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Race for the Cure – September 23, 2012

The 21st annual Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure will be held on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Calif. The Komen Orange County Race for the Cure is one of Southern California’s largest and most anticipated fundraising events, uniting more than 30,000 supporters to celebrate breast cancer survivors and remember loved ones lost to the disease. The Race will allow us to continue our fight to end breast cancer forever.

Seventy-five percent of the funds raised are invested in local breast cancer awareness and education programs, medical and diagnostic services for uninsured and underinsured women, and other unmet community needs through grants to culturally diverse community breast health organizations. The remaining 25 percent is dedicated to the national Komen Award and Research Grant Program to fund groundbreaking breast cancer research.

Registration opens in April so please check back for more information!

Do them no harm…

We would like to thank Carolyn Bivens for the below submission. Even though Carolyn’s mother is a 25-year breast cancer survivor, she was not prepared for her own diagnosis. Komen was an important part of helping through the surgery, treatment and beyond. Carolyn is serving on the educational series committee and volunteering for additional duties.  She recently signed up for the 3-Day, 60-Mile Walk later this year.

Do them no harm…

If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them

Dalai Lama

Just six months ago, I was on the receiving end of those dreaded four words, “you have breast cancer.” For the next few months, people I didn’t know helped guide my husband and me through a maze of decisions and assembly of caregivers. From the first phone call, the staff and volunteers of Komen were available literally 24/7. This was a very different world than my family experienced 25 years ago when my mother was diagnosed and treated.

Two weeks ago, I attended a Susan G. Komen volunteer orientation and the very next day, a committee meeting to review educational curriculum as part of a series delivered throughout Orange County. At both gatherings the focus was to engage and better serve survivors and family along with improving education, out-reach and support in our community.

Today I had my 6-month post-surgery mammogram. Besides dreading the discomfort of the event, we were apprehensive. “What if?” I thought. But the news was good thankfully, no sign of a recurrence.

Next, I stopped by the Komen offices for a meeting and while checking in, paused to wait for a woman asking the receptionist if they had any scarves available. She explained to the receptionist that she was going through chemotherapy and was losing her hair; a friend had told her Komen would help.

“Yes,” the receptionist replied, “we can help.” A staff member appeared saying she would get a scarf. But the conversation didn’t stop there. The staff member explained that if later on, the woman wanted a wig, they (Komen) would fit her and provide the wig at no charge. The woman’s shoulders visibly relaxed; she was in a place that understood.

The list of what I don’t know and don’t understand about the latest developments surrounding Susan G. Komen for the Cure is long. The one thing I do know is that breast cancer survivors and their families are better off because of all Komen has accomplished over the last 30 years. It may be naïve to hope everyone unifies around finding a cure. If not, I pray that those who choose not to participate in the fight against breast cancer will at least, do it no harm.

We have come a very long way but as the woman with the new-found scarf and I both know, we have a very long way yet to go.

A Message From Our Executive Director Lisa Wolter

We want to take a moment to thank you for your patience. We appreciate the questions, concerns and the support we’ve received this week regarding the national office of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to amend our granting criteria.

Today, the statement issued by our founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, stated that the Komen organization has amended our grants criteria to make clear that “disqualifying investigations” must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.

Speaking for the Orange County Affiliate, we believe Susan G. Komen for the Cure now has a fair and appropriate granting criteria and we are very pleased that this allows Planned Parenthood to continue to be funded and be eligible for future funding opportunities.

Komen Orange County has always been focused on women’s needs and this continues to be the case.

To be specific, the grants awarded in December 2011 to Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties will continue to be funded throughout 2012. We have not had an interruption in services for women. Our grants to Planned Parenthood have always been specific and restricted to fund breast health services that will lead more women to detect breast cancer earlier and will save more lives.

Most of all, we hope that this controversy does not result in fewer resources for women’s breast health care. The most important thing now is to refocus on our promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

Again, we thank you for your support!

Lisa Wolter, Executive Director, Komen Orange County