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!

Real Men Wear Pink

We are so excited to have such wonderful volunteers in our Komen OC community and share this great story with you!  Cory Holmes, 26, has been working hard on his custom car to help us spread breast cancer awareness.  A great article ran in the Tustin News today on Cory and his 2006 Infiniti G35 Coupe. We guarantee you haven’t seen a volunteer or a car one like this!

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We can’t forget Cory’s tattoo, another way he helps spread breast cancer awareness.

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UPDATE MARCH 15: Cory’s story will be featured in The Orange County Register on March 16. We’re thankful for Cory’s support and proud to have such an inspirational volunteer!

Komen Orange County Marches in Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade

Komen Orange County was grateful to recently participate in the 108th annual Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade.  A team of more than 40 survivors marched along Main Street in Huntington Beach to help spread breast health awareness and generate buzz about the upcoming Race for the Cure on Sunday, September 23.

The two mile parade began on the Pacific Coast Highway at 10:00 a.m., turned left onto Main St. and ended just after Yorktown Ave.

Men, women and children of all ages showed their support by wearing pink Komen OC T-shirts and carrying pink pompoms.

Dr. Lisa Guerra, 2012 Survivor Award recipient for Outstanding Breast Health Advocate, waved pink pompoms from the back of a pink Komen OC golf cart.

The Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade and Festival is said to be the biggest Independence Day celebration in Southern California. Thank you to all of our supporters and survivors who participated in the Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade.

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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!

Congratulations to our 2012 Community Grantees

Today Komen OC announced it will award more than $1.5 million in grants to 15 local nonprofit organizations at the Grants Award Breakfast on Friday, Dec. 2. The grants make a substantial impact in the fight to end breast cancer forever and reinforce Komen Orange County’s support for its surrounding community partners.

The 2012 Komen Fund for Breast Health Care and community grants recipients and their breast health programs are:

  • AltaMed Health Services Corporation / Breast Cancer Early Detection and Care Program
  • Asian American Senior Citizens Service Center / Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Program (BCAPP) to the Uninsured Chinese American Women
  • Breast Cancer Solutions / Enabling Access: Medical and Financial Aid Program; Latina Breast Health Support Program Specialist
  • Hurrt Family Health Clinic / Access to Care and Treatment (ACT) Now Project
  • Laguna Beach Community Clinic / LBCC’s Breast Care Commitment Program
  • Latino Health Access / Salud de Seno (Breast Health Program)
  • Nhan Hoa Comprehensive Health Clinic / Breast Care for Low-Income and Uninsured Young People
  • Pacific Islander Health Partnership / Pacific Islander Navigator Breast Health Project
  • Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties / Breast Health Program
  • Serve the People Community Health Center / Women’s Wellness Clinic
  • Share Our Selves (SOS) / Women’s Health Initiative
  • The G.R.E.E.N. Foundation / ActNOW: Be Self Empowered  (BSE) Breast Health
  • Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation / Breast Health Navigation and Education Program
  • YWCA of North Orange County / Early Breast Cancer Screening and Education
  • University of California, Irvine / Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Our 2011 Grant Recipients

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.