Breast Cancer Survivor leads a “Quest” to find a cure as chair of PTB


Komen OC is incredibly grateful and excited to have Estela Riela as our first-ever breast cancer survivor chair of this year’s Pink Tie Ball. Estela possesses inspirational energy and passion to head up this annual gala fundraising event focused on the promise of a world without breast cancer. She has been an active participant in planning the Pink Tie Ball for the last five years and has been personally touched by Komen.

Currently in her seventh year of survivorship, Estela is co-chairing the event with her husband Sam, who has been her strongest supporter. Estela’s two daughters, Jordana and Jessica with their families, are also helping plan this year’s event and have made it a family affair.

“Sam and I are honored to be part of this year’s Pink Tie Ball. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor with two beautiful daughters. As a mother, all you can ever hope for is that your children grow up to be happy and healthy and that you as a parent can live for many years to be there for them. There were times, not once, but twice, that I worried my girls would grow up without me. I am alive today because of Komen-funded research. I want to raise funds so that every woman, every mother, will have that chance at a long, healthy life,” says Estela.

Nearly 20 years ago, when Estela was in her 40s, she went to the doctor for her routine mammogram and learned she had breast cancer. Her treatment included a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation.

After living cancer-free for more than a decade, Estela visited her doctor for another routine mammogram in 2006 and was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease, right before Mother’s Day. At the time, a new medicine had just cleared trials called Herceptin, a drug that was made available through Komen-funded research and development, which she believes is what ultimately saved her life. She also underwent the three most aggressive forms of chemotherapy and surgery.

As she faced her battle for a second time, Estela knew once she recovered she wanted to help others who are less fortunate fight this disease and help find a cure. Soon after, she became involved with Komen.  We’d like to thank Estela and her family for all of their support over the years and continued dedication to Komen Orange County and the Pink Tie Ball.

The 2013 Pink Tie Ball will be held Lakeside at Lake Mission Viejo on Saturday, May 11. This year’s theme is “Quest” as we all journey together in hopes of finding a cure and ending breast cancer forever. If you’d like more information on attending or volunteering, please call 714-957-9157.

Art & Creativity… Painted Voices

With the support of Yardhouse CEO and President Harald Herrmann and artist creator of The Yard House Art Collection Jerome Gastaldi , the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure invited 20 breast cancer survivors,  co-survivors, breast health advocates and supporters to a one-of-a-kind workshop titled,  “Art & Creativity…Painted Voices.” At the workshop, participants were able to express their journey with breast cancer creatively through the painting of canvases. In April, the pieces were  sold in a silent auction at the 2012 Pink Tie Ball, held at Festival of Arts, Laguna Beach, in order to raise funds for the Affiliate’s mission of ending breast cancer forever.

Check out some photos from the workshop!

2012 Pink Tie Ball

On April 21, the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure hosted the sixth annual 2012 Pink Tie Ball at the Festival of Arts grounds in Laguna Beach to raise funds for local breast health services for uninsured and underserved women in Orange County.  Nearly 400 local community and business leaders, breast cancer survivors and breast health advocates joined forces and raised more than $360,000 net—surpassing last year’s fundraising efforts.

Harald Herrmann, President and CEO of Yard House Restaurants, was honored for his many years of ongoing support and dedication to the Affiliate. Herrmann is also a Pink Tie Ball sponsor and founding member of the Pink Tie Guys.

The Pink Tie Ball also introduced a new class of Pink Tie Guys:

  • Bob Abbott (artist known as Jerome Gastaldi), Fine Art Communication Technologies and artist creator for The Yard House Art Collection
  • Glenn Gray, Sunwest Bank Chief Executive Officer
  • Dr. Gary Levine, Hoag Breast Center Director of Radiology
  • John Miller, The Page Group Executive VP and Partner
  • Kenneth McFarland, Mission Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer
  • John E. Stratman, Jr., Kaiser Permanente – Orange County Director of Public Affairs
  • Scott Wheeler, Experian North America Chief Financial Officer

These men will act to promote Komen Orange County’s breast health mission in the business world and local community.

Stay tuned for more details from the Pink Tie Ball!

2012 Pink Tie Ball Chairs John Miller and Marica Pendjer

2012 Pink Tie Ball Co-chairs: Michael and Trish Gustafson and Chereen and Lawrence Pasternack

Harald Herrmann, President and CEO of Yard House Restaurants

Sue Parks, Board President for the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure with the Class of 2011-2012 Pink Tie Guys

Volunteers for Pink Tie Ball

Volunteers assist the caterer at the 2009 Pink Tie Ball.

Want to mingle with the “jet set” at the Pink Tie Ball? If the ticket price of $350 per person is not in your budget, you can participate that night as a volunteer. The gala to benefit the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is coming up on Saturday night, May 15, at the Atlantic Aviation hanger with the theme “Destination . . . Cure.” Volunteer jobs range from transporting materials and décor from the Komen office on Friday, May 14, to helping the caterer prep food at the event, to helping clean up after the ball for all the night owls.

Information for any and all volunteer jobs is available now so you’ll be prepared. A Volunteer Orientation specifically for Pink Tie Ball will be held at the Komen office in Costa Mesa on Thursday, May 6, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Training for food preparation and servers will provided by the caterer, Crème de la Crème. This is your chance to learn from the professionals before your next party at home! The trainings at the Crème de la Crème kitchen in Costa Mesa will be offered on Wednesday, May 5 and Monday, May 10. You must attend one. Those trainings are from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

More information is at and questions and sign ups should be directed to Cindy Brenneman at Thank you for helping Komen keep costs low so more funds from Pink Tie Ball can go into the community and the fight against breast cancer.

Putting Komen in Focus

Komen's volunteer photographer Alireza Alavian.

“The beauty of photography is the relationship you build with your camera that enables you to capture moments, expression, emotions . . . which become memories . . . I find human emotions and their achievements the most inspiring to me when creating pictures.”

That’s what motivates Alireza Alavian to be a photographer. Since the Komen Orange County Affiliate witnesses and produces emotions all year long, it is a perfect match that Alireza has become a volunteer photographer, offering to capture and record events all this year. He’s already photographed several office events and the MasCUREade celebration and Pink Tie Ball Sponsor Reception in March. “I wanted to do something that would result in more awareness” of breast cancer, he said.

“As a photographer I tend to pay attention to details and relationships . . . and the same goes for the events I have covered so far for Susan G. Komen. At every event I have covered from large to small, I can say the staff and volunteers are simply giving to this cause with their hearts and so much love and care, “ Alirreza says. “I can simply say that it feels so great to be a small part of this group and it’s an honor to be able to give back.”

Alireza, who has been passionate about photography for years, has volunteered for other organizations, too. You can see his work at Look for him at Komen events and say hello. If you’d like to be a Komen volunteer, the latest opportunities are listed at

Pink Tie Ball to Soar

An elegant party is scheduled to take off on Saturday, May 15 at the Atlantic Aviation hangar at John Wayne Airport and you are invited. “Destination Cure” is the theme for the 2010 Pink Tie Ball to benefit the Komen Orange County. The unique setting at the private hangar is perfect to represent Komen’s worldwide search for the cure for breast cancer.

Guests will begin the evening in the open air hangar while the sun sets. After the reception — which includes food, champagne, silent auction and Parade of Art — the guests will move to the decorated dining area for a gourmet dinner by Crème de la Crème, dancing, a Live Auction and other entertainment.

If you are unable to attend, you can participate through the Keys of Hope or Ignite Your Promise.  Keys of Hope is an opportunity drawing for a necklace valued at $8,000 and donated by Black, Starr & Frost. You can purchase a vintage-style key for $100 – each key gives you an opportunity to win. Ignite Your Promise is a monthly philanthropic gift to Komen Orange County. You select the level — $25, $50, $100 or more – each month for the next year. In appreciation of each annual donation of $300 or more, Yard House Restaurants will give the donor a Yard House gift card worth $25 per month for the full year.

Pink Tie Ball tickets are $350 per person. To purchase tickets or be part of Keys of Hope or Ignite Your Promise, call Tami Thompson, Komen’s Director of Development, at 714-957-9157 x 27 or email her at

Volunteer Night April 14

Join the Komen family as a volunteer.

No one has more fun, or personal fulfillment, than a Komen for the Cure volunteer. Don’t believe us? Find out yourself on Wednesday, April 14th at the 2010 Volunteer Orientation at the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The orientation will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the office in Costa Mesa.

New volunteers are required to attend before helping at an event, and returning and veteran volunteers are always welcome. There are opportunities for everyone, from office duties to working at events, to loading trucks to making phone calls and using your professional skills. When you volunteer at Komen Orange County, you become a vital partner in the fight to end breast cancer forever. Volunteers help Komen to keep down costs so more dollars are spent on mammograms and other life-saving work in the community.

Two  upcoming volunteer opportunities include the Pink Tie Ball on May 15 and Race for the Cure on September 26. Other volunteer needs for April and May include health fairs and the Wacoal Fit for the Cure. More information is available at

RSVP for the Orientation by phone to 714-957-9157 ext. 31, or to Cindy Brenneman at Bring a friend, or come and meet a new one. Welcome to the Komen family!