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!

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.”