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.

Joining Hands to Empower African Americans in a Circle of Promise

Every day, breast cancer impacts many individuals from diverse backgrounds. But did you know breast cancer mortality rates differ depending on your ethnicity?

Among African American women, breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer found, with lung cancer being the second most common cause of cancer deaths. Despite the fact that African American women are diagnosed with breast cancer less frequently than Caucasian women, the mortality rate is higher – but why? Often, breast cancer is found in African American women at a more advanced stage, when it is more difficult, or impossible, to treat.

Here are tips on how to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity after menopause increases your chances of developing breast cancer.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. The more alcohol a woman consumes, the greater the risk of breast cancer.
  • Breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed reduce their risk of breast cancer.
  • Regular mammograms. The American Cancer Society recommends women over the age of 40 get annual mammograms.

PortiaJackson

Susan G. Komen’s Circle of Promise is a resource and awareness program created specifically for African American women and men affected by breast cancer. We’re happy to have Dr. Portia Jackson, doctor of public health, recently join the Orange County Affiliate as the new strategy & implementation consultant for the Circle of Promise initiative.

Q: How does it feel to be the first strategy and implementation consultant for Komen Orange County?

A: I’m excited to engage and mobilize the African American community in Orange County to educate themselves and others about their breast health, to ultimately decrease breast cancer disparities among African American women.

Q: How will the statewide Circle of Promise strategy unfold in Orange County?

A: My goal in Orange County is to identify and serve diverse, underserved communities with high breast cancer mortality rates by providing community organization and direct education, as well as enabling screening and navigation services. We will address breast cancer disparities among African Americans who are rarely or never screened, low-income, uninsured or recipients of Medi-Cal.

Q: Tell us about yourself. What did you do before joining Komen Orange County?

A: I worked for the Center for Disease Control and Deloitte, as a consultant. On the side, I also work as a professor at UCLA focusing on the behavioral, economic, and biological underpinnings of racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. I hold more than a decade of professional experience in the health industry.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Dr. Portia!

To learn more about the Circle of Promise initiative in Orange County visit: http://bit.ly/1gj7jxU or contact Dr. Portia Jackson at 714-957-9157 ext. 29.

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/.

Susan G. Komen® California Announces Circle of Promise to Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths in African American Women

Susan G. Komen® Orange County is proud to be a part of a statewide initiative to raise awareness for  the breast healthcare disparities among African American women.The two-year intensive initiative, which launched last week, addressed access to care and lack of follow-up care as major contributing factors to the higher mortality rate in African American women. Nationwide, African American women are 41% more likely than Caucasian women to die from breast cancer. This alarming trend is likely the result of compounding social, cultural, financial and geographic barriers, and is simply unacceptable in light of the overall improvement in mortality rates since the 1990s.

NBC Los Angeles captures Dr. Robina Smith, a breast surgeon, speaking at St. Jude Medical Center

NBC Los Angeles captures Dr. Robina Smith, a breast surgeon, speaking about the Susan G. Komen California Circle of Promise initiative

On June 11, seven Affiliates of Susan G. Komen® California, including Komen Orange County gathered in Culver City for a press conference and launch event announcing the Susan G. Komen of California® Circle of Promise. During the news conference with medical, community and media leaders, we announced a collaboration on a best practice model to address breast cancer disparities at both the micro and macro levels, specifically focusing on African American women who are rarely or never screened, low-income, uninsured or recipients of Medi-Cal.

As we work together as a community to raise awareness for the breast health challenges African American women face, Susan G. Komen® wants all women to make a commitment to follow the four steps to Breast Self Awareness while also making a promise to be an ambassador to spread the word for others in your community to do the same. Protect yourself with these four easy steps:

  • Know Your Risk – Lean about your family health history and talk to your health care provider about your own personal risk.
  • Get Screened – Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you and if you are at a higher risk.
  • Know What’s Normal for Your Body – Know how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your doctor. Examine your breasts monthly.
  • Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices – The right health choices may reduce your overall risk of developing breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen® Orange County needs you to help spread the word. Invite your girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters and co-workers to learn more and join the Circle of Promise.

Support for the Susan G. Komen® Circle of Promise California Initiative is made possible in part by a grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC.

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.