congratulations are richly deserved by the two women who have been honored by the Komen Orange County Affiliate as the Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor.”  Each year the Affiliate pays tribute to a breast cancer survivor who has taken her cancer experience and transformed that battle into a positive by inspiring and educating the public about the importance of early detection and/or healthy life choices. In one simple analogy, the honorees have taken the lemons and made sweet lemonade to refresh and rejuvenate others. (Not to mention perhaps saving a life along the way.)

Jane Hill with her grandson Colin

This year, two people were honored as the Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor. How lucky for us to bask in two times the positive energy!

Jane Hill is a survivor of nearly 20 years who has been a part of the Komen Orange County Affiliate since the beginning. She has volunteered in many capacities. One key role for Jane is chairing the Survivor Tribute at Race for the Cure. She also played an instrumental role in the development of Kids Konnected.  Jane has also entertained with a comedy routine to spread humor in healing.  Now on staff for Komen, Jane continues to volunteer and to be a tireless optimist and cheerleader in the fight against breast cancer.

Kathy Voorhis

Kathy Voorhis faced her re-occurrence of breast cancer with courage and a positive attitude, continuing her life and Race for the Cure volunteer commitments without slowing down. She has been a fierce breast health advocate who fought for her own treatment and care after multiple misdiagnoses. Kathy was the driving force who connected the radio program “Martini in the Morning” to Race for the Cure as a sponsor. She shared her story during live interviews and her upbeat approach reached and inspired untold listeners.

Komen Ranks High

When you donate money to a non-profit organization, you want to be sure the money is used as promised. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is doing an excellent job – it ranks high with donors in a new study. The 2010 rankings of non-profit organizations from global market research firm Harris Interactive last week ranked Komen for the Cure as the number one most valuable non-profit brand and the charity people are most likely to donate to.

Komen also ranked second among the most trusted non-profit organizations in America (behind St. Jude Research Hospital). The rankings examined 1,151 organizations.

“We are enormously humbled to be recognized in this way by the public that we serve,” said Komen founder and CEO, Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker. “This validation redoubles our resolve to our promise to end breast cancer through science, education, advocacy and relevant support programs all around the world.”

Harris Interactive Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Justin Greeves, said of the top-performing non-profits: “They are working to solve many of society’s most complex and relevant problems in efficient, new, and innovative ways and have achieved personal relevance in many of our lives – that is why they are at the top.”

Komen for the Cure also earns four out of a possible four stars from Charity Navigator. Komen has earned this highest ranking for the third year in a row. The high rating reflects that Komen excels in successfully managing its organizational finances in an efficient and effective manner. www.charitynavigator.org. To make a donation to Komen Orange County, or to find out about fund-raising events, go to www.komenoc.org.

Passionately Pink Fun

Lisa Wolter considers her options.

So many wigs . . . and just one night. How will she decide?  Thanks to the rousing support for the Passionately Pink for the Cure® festivities, Lisa Wolter has a tough decision to make by Friday night.

Lisa, the Executive Director of Komen Orange County, has to choose which pink wig to wear to the MasCUREade party. You’ll have to attend on March 5th (or watch this space next week) to see how pink and how outlandish Lisa will go.

Here’s how we got to this fun point. The Komen Orange County Affiliate threw a Passionately Pink for the Cure party in February. One of the activities was an Opportunity Drawing for six very cool prizes. The challenge was made – if the drawing raised at least $625, then Lisa Wolter would wear a wig to the upcoming 2010 MasCUREade: A Celebration of Wellness for Breast Cancer Survivors & Co-Survivors. Thank you to everyone who purchased opportunity tickets and helped us surpass the fundraising goal. Together, we raised $820! Not only did we raise money for the mission of the Komen Orange County Affiliate, we had fun and the fun will continue at MasCUREade.

As for those Opportunity prizes, here are the lucky winners (and thank you to the generous donors):

KitchenAid Cook for the Cure® stand mixer in pink: Shirley Diaz

Code Pink Boot Camp:  Kris Gillan

Total Woman Gym & Spa 4- month membership:  Cheryl Duhme

Betsey Johnson perfume:  Pat MacKenzie

Pink rimmed designer sunglasses:  Kelly McKelvey

Pure Beauty basket and haircut:  Annie Stoeckmann