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In Honor of Black History Month, Help Us Rewrite the Story

In October 2016, Susan G. Komen announced its bold goal to cut the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by half in the next decade. In order to reach this ambitious goal, Komen’s efforts will be twofold:

  • Extend breast health services to underserved and uninsured populations
  • Enhance research focus on the most aggressive forms of breast cancers

Black History Month

Did you know that African American women have a survival rate that’s 41 percent lower –sometimes even 74% in certain metropolitan area- than white women? It is about time we address this issue!

Nationwide, Komen launched the program Health Equity for All, subsidized by a $27 Million grant from Fund II Foundation. This initiative will initially target 10 metropolitan areas where mortality rates and late-stage diagnosis of African-American women are the highest. The goal: to reduce the mortality gap by 25 percent within five years in Memphis, St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Baltimore and Detroit are also high-priority areas and will be included in the program over the next year.

Statewide, The Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise California initiative was launched in 2014 by seven California Susan G. Komen Affiliates to provide African American women with education and breast cancer screening. On February 27, Circle of Promise will be hosting a roundtable for a much-needed discussion on the breast health of African-American Women in our community. We are thrilled to have Shyrea Thompson, Senior Manager, Special Initiatives at Susan G. Komen as a keynote speaker. You can attend this event by signing up here.

2017 roundtable invitation

Locally, you can also make a difference by joining the Circle, and becoming part of a movement that gives all African American women access to breast health information, services and support that can save lives.

Overall, there are many ways you can support us:

  • First, speak up. Talk about it.
  • Second, make the promise to take care of your own breast health and take action, such as:
    • Talking to your health care provider about your own personal risk
    • Having a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
    • Knowing how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your health care provider
    • Adopting a healthy lifestyle to help reduce your risk of breast cancer

Help us empower all African-American women to get information, get support and gain access to services that could save their lives. Rewrite the story. Change history. Get involved today!

New Year, New You: Join Team Komen for the OC Marathon

At Komen, we’re all about an active lifestyle, and what better way than to kick off the New Year with a healthy, new you. Komen Orange County has once again teamed up with the OC Marathon and we need your support in joining our team to raise funds toward the fight against breast cancer! In addition to raising critical funds, we are focusing on health and wellness to achieve our fitness goals at this year’s marathon. Team Komen’s top marathon training tips include:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Being patient with yourself
  • Eating a healthy breakfast to start your metabolism
  • Running a dress-rehearsal at the course

OC Marathon

Join us! You’ll have plenty of time to train with the marathon taking place on May 3, but it’s never too soon to register and fundraise. In fact, if you register for Team Komen and raise $125 by Jan. 20, you’ll get free entry into the marathon for a friend or family member! Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

 Not up for a full marathon? OC Marathon also offers a half marathon and 5K for those who aren’t quite ready for the 26.2 mile race.

Last year, Komen Orange County raised more than $6,500 at the OC Marathon to help fund breast health education programs, research and treatment services. This year, we need your help to exceed our goal of $10,000.

Are you ready to join? Contact us at 714-957-9157 ext. 30 or jguevara@komenoc.org.to be a part of Team Komen. Cheers for the New Year!

Fighting for a Cure, 365 Days a Year

Battling breast cancer takes strength and courage, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. This year, through admissions from celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Sharon Osborne, we learned that breast cancer can affect anyone. It is what we do when we find out that we are entering into a battle against cancer that can be the greatest determining factor of our success. However, the biggest difference between celebrities and the rest of us, aside from the fame, is the fortune.

Unfortunately, many women struggle to find the funds they need to receive tests and treatments necessary to fight – or prevent – this vicious disease. That’s why we created “Diagnostics 365” – a campaign that was created to fund diagnostic tests like biopsies and ultrasound guided mammograms—that uninsured women need to find out if they have breast cancer.

This year we were given more than $2.1 million to support breast health and cancer programs. At this year’s Grants Award Breakfast, we awarded more than $1 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations who are committed to serving local women in the community in the fight against breast cancer. Programs like these are made possible as a result of the funds donated to our Komen OC affiliate, to ensure life-saving breast health care services are accessible to all women in our community regardless of age, race, orientation or income level.

We are here to make sure than anyone who has 

breast cancer and needs help, gets help”.

  –Sue Parks, 2012 Board President

Last year, we took on the 3200 Mammogram Challenge, and it was wildly successful. We were able to help more than 2,400 women in Orange County alone, receive this vital exam. This year we want to extend another challenge through our Diagnostics 365 initiative. We have already helped more than 700 women in our community receive these diagnostics tests, and we invite you to support women in need for the next 365 days, and for many years to come. For more information on Diagnostics 365 and opportunities to get involved, visit http://ow.ly/s35TH.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Soss, Komen OC Grants Award Breakfast 2013

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.

Register Early for the 2013 Race for the Cure & SAVE

The 22nd annual Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure will be here before we know it! Each year, the streets around Fashion Island in Newport Beach transform into seas of pink as nearly 25,000 participants come out to show their support and Race for the Cure. This year’s event will be on Sunday, September 22 and we promise a morning filled with excitement, hope, inspiration and courage.

Take advantage of early bird registration now through June 30 and save $5! After June 30, registration will increase to $35.

We all know someone who has been touched by breast cancer; whether it’s a mother, a sister, a wife, or maybe even you. The theme of this year’s race is “INSPIRED.” Whether you run, walk or stroll, be inspired this year to form a team of friends, family and co-workers and join us on our mission of serving people and saving lives.

IMGP5647

Seventy five percent of the funds raised will help support local breast health outreach, mammography for uninsured women and men in need, and support for local women while in cancer treatment. The remaining 25 percent goes directly into the Komen Global Research Fund to energize science to find the cure.

Register today!

2012 Breast Health Education Series Kicks Off on June 5

In partnership with local breast centers and other nonprofit organizations, we created a comprehensive Breast Health Education Series beginning in June through November to educate the community on various topics related to breast health and cancer awareness.  

All sessions are free and open to the public and cover topics such as prevention, screening, diagnostics, treatment and survivorship.

The first session on June 5 will cover “Nutrition & Breast Health: The Power of Your Plate” presented by Karen Godinez, RD, CSO, Registered Oncology Dietitian at SJMC. During the course, Godinez will explain how to increase your awareness of the connection between nutrition and breast health. Find out if what you eat is as important as how much.

Also in June, we’ll present a course on “Cancer and Your Rights” by Laura Riley, Esq. where you can learn about health insurance and your employment rights with a cancer diagnosis.

For more information and to review the entire Breast Health Education Series schedule, please visit the Komen OC website.

We look forward to seeing you!

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!

Surf’s Up for the Cure!

Riviera Paddlesurf is partnering with Kona Brewing Co., Maui Jim Sunglasses and Ohso! Design to host Standup for the Cure on Saturday, May 5, at Newport Dunes in Newport Beach to raise awareness for breast cancer. Pink will take over the beach as paddlers of all ages and abilities standup paddleboard around Newport Harbor to raise funds for our affiliate.

After being introduced to standup paddle boarding, Komen OC volunteer Judy Vivian decided to team up with Dan Van Dyck, coordinator for numerous paddling races to organize an event benefiting the chapter while having some fun under the sun.

Standup for the Cure activities include:

  • Breast cancer survivor paddleboard clinic with World Championship contender Zane Schweitzer
  • A chance to learn Yoga on a standup paddleboard
  • Silent auction for standup paddling equipment
  • Live music and refreshments
  • … and more!

Tickets are now available for purchase. To register to or to get more information, check out Standup for the Cure’s Active page. Thank you to all who attend for your support!

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Michelle Buessing

Komen volunteer Michelle Buessing is definitely a “glass half full” type of woman. She has enthusiasm, optimism and determination despite her personal challenge with breast cancer. Michelle was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer at the age of 32 while she was breast feeding her daughter Maya. There was no family history of breast cancer.

 

Michelle went through four months of chemotherapy, had an 8-hour surgery, three more months of chemo and then 33 radiation treatments, but none of this knocked down the spirit of this Mission Viejo mother. Michelle is now a volunteer for the Komen for the Cure Speakers Bureau.

Here is what Michelle had to say at a recent speaking engagement:

“At the age of 32 I heard the words, ‘you have cancer.’ A day that will always stand out as the most life changing moment of my life, not because it brought me to my knees (which it did) but because it was the day I was given the gift of hope…hope that I would have a long future with my then 11-month- old and 2-year-old little girls because I got to hear the words treatable and curable. [These] two words to a recently diagnosed young mother and wife that make all the difference.

“I have told people since the day I was diagnosed that I owe my life to Susan G. Komen for the Cure because no other organization has done more or had a greater impact on the survival rate. I received cutting edge chemo, surgery and radiation thanks to the advancements in medicine that have been made over the past 20 years.

“I feel in the very fiber of my being that I will get to stand with my daughters at the glorious celebration the day we announce we have found a cure for breast cancer. Will you join me in finding a cure?”

Michelle is an inspiration. She and her family deserve our help. Let’s live by her motto: “Life is sweet… enjoy it!  Faith, love and hope REALLY do make all the difference.”

 

Circle of Promise

On Sunday, Komen OC teamed up with the Komen Los Angeles Affiliate and launched the Circle of Promise campaign in Long Beach to create the largest Second Line. A Second Line is a “lively dancing procession that celebrates life at the conclusion of a funeral” and is traditionally a celebratory component of Mardi Gras festivals. The Long Beach event allowed Komen OC, along with participants, to Bury the Silence and Raise Our Voice as we end breast cancer in African American community.

The Komen Los Angeles County and Orange County Affiliates, in partnership with the Komen African American Community Partnership, a collaboration of local agencies and key stakeholders, launched the local Circle of Promise campaign to reach at risk women in Greater Long Beach, CA. The goals are to engage the local community in the breast cancer movement, increase knowledge of breast health and local resources, reduce stigma related to breast cancer and motivate the use of annual mammography screening. These efforts align with Komen National’s Circle of Promise and Queens of Keeping it Real Campaign.

Based upon statistical analyses of the regional Cancer Registry, the Affiliates found that African-American women in its service area are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage and are at significantly increased risk of dying from the disease than Caucasian women. (Komen/ UCI Data Project; 2009) An individual who is diagnosed early has a 98% survival rate while those detected at an advanced stage have a 20% survival rate. For more information about this data, click here.

The Circle of Promise campaign is designed to engage African American women to help end breast cancer forever by increasing awareness, support, empowerment and action.  The program works by mobilizing the community to ensure that women everywhere have access to the care they need. For more information, please call our office at 714-957-9157.