Home Sweet Home, New Adventures Ahead

After 16 years in Costa Mesa, we are moving! On Monday, March 27, our new address will be 2817 McGaw Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614. We invite you to join us at our open house on Friday, April 21st from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to check out our new home and enjoy some refreshments.  It’ll be the perfect opportunity for you to tour our office, get to know us and learn about our services! No need to RSVP, just show up and say hello.

Moving boxes piling up in our Costa Mesa office

Moving boxes piling up in our Costa Mesa office

Of the 13 Susan G. Komen Orange County staff members, some have been here for 11 years, others for 11 months. Nevertheless, this move feels bittersweet as we’ve all created memories associated with this office, and the inspiring survivors, supporters and volunteers who’ve crossed our paths. On the other hand, we’re really looking forward to the new office, the exciting beginning of a new chapter in serving more women and saving more lives! Here are some of our best moments, most inspiring stories and thoughts on our new adventure ahead:

What is your best memory associated with this office?

Julie (Director of Marketing): The day I came in to interview for the position. I was so nervous driving to the office, not knowing that to expect. The interview process was nerve-wrecking and I remember telling myself, “What’s meant to be will be,” and here I am six years later loving what I do! Now, I feel like this place and my co-workers have become like a second home and family.

Danielle (Special Events & Race for the Cure Teams Coach): I have enjoyed interacting with the many different groups meeting in our conference room (Race committee, Pink Tie Ball committee, Race Teams, volunteer and survivor groups). Our Team Captain Rallies, and hearing about the inspiring stories behind their involvement with Race for the Cure are among my favorite moments in the office.

LarLeslie (Circle of Promise Community Resource Advocate): I’ve enjoyed most working with an inspiring and compassionate staff and meeting and planning with the African-American Breast Health Partnership to increase awareness and improve breast cancer outcomes in the community.

Do you have a story about an event, a meeting, an encounter that took place in this office that inspired you, touched you or had an impact on you?

Lisa (Executive Director): An event that sticks with me is a candlelight reception we held in the courtyard, where we shared stories about friends, families, and acquaintances who had been taken by breast cancer, remembering their courage, commitment, hopes and fears.

Robin (Circle of Caring/Development): Each day, we have an opportunity to change the path for someone who comes to us for help. I discovered this when a survivor, Ann, showed up at our office, devastated and in shock. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and was scheduled for a mastectomy very soon. She didn’t know what to do, had little understanding of her own diagnosis or treatment plan, and had no idea what to tell her 12-year old autistic daughter. I comforted her, and together we contacted her doctor’s office and learned that there was no actual diagnosis and the scheduled mastectomy surgery prescribed by her doctor was premature. I helped her schedule a new appointment with a different doctor, and I provided her with Susan G. Komen materials to help her understand her new circumstances.

Julie: The first survivor we lost after I joined Susan G. Komen was a woman named Kathy Voorhis. She was a beautiful person inside and out. My favorite memory was a photo shoot we did with her and a few other women for our Race for the Cure campaign that year. She was so hard on herself and her photos but that day, she was the most beautiful I had ever seen her. She radiated beauty through her smile, sense of humor and sincere kindness. She is dearly missed.

Kathy Voorhis

Kathy Voorhis

Jennifer (Mission Programs Specialist): One of my favorite encounters was with a breast cancer survivor who needed assistance with hairpieces, and the feeling of wholeness she experienced when we find a wig that suited her.

What are you looking forward to in the new office?

Lisa: The new office will have a very welcoming front room with a couch and chairs, wood floor and be very close to the Resource and Wig Room. It will be nice for talking privately with people needing breast cancer information or referrals. We also will have a big new training room next to an open warehouse area so I envision some great celebrations and look forward to do our Race for the Cure registration and packet pick up right from our own space.

Danielle: I am looking forward to the new office and the many ways we will be able to utilize our new training room and various multi use rooms with volunteers, supporters and survivors.

We could not close this post without thanking our generous friends at Tangram Interiors who designed our new space, provided new furniture and helped us move. Thanks to their incredible work, the new office already feels like home!

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!

We’re Still on a Mission: Sneak Peek into 2017

In 2016, we celebrated our 25th anniversary. Looking back 25 years, people did not talk about breast cancer although the mortality rate was much higher. Between 1990 and 2013, breast cancer mortality decreased by 37%, the equivalent of nearly 250,000 lives saved. This is incredible progress, but there is more work to be done. Susan G. Komen recently announced its Bold Goal, to cut the mortality rate nationwide by 50 percent in the next decade.

We’re taking on numerous initiatives to reach our Bold Goal, from our signature fundraising events to community outreach programs, and building relationships with local partners. Here are several we look forward to in 2017:

  • Knott’s Berry Farm for the Cure: For the fourth consecutive year, Knott’s Berry Farm will turn pink for several weeks from January to March, in support of breast cancer. Our good friend Snoopy will help us raise funds through the sale of Knott’s Pink Tickets and Knott’s for the Cure Pink merchandise.

Knott's Berry Farm

  • Circle of Promise: While African American women are less likely than Caucasian women to be diagnosed with breast cancer, the mortality rate in Orange County is 41 percent higher. In February, we’ll host a Circle of Promise Day to combat these statistics by hosting a roundtable with influent community leaders.
  • Research Symposium: In February, Komen Orange County will unite leading breast health scientists and specialists who will share their knowledge of breast cancer.
  • Pink Tie Ball: In the past ten years, 4,500+ guests have attended our Pink Tie Ball, helping us raise $3.6 million. In May, we will honor seven new Pink Tie Guys and celebrate their efforts in the community toward the fight against breast cancer.

Pink Tie Ball 2016

  • OC Marathon: On May 7, we’ll be onsite to cheer on and hand out water to the hard working runners. Look for our booth at the finish line, where you can also learn about breast health services!
  • Race for the Cure: Over the past 25 years, 307,000+ people have participated in the Race for the Cure and helped us raised more than $34.5 million. We hope to see you at the starting line!

As you can see, 2017 will be a busy year for us! We hope you’ll join us at one or more of our events and in our mission to fight breast cancer.

We Are More Than Pink

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, join the fight against breast cancer by educating yourself on prevention and detection methods. Recently, we launched our More Than Pink campaign and rallied supporters to take action by making a bigger and bolder impact – to show us they are More Than Pink. Today, Komen represents more than just a color; it represents finding a cure for breast cancer and creating a world where families don’t have to bear the traumatic loss of a grandmother, mother, niece, aunt, daughter or sister to this aggressive and heartbreaking disease.

Breast-cancer-facts

Credit: National Breast Cancer Foundation

Almost everyone has been connected to breast cancer in some way and knows the devastating impact this disease can have on a loved one and his/her family. In the United States alone:

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women (besides skin cancer)
  • There are currently 3 million breast cancer survivors
  • In 2016, nearly 250,000 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 2,500+ in men
  • Every two minutes, one women is diagnosed with breast cancer
  • In 2016, 40,000+ women and nearly 450 men are expected to die from breast cancer
More-than-Pink

Susan G. Komen More Than Pink™

To decrease these upsetting statistics, we need YOU to get involved and be a hero by joining us in this campaign! Our BOLD GOAL to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the United States in the next decade cannot be achieved without the help of the community. Join us by acting, donating and/or getting involved. Every little bit of support will help us get one step closer to reaching our goal. Learn more about our More Than Pink initiative: http://sgk.mn/2d2sE3e.

Circle of Promise: Let’s Rewrite The Story During Black History Month

Did you know? African American women are 55 percent more likely to be diagnosed at a late stage of breast cancer and 44 percent more likely to die from the disease. In honor of Black History Month, an annual observance each February to honor and remember important people and events in African history, Komen Orange County is spreading the word about its efforts to end breast cancer in African American women and men. Komen Orange County, along with the seven California Affiliates, have partnered for an intensive multiyear effort called Circle of Promise. With Circle of Promise, Komen Orange County hopes to activate the community to help improve breast cancer outcomes in African Americans. Circle of Promise is a breast cancer resource and awareness program that further engages black women and men in the fight against breast cancer. Do you want to get involved in Circle of Promise for Black History Month?

Black History Month

Here’s what you can do:

  • Know your risk. Learn about your family health history. Know how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your health care provider.
  • Talk with your doctor. Talk to your health care provider about your own personal risk and ask which screening tests are right for you.
  • Get a mammogram. Have a clinical breast exam every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Living a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise may reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Together, we’re working towards our mission to decrease breast cancer mortality among African American women and men by increasing breast health awareness and access to mammography screenings. See what the Circle of Promise is doing in your community: http://californiacircleofpromise.org/.

Mammography Event Wraps up Successful Knott’s Berry Farm Partnership

Peanuts characters deliver check to Komen Orange County (Photo courtesy of OCC School of Photography)

Peanuts characters deliver check to Komen Orange County (Photo courtesy of OCC School of Photography)

During a special event last week, as a thank you to Knott’s Berry Farm and in partnership with Alinea Medical Imaging and YWCA-NOC, Susan G. Komen Orange County was in Buena Park to help provide free mammograms to Knott’s employees.

The two-month partnership with Knott’s Berry Farm during February and March raised nearly $100,000 for Komen Orange County and we are grateful to everyone involved for their participation and support. Last Wednesday, Alinea’s mobile mammography unit rolled into Knott’s Berry Farm and volunteers from YWCA-NOC helped to coordinate the mammograms.  Dr. Reich was on hand to perform the screening for Knott’s employees and family members.

Everyone’s favorite theme park characters, Snoopy, Lucy and Sally, were also on hand to celebrate the partnership. The Peanuts gang helped present Komen Orange County with a check for $97,621.11 and greeted women as they awaited their mammograms.

Thank you to everyone at Knott’s, Alinea and YWCA-NOC for helping make this happen! Komen OC’s community outreach wouldn’t be possible without all the terrific partners and supporters that help make it happen!

 

Why Komen?

Many professionals view board service as a rewarding way to share their skill sets and talents with nonprofits that serve a particular mission that they feel passionately about. This April, Susan G. Komen Orange County will welcome two new prominent leaders to its 2014-2015 board of directors, to help advance its local breast health initiatives. Dr. Robina Smith, breast cancer surgeon and oncology specialist at St. Jude Medical Center, and Joseph Stein, founder of Simply Innovate LLC will join Komen OC’s existing team of esteemed advocates and share how their dedication to Komen’s mission is rooted in their personal experiences with breast cancer.

Dr. Robina Smith

Dr. Robina Smith

Dr. Smith chose to pursue a fellowship to specialize solely in oncoplastic breast surgery – an innovative surgical technique that combines advanced cancer surgery with plastic surgery techniques. Her mission: to save the lives of women and men affected by breast cancer, and to help them overcome and face any challenges through their journey.

To be at the forefront of a movement that is changing the lives of women who are often voiceless, is priceless,” stated Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith is a passionate advocate for the Komen cause and hopes to advance initiatives that help African American women – like herself – receive the treatment and diagnosis they require.

Joseph Stein

Joseph Stein

At 13 years old, Stein lost his mother to breast cancer. Nearly 15 years ago, he also lost his sister to the disease. During a heart wrenching funeral, he witnessed his sister’s children having to handle the loss of their mother. He feels that no child should have to endure the loss of a parent, and hopes that through Komen’s initiatives, this will one day become a reality. Stein draws hope from the advances being made in breast cancer research funded largely in part by Komen’s efforts, and continues to draw inspiration from friends and family members who have survived the disease.

Each board member at Komen OC possesses a passion and drive necessary in advancing Komen’s mission of serving women and saving lives. We are thrilled to have two dedicated community leaders join the 2014-2015 board of directors and can’t wait to see what the new year holds!