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!

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Knott’s Screams Against Breast Cancer

For the fourth consecutive year, Knott’s Berry Farm partnered with Susan G. Komen Orange County to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and services for the local community during Knott’s for the Cure from January 9 to March 5, 2017.

In 2017, Knott’s and Komen Orange County raised more than $108,000 through the purchase of “pink” tickets, season passes and select merchandise such as “Pink” Knott’s t-shirts sold in the park. With the cost of a mammogram evaluated at $125, Knott’s for the Cure will benefit more than 800 Orange county residents who are underinsured or underserved!

Cherie Whyte, director of communications for Knott’s Berry Farm, presents a check to Jessica Rhee, Board member, Susan G. Komen Orange County

Cherie Whyte, director of communications for Knott’s Berry Farm, presents a check to Jessica Rhee, Board member, Susan G. Komen Orange County

One of the campaign’s highlights was a special event on World Cancer Day (February 4) to honor and celebrate survivors and their families whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. Knott’s and Komen OC organized a #ScreamAgainstBreastCancer Facebook contest for a chance to participate in the event featuring actress Brenda Song from CBS’s “Pure Genius,” who attended in support of her mother currently battling breast cancer. Winners of the contest screamed against all of the challenges and pain but most importantly celebrated their victories and the great triumph of overcoming breast cancer while suspended over 252-feet in the air, at the highest point of Orange County’s tallest free-standing ride, Knott’s Supreme Scream.

Brenda Song holding hands with Peanuts characters Lucy and Frieda

Brenda Song and Peanuts’ friends Lucy and Frieda

Knott’s Berry Farm also teamed up with Komen Orange County on February 22 to provide free screening mammograms, clinical breast exams and education to Knott’s employees and local uninsured and under-insured women (and men) via the Knott’s sponsored Alinea mobile mammography van. Local women who received free mammograms were also gifted free admission to the park.

Alinea Mobile Mammography Van and Snoopy

Alinea Mobile Mammography Van and Snoopy

Additionally, on Valentine’s Day, the Supreme Scream ride, towering over 312-feet in the air, turned pink and glowed for miles in honor of the Knott’s for the Cure program. Supreme Scream along with the famous Calico Mine Ride, shined across the Buena Park skyline each night for the remaining duration of the promotion.

Since 2013, the partnership with Komen Orange County has collectively raised close to $500,000 for the organization. Knott’s Berry Farm’s parent company, Cedar Fair Entertainment, has donated nearly $1 million to Susan G. Komen in the last 5 years. The proceeds raised during Knott’s for the Cure help provide underserviced women and men in Orange County with access to breast health care and services.

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!

Giving Thanks by Giving Back

As we enter giving season, we at Susan G. Komen Orange County, in partnership with the YWCA of North Orange County, wanted to do something extra special to show our appreciation for the community.  So on Saturday morning, we visited the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen at St. Joseph Church and School in Santa Ana with our mobile mammography unit to provide access to care for 37 uninsured and high-risk Orange County women. We had a successful screening – it was the most women we’ve screened at one time.

loaves and fishes

Participants stand in line for their free mammograms.

Mammograms are vital in detecting breast cancer in its early stages and without free breast health screenings for women and men in need, knowing whether they have breast cancer or not would be impossible. Our screening event was held in conjunction with the weekly soup kitchen operations, which serves meals to nearly 900 homeless or disadvantaged men, women and children, in addition to providing free medical care, English classes, clothing and more. Our collaboration with the soup kitchen presented the perfect opportunity to do what we do best – change the lives of women and men in our community.

mam2

Alinea Medical Imaging’s mobile mammography helps make these events possible.

We’re grateful for community partners like YWCA of North Orange County and Alinea Medical Imaging for their support of the Komen promise of advancing the fight against breast cancer.  Without their help, we would not be able to offer services at no-cost to the to the Orange County community and encourage breast cancer awareness. We are also thankful for the opportunity to work with Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen and are looking forward to future events at their location.

What are you grateful for this season of giving? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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!

 

Providing Free Mammography Screenings for Orange County Residents

The Mobile Unit Photo courtesy of Orange Coast College School of Photography

The Mobile Unit
Photo courtesy of Orange Coast College School of Photography

Susan G. Komen Orange County is always looking for ways to benefit women in need in the local community and has found another way to do just that. During the month of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Komen Orange County, in partnership with Northgate Gonzalez Markets and YWCA North Orange County, provided women with limited healthcare options a chance to get free mammography screenings and breast exams. The screenings were held in convenient, accessible locations throughout Orange County – in Buena Park, Santa Ana and Anaheim.

Komen Orange County found a unique way of bringing these free mammography screenings to women who do not have access to convenient healthcare. By partnering with Alinea Medical Imaging, we were able to debut a mobile digital mammography unit at the free screening in Anaheim on October 28.

This mobile unit is the first full service, self-contained mobile digital mammography unit in Southern California. It will be able to provide the best care possible to patients at these convenient events. By using a Hologic Selenia digital mammography machine, patients will be provided with high quality imaging that can also be found at top breast imaging centers. The mammography unit utilizes advanced digital technology, which means it will be more capable of detecting early signs of breast cancer. With this innovative technology, it will be able to provide exams for up to 50 patients in a day.

Throughout the three event locations, Komen Orange County was able to reach more than a thousand women and provided a total of 142 women with free breast health education and resources to increase early detection. Our mobile unit was again put to use today at an screening event at the Anaheim Whitehouse.

Breast exams and mammography screenings are an important part of your breast health and here at Komen Orange County, we strive to help women in our community be as healthy as possible!

Thank you to all who came out to participate in these screenings! Stay informed about other events with Komen Orange County by checking our website and following us on Facebook and Twitter @komenoc!

Upcoming Events:

November 7 – Free Mammography Screening – Anaheim White House. More information on our website

November 19 – The Cancer Legal Resource Center will be hosting our next breast health education series “What You Need to Know About Health Care Reform.” Check out more details here.