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!

Team Brutus, ‘Brave and Bold’ for a Cure

Orange County is a long way from Ohio, and you won’t find many references to Brutus, the mascot of the Ohio State University varsity teams. But one team participating in the annual Komen Race for the Cure has deep roots in Ohio and a particular fondness for a mascot named Brutus.

Team Brutus is one of hundreds of teams getting ready to lace up their sneakers to raise money and awareness on Sunday, Sept, 22, in Newport Beach. Christie Brockhage, a well-known marketing professional in OC, tells us what her team is all about.

Christie and Laura Stofko met their freshman year at Ohio State University and spent their years at OSU building a foundation for a friendship that would last a lifetime. Ironically, after graduation, both women ended up living and working in Atlanta. After a few years, Christie left and settled in Orange County, when she received a call from Laura, who, as fate would have it, was also moving to Orange County with her husband and three daughters! The two faithful OSU fans shared a friendship that spanned decades and thousands of miles, and developed a bond that no distance could touch.

Christie Brockhage & Laura Stofko on race day

Christie Brockhage & Laura Stofko on race day

Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer at only 38 years old. She fought hard for 10 years with the support of her loving husband, three daughters and wonderful friends like Christie. More than three years ago, in the midst of her battle with cancer, Christie and Laura decided to start a Komen Race for the Cure team. Team Brutus was born out of the desire to increase awareness of breast cancer and to celebrate Laura’s life. She saw her team cross the finish line that first year, but unfortunately lost the battle before last year’s race. Team Brutus celebrated her spirit, and will continue to honor her memory at this year’s race and in years to come. Like the OSU fight song encourages, Team Brutus will be participating in the race with the theme “Warriors for the Cure, Brave and Bold,” inspired by their team captain Laura.

Most people involved in Komen Orange County, and in the annual Race for the Cure, have been touched in some way by breast cancer. Some teams have members that have fought, or are currently fighting, the disease; others are inspired to start a team in honor of someone near and dear who lost a battle. Some teams are inspired by the mission to save lives and educate, and through the course of inspiring events and amazing stories shared in our community, are touched on a deeper level.

Team Brutus

Team Brutus

Christie Brockhage’s team is just one example of a group rallying around and honoring the memory of a beloved friend and family member. We know that there are many other touching stories that inspire teams to walk and run. We would like the Komen OC community to share stories of why they race, who they race for and what keeps them inspired throughout race season. Share your story in the comments section below and read about what, or who, inspires others to Race for the Cure.

To Team, or Not to Team, That is the Question

A few members of Chapman University's first year team, The Argyros Panthers.

A few members of Chapman University’s first year team, The Argyros Panthers.

There’s no wrong way to support Komen Orange County’s mission to educate and save lives, but there are choices when it comes to participating in the 22nd Annual Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure. Whether you choose to join a team, race as an individual, or volunteer on race day you will be contributing to saving lives. This year we are excited to have a number of passionate first-year participants, like Chapman University’s Argyros Panthers team spearheaded by their MBA Alumni Association and in honor of two faculty members who have battled breast cancer. For those who don’t already know, we’re happy to shed some light on what is expected of a team, how to start one, and how to meet specific team goals!

1.      Pick a team captain. Your team captain should be someone who is committed to the Komen Orange County mission of increasing education and saving lives, and to making your team a success! They should be organized and able to inspire participation through leading by example, which means having the ability to answer questions and encourage the team to be active in fundraising, leading up to the race, and participating on race day!

2.      Come up with a creative team name and register. Whether you want to be funny, inspiring or representative of your company’s participation during the race make sure you pick a team name that your team members and donors will remember. Chapman University is keeping their school spirit alive by naming their team the Chapman Argyros Panthers and friend and family teams often come up with names to honor the person who inspired their team to Race for the Cure. Or come up with a team name that will inspire a chuckle when others walk by your tent in Teamland. Once your team is named, you can register on the Komen Orange County website.

3.      Fundraise, Fundraise, Fundraise! The Race for a Cure is a moving event that inspires hope and action from a whole community through its participants, but it’s important to keep in mind that the goal of the race is not only to inspire, but also to put that inspiration to work by raising funds for community programs that help women and men and save lives. Komen Orange County offers mammograms, diagnosis and treatment programs to people who would otherwise be ineligible to receive such care. By fundraising with a team, every single team participant is directly affecting the treatment and diagnosis available to members in our community who are fighting breast cancer. Many teams, like Ware Malcomb Warriors host a number of fundraising events leading up to the race, which they promote on their Facebook and Twitter pages. For other fundraising tips and ideas, or to see if your team is a top fundraiser visit the Komen OC Race for the Cure website.

4.      Set Goals. At Komen Orange County we challenge every participant to raise $125, the cost of one mammogram, but every bit of participation helps. Each team should set clear goals, whether they are monetary or participatory, the team participants should know what is expected of them, so create goals that will get participants excited!

5.      Teamland. Teamland is a great place for your team to meet before the race, grab some breakfast and gather support for each other at the start of race day. It’s also a place to celebrate or remember the people that have inspired your team to raise and gain emotional momentum that will last the whole day! Reserve your spot in Teamland by September 6.

6.      Race Day.  Many teams show their spirit by coordinating their gear, having shirts made, or just picking some fun accessories that are sure to stand out. Team watching on race day is part of the fun and a lot of teams flex their creative muscle when coming up with their race day attire! There are three different race times for teams to participate; we encourage everyone to participate in whichever race works best for them. Throughout the day there are a number of other events recognizing survivors, or remembering loved ones no longer with us.

Race Day Participants show their spirit at the 2012 Race

Race Day Participants show their spirit at the 2012 Race

We would love to hear from our established or new teams in the comments section. Share with us what works for you leading up to the race or any information you think 2013 teams should know!

Check our detailed race day schedule for all the events happening on September 22 and we look forward to seeing everyone then!

Upcoming Events:

September 22nd – The 22nd annual Komen Orange County Race for the Cure will be held at Fashion Island. If you haven’t registered yet, click here to join a team, start your own, or just support the race! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the starting line!

Team Captain Kickoffs Bring Team Captains, Old and New, Together for Inspiration

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On Tuesday, we hosted another Team Captain Kickoff event and the turnout mimicked our community: strong. We were happy to welcome captains from a number of our Race teams to our OC office for a fun, informative planning session that was rife with tips, information on the programs we fund, suggestions for fundraising and race day logistics from successful Komen OC teams from past races.

The information was interesting and abundant, but our team captains and supporters gave our mission heart. In keeping with the theme Inspired, our team captains in attendance shared their own inspirations for participating in the race and how their lives have been affected by breast cancer and touched by Komen Orange County. There were tears, laughter and support for each other — and these team captain kickoffs speak to what amazing participants we have.

The captains were introduced to our T-shirt design for this year’s race, and were provided with a number of pamphlets and materials to distribute to their team members. Our veteran captains were eager to share tips on what has worked for them in the past, and our freshman captains were enthusiastic to take it all in and expressed any concerns or questions they had.

Here are a few great fundraising tips shared by our Race captains:

  • Host a community car wash to raise awareness and support for your race team
  • Post Komen logos with the name of race participants and hang them throughout your office to let everyone know who is involved with the race
  •  Bake Sales can include all ages, can be done at work or socially and serve as a delicious way to increase awareness for your team the race (and gives you another reason to run or walk that 5K on Sept 22!)
  • Dress Down for Donation Day at work has worked for corporate teams in the past. They’ve charged $5 for the comfort of a dress down day and donated the money to the team’s funds        
  • Reach out to your friends on your favorite social network by posting a link on your wall that will bring friends directly to your personal fundraising page where they can leave an inspiring message and donations

We would love to hear what has worked for you or what you are planning for this year, in the comments section of this post. Together we can make this year’s Race event a huge success to support Komen’s mission to serve people and save lives!

Upcoming Events

August 5th – The 11th annual Red White and Greens Charity Golf Classic participants will be held at Aliso Viejo Country Club. Participants will take part in breakfast, a scramble golf tournament, wine and food tastings every 3 holes, auctions that cover a variety of prizes, and a chance to spend the day with the wonderful Komen OC community.

August 6th – As a continuation of our Breast Health Education Series, there will be a presentation on “Demystifying Breast Cancer” by a dynamic team of cancer experts will discuss known risk factors for breast cancer, and provide screening recommendations and risk reduction strategies at St Judes Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness in Brea.

Team Captains Ready to Race

On Tuesday, June 19, Susan G. Komen Orange County hosted team captains at the Race for the Cure Team Captain Kickoffs. As teams helped raise about 50 percent of the 2011 Race for the Cure’s revenue, group efforts are key in the organization’s goal of serving women and saving lives.

Two kickoff events, one at noon and one in the evening, allowed captains to not only learn more about the Race for the Cure and understand the impact of donations, but also share ideas to fundraise. From simple conversation to using a jar to collect change, these teams are inspiring one another and others in the community in the fight to end breast cancer forever. Team captains also received brochures and other collateral in order to spread the breast health mission and to create more buzz about their own teams.

It’s never too late to sign up your team for this year’s Race! Early bird registration is still available for a discounted rate of $30 and fees will go up June 30.

The next Team Captain Kickoffs are:

  • July 26, 12 p.m. or 6 p.m., at the Komen Orange County Office
  • August 25, 10 a.m., at the South Coast Collection Registration Suite

To reserve your spot for one of those dates, email teams@komenoc.org.

Kruisin for Komen

Steve Churm, Publisher of OC Metro is “Kruisin for Komen” this month to celebrate breast cancer awareness. He has teamed up with Spa Gregories for a promotion benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Spa Gregories will be selling raffle tickets through Nov. 7, with all proceeds going donated to Komen OC.

If Spa Gregories reaches its goal of $15,000 in ticket sales, Steve has promised to go pink from head to toe when he broadcasts the OC Metro Minute on Nov. 8. So please tell everyone know to buy a ticket!

But that’s not all….

Steve will be riding all over Orange County over the next few weeks on a fabulous pink scooter that you could win in the hottest charity raffle this year. The first person to guess correctly where he is each time Spa Gregories makes a post will win one $20 entry ticket into the raffle, which is packed with amazing prizes such as:

A 2-night stay at Ritz Carlton

A 3-day, 2-night stay for two at Oaks at Ojai

A 3-day, 2 night stay for two at Red Mountain

Spa Gregories/Hilton Del Mark Escape to Del Mark Package

Cortright Cruises Duffy Christmas Boat Parade (Newport Beach)

Much, much more!

Raffle tickets are one for $20, two for $30 and seven for $100 and can be purchased at any Spa Gregories location or online at SpaGregories.com.

OC legislators support the Race for the Cure

Members of Congress Loretta Sanchez and Ed Royce and Steve Spernak, and policy advisor representing the office of Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, presented plaques acknowledging the work the Affiliate has done over the last 20 years. The plaques were presented in acknowledgement of the work done to provide outreach and education on breast health/cancer, as well as to help Orange County women find access to screening, diagnostics and support.

State Senator Lou Correa provided a resolution signed by all state senators and assembly members representing Orange County.  We are truly thankful to have such strong supporters of our breast health initiatives at the local, state and national level, especially during these challenging economic times.