Giving the Gift of Breast Health Care for Mothers and Daughters

At the age of 26, Veronica was not prepared for a breast cancer diagnosis and everything that come along with it.  Neither was her mom. Veronica was less than one year away from graduating from Cal State, Fullerton when she noticed that her nipple was inverted. Her mother was not worried because her sister had the same breast abnormality. A few months later Veronica felt a lump near the areola on the same breast.  Now she was scared.

Uninsured at the time, she went to the only place she knew that might be able to help her, Planned Parenthood. She was then referred to Breastlink, who diagnosed her with Her2 positive breast cancer that had spread into her lymph nodes. She was told that chemotherapy would damage her fertility.  At 26, Veronica hadn’t even thought about having children yet!

Suddenly, Veronica went from being a normal college student to fighting for her life with the immense stress of how to pay for all the cares. Emotionally, she wasn’t coping well. Neither was her Mom. Veronica could not handle the weight of her mother’s sorrow on top of her own emotional distress. Following her doctor’s advice, Veronica called Susan G. Komen Orange County.

Veronica Mora and her mother

Veronica Mora and her mother

At Komen Orange County, Veronica and her mom received a warm welcome from Cafecitos Hope, a Spanish-speaking comfort support group for Latina breast cancer survivors. That’s when Veronica realized how her diagnostic procedures were paid. It was Susan G. Komen Orange County who had silently stepped in and paid for her first ultrasound and needle biopsy that diagnosed her cancer at Breastlink. It was Komen who had offered her a free wig when her hair fell out. It was Komen who had referred her to free local mental health services. And, it was Komen who was helping her mother learn to cope with her sorrow.

Susan G. Komen Orange County was able to make an impact on Veronica and her mother’s lives because of YOUR support. Thanks to you, Veronica will be graduating this month from Cal State Fullerton! Help us honoring other moms and loved ones on Mother’s Day by giving the gift of breast health care for all women in need throughout Orange County.

There are many ways you can do so:

  • Please consider making a donation, by clicking here.
  • Join our celebration by using Facebook’s custom “Mom & Me” profile picture filter on your Facebook page and tell us your favorite #MomAndMe moment. To learn more, click here
Mom & Me Facebook filter

Mom & Me Facebook filter

  • Help spread the word with your family, friends and professional network about upcoming free mammograms screenings. To be eligible, women must be 40 years of age or older, have low income, have no or limited insurance, not be receiving these services through Medi-Cal or another government-sponsored program, live in California and not have had a mammogram in the past 12 months. It is also mandatory to sign up in advance. Below, you will find a list of sign-up events and onsite mammography screening events. For more information, contact Ambrocia Lopez at 714-957-9157 ext. 25 or via email at alopez@komenoc.org.

MAMMOGRAPHY SIGN-UP EVENTS:

  • May 11, 2-5 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market, 770 S Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA 92704
  • May 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market Store, 6991 Lincoln Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620
  • May 16, 2-6 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market Store, 6991 Lincoln Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620
  • May 18, 2-6 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market, 2030 East Lincoln Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806
  • May 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market, 2030 East Lincoln Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

ONSITE MAMMOGRAPHY SCREENING EVENTS:

  • May 15, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market , 770 S Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA 92704
  • May 22, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market Store , 6991 Lincoln Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620
  • May 26, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Northgate Gonzalez Market Store, 2030 East Lincoln Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

Help us bring hope to mothers and daughters fighting breast cancer!

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!

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

Orange County Survivors and Advocates Celebrated at Komen Orange County Awards Luncheon

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Three strong and inspirational individuals were recognized at the 2013 Komen Orange County Survivor Celebration and Awards Luncheon  on August 11 , in addition to the many more being celebrated throughout the day. As in years past, this is always a wonderful event where we can give back to inspiring survivors, co-survivors and advocates from within the Orange County community.

Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens, who, in October of 2012 announced her diagnosis with Stage III breast cancer, gave a speech that was inspiring, emotional and humorous. We are so grateful to her for coming out and sharing her experiences and stories with the award recipients and all those in attendance. This was the first event where she shared her deeply personal story and she did it in a way that touched us all.

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Three honorees were awarded Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor, Most Inspirational Co-Survivor and Outstanding Breast Health Advocate.

The Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor recipient was Huntington Beach resident Georganna Hall Wadsack who, when diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 as a 38-year-old single mother, was able to benefit from programs put in place by Komen Orange County which helped in both her diagnosis and treatment. She has since been married and invested herself in Komen Orange County by taking part in many events. She spoke during the Survivor Tribute at last year’s Race for the Cure and volunteered at Stand Up for the Cure which, with the help of Georganna and other volunteers, raised more than $100,000 last year! Georganna will be joining the advisory board for 2014’s Stand Up for the Cure.

The Most Inspirational Co-Survivor recipient was Aliso Viejo resident, Melissa McGee, who has been affected by the disease three times by supporting and caring for her two friends and mother who had breast cancer. Melissa is also the person responsible for bringing to life the ever-inspiring Susan’s Gardens Posters that decorate the Race for the Cure path each year. She creates and hangs each poster on race day in memory and recognition of loved ones who have fought the disease (The deadline to purchase your order is Sept. 4th)

The Outstanding Breast Health Advocate recipient, Angela Acevedo, got involved with Komen Orange County after recognizing a need for community outreach and education with Latinas through her work at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She identified a need in a high-risk population and goes above and beyond her call of duty as a nurse navigator. Not only does she help those with breast cancer navigate what can be a confusing landscape of health care, but she also volunteers her time to Komen Orange County events, even going as far as traveling to Indiana to donate her own breast tissue at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at IU Simon Cancer Center in Indiana

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Thank you to everyone who attended this wonderful event. Komen Orange County is proud to honor individuals leading the charge toward furthering breast health education and energizing science for the cure.

For more information about Komen Orange County, visit us at http://www.komenoc.org, or text “News” to 50555 for mobile updates . You can also text “KomenOC” to 50555 to donate to local breast health services and education in Orange County.

Upcoming Events:

August 24th Join us for our last Team Captain Kickoff before the race! Come meet other team captains, learn effective ways to fundraise, and about all the race day logistics!

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!

Celebrating Komen OC’s Survivors

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Thank you to all our family, friends and supporters who celebrated our survivors by walking with Susan G. Komen Orange County at the 2013 Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade.

Nearly 30 survivors, co-survivor family and friends and friends of Komen Orange County were in attendance, painting the street pink in honor of Komen OC’s mission of serving people and saving lives. For most, the color combination of pink with red, white and blue may seem like an unusual pairing, but both represent an emblem of freedom. For those shining bright in pink, the color signified a celebration that recognized survivors and the striving liberation from breast cancer.

In the march celebrating independence,  breast cancer survivors, co-survivors and supporters of Komen OC rallied to walk for breast cancer, which affects one in eight women in her lifetime.

From all of us at Komen OC, we give our deepest thanks to all those who participated.

Upcoming events:

July 10th – Join us at our Komen Education Series at UC Irvine from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The series is free and open to the public and covers breast health care topics including prevention, screening, diagnostics, treatment and survivorship.

Don’t forget! Registration is now open Komen Orange County’s Race for the Cure.

Register today!

We’re seeking nominations for the 2013 Survivor Awards!

Do you know a breast cancer survivor, co-survivor or breast health advocate who makes a difference in our community and deserves recognition?

Susan G. Komen Orange County invites OC residents to nominate inspiring and dedicated breast cancer survivors, co-survivors and breast health advocates for the 2013 Survivor Awards. Each year, Komen Orange County recognizes three tremendous individuals who are making an impact in the community in the fight against breast cancer.

Each individual falls under one of three categories:

  • Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor – a breast cancer survivor in the community who has turned his/her battle into a positive experience by inspiring, assisting, or educating others.
  • Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Co-Survivor – family, friends, health care providers or colleagues who are there to lend support from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
  • Outstanding Breast Health Advocate – a non-survivor who has gone above and beyond his/her job description to volunteers outside the workplace to make a difference in the lives of breast cancer survivors and to educate women in the community.

Nominations must be submitted no later than Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

Last year we were honored to recognize Marie La Fargue as our 2012 Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor, The Cammack Family as our Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Co-Survivor and Dr. Lisa Guerra as an Outstanding Breast Health Advocate.

For more information and nomination forms visit: http://bit.ly/17NycV0.

The Cammack Family was recognized as our Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Co-Survivor at the 2012 Survivor Awards.

The Cammack Family was recognized as our Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Co-Survivor at the 2012 Survivor Awards.

Our 2012 Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor, Marie La Fargue with Board Member Sora Park Tanjasiri, Dr.PH, MPH.

Our 2012 Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor, Marie La Fargue with Board Member Sora Park Tanjasiri, Dr.PH, MPH.

With my strength, my power, the world is mine! –Incredible Hulk

National Superhero Day is this Sunday, April 28. Here at Komen Orange County we have a number of superheroes we’d like to honor and recognize! Just like many of the action fighters we are all familiar with and admire, we are on our own quest to save the world from breast cancer.

Sure Superman can fly around the world to undo time and can catch a speeding bullet in his teeth. Wolverine can detect nearby enemies with his smell and heal from any wound almost instantly. The Incredible Hulk can withstand extreme temperatures and possesses unlimited strength and power.

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But at Komen OC our breast cancer survivors are our ultimate heroes, the real “Wonder Women” of Orange County. They have extraordinary powers of strength, bravery and courage that inspire all of us.

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Let’s celebrate on Sunday by paying tribute to these local survivor superheroes and those who we may have lost along the way. There are lots of ways you, too, can be a superhero and help raise funds for breast cancer research and local breast health services for uninsured and underserved women and men.  Consider volunteering, forming a Race team or donating a life-saving mammogram. To find out more about how to get involved and make a difference with Komen Orange County, visit www.komenoc.org.

Share your stories below of who you consider to be your biggest superhero.