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!

Calling All Heroes! Early Bird Registration is Now Open!

Register. Fundraise. Be a hero.

It’s simple – sign up today and join us for the 24th Annual Race for the Cure on Sunday, September 27 at Fashion Island in Newport Beach to celebrate survivors and breast cancer heroes. All heroes who register before May 31 receive a special early bird discount on their registration fee, with additional discounts for breast cancer survivors.

Dare to be a competitive hero? New this year is the “timing chip” to see how fast you can complete our course! Keep in mind, if you’re planning to use the timing chip, you must participate in the 7:15 a.m. Race. If this sounds like something you have wanted to accomplish, start training and fundraising in support of all the inspirational women and men battling breast cancer every day. Or, if you’re not into running, you can walk our 5K or participate in the Kid’s One Mile Fun Run & Family Walk. Either way, you’ll still be our hero.

Hero

Inspired to be a group of heroes like the Fantastic Four or The Avengers?  Consider forming or joining a Race team! All you need is a group of 10 or more heroes to join the fight against breast cancer.

The sooner you register, the sooner you can begin fundraising. All funds generated from Race for the Cure directly impact the lives of women and men battling breast cancer. That means by fundraising, you’re saving lives.

There’s a hero in all of us, and the journey to saving lives starts here: www.komenoc.org/race.

Spend the Day at Knott’s Berry Farm and Help Fight Breast Cancer!

Calling all amusement park lovers! We’re teaming up with Knott’s Berry Farm again for the second annual “Knott’s for the Cure” to raise funds for breast cancer education, treatment and research! Knott’s is offering discounted “Pink Tickets” and limited edition “pink” merchandise now through March 27 to support our mission of ending breast cancer forever. Stop by the park and enjoy Knott’s world class entertainment, attractions and Komen-inspired décor – all for a great cause.

Knott's Berry Farm For the Cure Pink Circle Logo

Our partnership with Knott’s aims to raise awareness in Orange County – and within the Latina community – where women are 20 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than non-Hispanics. By teaming up with Knott’s we hope to reach this important population, to provide life-saving mammograms and treatment options to reduce those numbers.

Last year, the “Pink Partnership” raised nearly $100,000 and with your help we hope to raise even more in 2015! 75 percent of funds raised are invested in local breast health needs and services; the remaining 25 percent benefit the Komen Award and Research Grant Program to fund groundbreaking breast cancer research.

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Join Snoopy, Charlie Brown and all the Peanut characters as advocates committed to the fight against breast cancer! We’ll see you at the park!

For Knott’s theme park information, including hours of operation, please visit www.knotts.com or call (714) 220-5200.

Follow and join the conversation on social media by using #KnottsPink and stay tuned for upcoming initiatives!

World’s Fastest Female Olympian, Carmelita Jeter, Joins 2014 Race for the Cure – Are You Ready?

Nowadays, it seems like we’re all touched by breast cancer. You may know a friend with the disease, or a family member who survived the great fight against breast cancer. Carmelita “The Jet” Jeter, a three-time Olympic medalist, has close ties to the breast cancer community and a family history, having lost her aunt and cousin to the disease.  As an influential personality, Carmelita is using her personal experience to raise awareness for this disease and to speak up for the women and men that are fighting the battle against breast cancer every day. This year, Carmelita will be sounding the official starting horn and sharing her ties to breast cancer at the 2014 Komen Orange County Race for the Cure on Sept 28.

Not only is Carmelita an ambassador for the Susan G. Komen® Circle of Promise California Initiative, a statewide campaign to address breast cancer disparities in the African American community, but she has also been involved with several other breast cancer initiatives throughout her career. Our hope is that Carmelita can inspire each of us to stand up against breast cancer – to help save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Carmelita at Komen

Are you interested in meeting Carmelita Jeter before the Race and joining Komen Orange County in the fight to end breast cancer in our community? Come out to the Registration Tent on Saturday, Sept 20, at 9:45 a.m. for a special “meet and greet” with Carmelita.

Or sign up online for this year’s Race and find out more information about the big day at www.komenoc.org/race.

Susan G. Komen Orange County Kicks Off #OCTutuTour

We kicked off our first #OCTutuTour on the steps of the Pacific Life building yesterday to raise awareness and support for our 23 annual Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure®. More than 30 tutu-clad Orange County business executives, volunteers, Race team members and residents with “I Tutu for…” signs joined together to bring awareness to the importance of breast health and encourage registration for the 2014 Race for the Cure. Pink Tie Guys, Khanh Tran and Ed Arnold made appearances in their pink tutus to help support Susan G. Komen Orange County and the OC Tutu Tour! It was a “Sea of Pink,” as the lively crowd of women, men and children donned pink tutus and energetically rallied for registrants.

Khanh Tran, President of Pacific Life, leading the way at the Tutu Tour kick-off

Khanh Tran, President of Pacific Life, leading the way at the Tutu Tour kick-off

The goal is to take pictures of as many people (men, women and children) in pink tutus highlighting why they Race for the Cure to share via social media with hashtag #OCTutuTour. Several notable personalities have agreed to join our Tutu Tour, including E! News host, Ali Fedotowsky, Twitch Boss from So You Think You Can Dance and some of the Real Housewives of OC.

Those interested in sporting pink tutus to support the #OCTutuTour and bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer are encouraged to participate. Need a tutu? No problem. Email us at jguevara@komenoc.org and we’ll get one to you. Race for the Cure Team Captains can use tutu photos to inspire their team members, and Corporate Teams are encouraged to ask company executives to pose for a tutu photo to demonstrate support and team-building. Send us your tutu pictures today and don’t forget to hashtag #OCTutuTour!

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.