What’s YOUR reason to Race for the Cure?

We all have a reason to Race for the Cure®. On any given day in Orange County, more than five women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and one will die from the disease. Chances are, one of these women is a family member, a friend, or even a colleague of yours. Indeed, breast cancer does not discriminate: It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race and ethnic affiliation, religion, income, and even gender!

Judy’s reason to Race for the Cure is her parents. They were both diagnosed with cancer just 15 days apart during the Summer of 2015, her father with a nasal carcinoma and her mother with breast cancer. Feeling powerless, Judy witnessed them both undergoing treatments and enduring the challenges that come with it. She witnessed the first physical changes in her mom: hair first, then nails, and finally, loss of appetite. She also witnessed her mom’s resilience, her bravery and her resolution while making one of the toughest decisions in her life: getting a single mastectomy.

Judy's dad, mom and her son Jacob at the 2016 Komen OC Race for the Cure

Judy’s dad, mom and her son Jacob at the 2016 Komen OC Race for the Cure

Today, Judy’s parents are cancer free! Since 2015, it has become her family’s tradition to gather at the Race for the Cure as Team Mila. Their reason? Having experienced cancer, they understand that “even the strongest person couldn’t do it alone.” Breast cancer survivors and their families need a support system and Race for the Cure is one way our community can come together and provide this for them.

We invite YOU to be MORE THAN PINK and join us on September 24th at the annual Race for the Cure, to celebrate survivors and pay tribute to those who have lost the battle against breast cancer. Your presence and your engagement means a lot to them. It shows that you care, and it gives them hope. Hope that a world without breast cancer is possible.

Since its inception in 1991, through events like the Komen Orange County Race for the Cure®, Komen OC has invested more than $38 million in community breast health programs and has helped contribute to the more than $920 million invested globally in research. This fiscal year alone, Komen OC assisted more than 16,000 uninsured and underserved Orange County residents with their breast health care needs. Our bold goal is to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent in the next decade. We have no doubt that with your support, we can achieve it!

Whether you’re a runner or a walker, there is something for everyone at Race for the Cure, including two 5K Run/Walks (7:15 a.m. for early risers, and 9:45 a.m.), a One-Mile Fun Walk for families and kids, a Breast Cancer Survivors Tribute, and a Wellness Expo. If you can’t join us in person, you can show support by opting for virtual participation when registering online!

Don’t miss our early bird registration until July 31st! Additionally, if you register today and donate $26, you will receive a limited edition I AM MORE THAN PINK medal. If you’d like to form a team, contact Danielle Hamilton at 714-957-9157 ext. 26 or via email at dhamilton@komenoc.org for useful tips and recommendations.  For more information, visit komenoc.org/race .

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!

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.

Things We Are Thankful For

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we’d like to share the things we are so thankful for. Over the past 25 years, YOU’ve helped us raise nearly $38 million toward the Komen promise, money that was invested to provide breast health services right here in Orange County and help fuel live-saving national research.

Free Mammograms at Northgate Gonzalez Markets

We’re incredibly grateful for our volunteers, you are the lifeline of our organization. Thousands of you donated your time to us this year, helping with outreach education, office-based projects and our signature events such as Race for the Cure® and the Pink Tie Ball. Each of your individual efforts carries forward an immeasurable improvement for the lives of those who are affected by breast cancer.

We’re so thankful for our sponsors, whose support and generosity has been instrumental in our success. We’d also like to thank our donors. Every single dollar raised not only brings us one-step closer to finding a cure, but also improves chances of saving lives through education and a variety of breast health services addressing the needs of the most at-risk populations. In 2016 alone, we were able to award $870,000 in grants to 13 diverse, local organizations in your communities.

Collage with volunteers and supporters

Credit: Susan G. Komen Orange County

We’re thankful for our board of directors. Our members are active and devoted community leaders, their tireless work has enabled us to establish and maintain meaningful and strategic relationships with local partners.

Finally, we’re thankful for our wonderful staff. Your energy, enthusiasm, devotion, love and compassion are one of our most powerful assets in the fight against breast cancer. The journey to the eradication of breast cancer is not an easy one, but your unconditional devotion provides hope that it can be achieved in the near future.

 

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.

Thank you to our valuable volunteers!

Happy National Volunteer Week to all of our dedicated Susan G. Komen Orange County volunteers!  Thank you for your constant support and for being a crucial part of our team. Your unwavering dedication and invaluable donation of your time is a key reason that Komen OC is the strong, longstanding organization that it is today.

Last year alone, we received more than 30,000 hours of in-kind support, and our Race for the Cure teams collectively raised more than $400,000 for local breast health initiatives and global research.

 

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Race for the Cure 2013

 

We still have exciting volunteer opportunities coming up this year, including opportunities to help with Pink Tie Ball on May 10 and preparing for the 2014 Race for the Cure. For more information on how to get involved with Komen OC, email volunteer@komenoc.org.

The Strength Behind the Pink

Photo Credit- OCC School of Photography

Photo Credit- OCC School of Photography

Last weekend marked our 22nd annual Race for the Cure and we wish we could thank each participant individually for their contribution to making the day such a success.

More than 25,000 attendees headed to Fashion Island on Sunday, including Ali Vincent, season five winner of “The Biggest Loser” and host of “Live Big with Ali Vincent,” to celebrate survivors and remember loved ones who have fought breast cancer. With the support of our Orange County community behind us, we raised more than $2 million, and counting, for local breast health services and education as well as groundbreaking global breast cancer research.

As always, our more than 1,200 survivors were the heart and soul behind the event. Their march from the survivor tent to the Survivor Tribute Ceremony was supported not only by their strength, but the compassion from the hundreds of family members and friends who came out to support them. A sea of pink, these women and men sat on the stairs of the Pacific Life Building, and listened to this year’s guest speakers and breast cancer survivors, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens, Ashlea Wright and Georganna Hall-Wadsack, who shared their journeys of how they conquered breast cancer.

Teamland was buzzing with excitement – and ample amounts of coffee – all morning. The Wellness Expo, which lasted until noon, showcased products, local businesses and programs available in Orange County.

In the morning, there were two 5Ks and a One-Mile Fun Run so everyone could walk or run at their own pace and start at their own time. We were touched to see how many people crowded the streets of each race, all there with a single goal in mind, to eradicate breast cancer.

The generous donations of participants and our sponsors: The Allergan Foundation, Chevron, Orange County Register, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, ABC7, Pacific Life, ADP, Fashion Island, MartiniInTheMorning.com, Spa Gregorie’s, 100.3FM The Sound and Yoplait ensure that we will be able to fund local initiatives that will help save Orange County lives over the next year, including the Komen Tissue Bank coming to Orange County in November.

Komen Orange County is still collecting donations now through the end of October in support of the Race for the Cure. Visit www.komenoc.org/race or text KOMENOC to 50555 to contribute.

Upcoming Events:

October 1 – Our Breast Health Education Series continues at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital. The topic being covered is “The Day in the Life of  Cancer Patient in 2025 and will cover the breakthroughs on the horizon in cancer treatment.