The Strength Behind the Pink

Photo Credit- OCC School of Photography

Photo Credit- OCC School of Photography

Last weekend marked our 22nd annual Race for the Cure and we wish we could thank each participant individually for their contribution to making the day such a success.

More than 25,000 attendees headed to Fashion Island on Sunday, including Ali Vincent, season five winner of “The Biggest Loser” and host of “Live Big with Ali Vincent,” to celebrate survivors and remember loved ones who have fought breast cancer. With the support of our Orange County community behind us, we raised more than $2 million, and counting, for local breast health services and education as well as groundbreaking global breast cancer research.

As always, our more than 1,200 survivors were the heart and soul behind the event. Their march from the survivor tent to the Survivor Tribute Ceremony was supported not only by their strength, but the compassion from the hundreds of family members and friends who came out to support them. A sea of pink, these women and men sat on the stairs of the Pacific Life Building, and listened to this year’s guest speakers and breast cancer survivors, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens, Ashlea Wright and Georganna Hall-Wadsack, who shared their journeys of how they conquered breast cancer.

Teamland was buzzing with excitement – and ample amounts of coffee – all morning. The Wellness Expo, which lasted until noon, showcased products, local businesses and programs available in Orange County.

In the morning, there were two 5Ks and a One-Mile Fun Run so everyone could walk or run at their own pace and start at their own time. We were touched to see how many people crowded the streets of each race, all there with a single goal in mind, to eradicate breast cancer.

The generous donations of participants and our sponsors: The Allergan Foundation, Chevron, Orange County Register, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, ABC7, Pacific Life, ADP, Fashion Island, MartiniInTheMorning.com, Spa Gregorie’s, 100.3FM The Sound and Yoplait ensure that we will be able to fund local initiatives that will help save Orange County lives over the next year, including the Komen Tissue Bank coming to Orange County in November.

Komen Orange County is still collecting donations now through the end of October in support of the Race for the Cure. Visit www.komenoc.org/race or text KOMENOC to 50555 to contribute.

Upcoming Events:

October 1 – Our Breast Health Education Series continues at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital. The topic being covered is “The Day in the Life of  Cancer Patient in 2025 and will cover the breakthroughs on the horizon in cancer treatment.

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An Insider’s Guide to the 22nd Annual Komen Orange County Race for the Cure

Survivors celebrate during 2012 Survivor Ceremony on the steps of the Pacific Life building.

Survivors celebrate during 2012 Survivor Ceremony on the steps of the Pacific Life building.

Each year the Komen Orange County Race for the Cure attracts thousands of people from all over Southern California, and around the world, to celebrate and memorialize loved ones who’ve fought breast cancer. It’s also a day when families and large groups celebrate the many breast cancer survivors participating in the race. In the months leading up to the race, individuals and teams collect donations to support Komen’s mission to serve women and men and save lives. On race day, supporters don pink accessories, lace up their shoes and head out to the race. But what is a bedecked-in-pink participant to do once they get to Fashion Island? Let us shed some light on what your day will look like!

Once participants start arriving in the morning the first concern is usually parking. Conveniently, there are several different, off-site, parking lots where shuttles will pick participants up and bring them over to race headquarters.

Tip: Print out this map and directions before hand, to see where each of the parking stations is located.

After parking, race teams usually head over to Teamland where they will meet up with their team members and grab a bite to eat, get some early morning inspiration, and receive their race day t-shirts. Teamland is located in the parking lot across from the main Expo entrance, on San Clemente.

Things get off to an early start on race day! Here’s general timeline of the day:

  •  6:30-8:30 a.m.: Complimentary breakfast is served to survivors in the Survivor Pavilion. The area will remain open the rest of the day to serve as hub for survivors to meet and relax.
  • 6:30-9:30 a.m.: Registration tent opens in the Pacific Life East Parking Lot. Registration is $40 on Race day. Race teams and individuals can also drop off donations and pick up t-shirts and fundraising awards here until 11 a.m.
  •  6:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Wellness Expo is open in the front of the Pacific Life building. Attendees can walk the expo to obtain more information about Komen Orange County, its community grantees, various sponsors or purchase food and drinks.
  • 7:15 a.m.: The first 5K begins at the race start line on the corner of Santa Barbara. It is recommended that runners take advantage of the less-congested early start time if they want to avoid a crowd.
  • 8:00 a.m.: The One-Mile Fun Walk begins at race start line on Santa Barbara. This is when our younger participants have their best chance to shine. The shortened length is perfect for little legs and we encourage families and kids to take part at this time!
  •  8:45 a.m.: The Survivor Parade begins. This is a time to honor all those participants that have fought and beat breast cancer. The survivors will parade through the streets, beginning at the Survivor Pavilion and ending up at the Expo side of the Pacific Life Building, celebrating life and strength of spirit with each step!
  • 9:00 a.m.: Survivor Tribute Ceremony begins at the frontof the Pacific Life building. We’re excited to welcome breast cancer survivors Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens, Georganna Hall-Wadsack and Ashlea Wright, who will share their amazing stories of how they battled breast cancer.
  •  9:45 a.m.: The second 5K of the day begins at the race start line on the corner of Santa Barbara. This run/walk is a slower pace than the first, with all participants taking time to enjoy the course and show support.

This year, we are excited to have Ali Vincent, of The Biggest Loser and Live Big with Ali Vincent fame, joining us at the race. Ali will be experiencing all aspects of the race with her film crew in tow and we couldn’t be more excited to have her participating!

Ali Vincent will be running the race and signing autographs at 22nd annual Komen Orange County Race for the Cure

Ali Vincent will be running the 5K and signing autographs at the 22nd Komen Orange County Race for the Cure

During the day, keep an eye out for Susan’s Gardens Posters, water tables and creative outfits inspired by the fight against breast cancer!Don’t forget to follow Komen Orange County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest news and updates on Race day. Make sure to tag @KomenOC with hashtag #OCInspired and #RaceOC and we’ll feature our top race photos and tweets throughout the day. Remember, have fun and we’ll see you all on Race day!

Let us know what you are most looking forward to on Race Day in the comments section of this blog!

Team Brutus, ‘Brave and Bold’ for a Cure

Orange County is a long way from Ohio, and you won’t find many references to Brutus, the mascot of the Ohio State University varsity teams. But one team participating in the annual Komen Race for the Cure has deep roots in Ohio and a particular fondness for a mascot named Brutus.

Team Brutus is one of hundreds of teams getting ready to lace up their sneakers to raise money and awareness on Sunday, Sept, 22, in Newport Beach. Christie Brockhage, a well-known marketing professional in OC, tells us what her team is all about.

Christie and Laura Stofko met their freshman year at Ohio State University and spent their years at OSU building a foundation for a friendship that would last a lifetime. Ironically, after graduation, both women ended up living and working in Atlanta. After a few years, Christie left and settled in Orange County, when she received a call from Laura, who, as fate would have it, was also moving to Orange County with her husband and three daughters! The two faithful OSU fans shared a friendship that spanned decades and thousands of miles, and developed a bond that no distance could touch.

Christie Brockhage & Laura Stofko on race day

Christie Brockhage & Laura Stofko on race day

Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer at only 38 years old. She fought hard for 10 years with the support of her loving husband, three daughters and wonderful friends like Christie. More than three years ago, in the midst of her battle with cancer, Christie and Laura decided to start a Komen Race for the Cure team. Team Brutus was born out of the desire to increase awareness of breast cancer and to celebrate Laura’s life. She saw her team cross the finish line that first year, but unfortunately lost the battle before last year’s race. Team Brutus celebrated her spirit, and will continue to honor her memory at this year’s race and in years to come. Like the OSU fight song encourages, Team Brutus will be participating in the race with the theme “Warriors for the Cure, Brave and Bold,” inspired by their team captain Laura.

Most people involved in Komen Orange County, and in the annual Race for the Cure, have been touched in some way by breast cancer. Some teams have members that have fought, or are currently fighting, the disease; others are inspired to start a team in honor of someone near and dear who lost a battle. Some teams are inspired by the mission to save lives and educate, and through the course of inspiring events and amazing stories shared in our community, are touched on a deeper level.

Team Brutus

Team Brutus

Christie Brockhage’s team is just one example of a group rallying around and honoring the memory of a beloved friend and family member. We know that there are many other touching stories that inspire teams to walk and run. We would like the Komen OC community to share stories of why they race, who they race for and what keeps them inspired throughout race season. Share your story in the comments section below and read about what, or who, inspires others to Race for the Cure.

Komen Orange County’s Holiday Jingle, the Gift that Keeps on Giving, All Year Long!

Some of our inspiring employees singing our jingle for the GroundWork group crew.

Some of our inspiring employees singing our jingle for the GroundWork group crew.

Here at Komen Orange County we do our best to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape. With that said, we are very pleased to announce our place as a finalist in the Orange County Groundwork group’s Nonprofit CreativITy Awards, which recognizes nonprofits using innovative strategies to advance their mission.

We were recently nominated for our star-studded, viral, holiday jingle  and couldn’t be more proud of the response it’s received from Groundwork group Orange County  and from our social media communities. In partnership with our public relations firm, HKA Marketing Communications, we were able to create a video that communicated a serious message about the importance of mammograms – and in a fun way – to raise much needed funds during a critical time of the year.

For many years we’ve been at the forefront of providing life-saving care for women in need and are now advancing this mission by embracing all aspects of technology. Now, through innovations like our holiday jingle, technology-friendly platforms, like our mobile fundraising app or our text-to-donate number (KomenOC to 50555 to donate $10), we’ve been able to expand our public outreach to increase breast cancer awareness and education within the community and beyond.

As a finalist, we hosted representatives from the Groundwork group Orange County at our Costa Mesa office this week to film a short video about our vital work and how we’ve been using technology to raise awareness and funds to benefit women and men in our community. As part of the video, some of our musically-gifted and inspiring colleagues sang the creative jingle and joined the process with the crew filming the submission. The video will be up later this month on Groundwork group’s website. Stay tuned to learn more about what went into making the jingle and how Komen Orange County is keeping at the forefront of technology to make our message of education and awareness available across different platforms of media!

Upcoming Events:

September 22nd – The 22nd annual Komen Orange County Race for the Cure will be held at Fashion Island. If you haven’t registered yet, click here to join a team, start your own, or just support the race! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the starting line!

October 1st – We will be hosting a talk in our Breast Health Education Series that will afford attendees a peek into what a day in the life of a breast cancer patient may look like in the year 2025. To register or get more information visit our event website.