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!

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!

Be Bold and Join Us in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

At Susan G. Komen® Orange County, one trait we share with our survivors is that we are fighters, we’re not afraid to take on any challenges: the BOLDER, the better! In October, we announced our bold goal for the next decade: to cut the number of deaths from breast cancer (40,000 per year in the U.S. alone) by 50 percent in the next ten years.  Simultaneously, we launched our nationwide More Than Pink movement to redefine the color pink – from a symbol of awareness to a symbol of action!  Today, we want to offer you a chance to become More Than Pink. The Orange County Marathon has made us one of its charity partners and we would love for you to join Team Komen!

The 2017 OC Marathon will take place on Sunday, May 7 with the 5K on Saturday, May 6. Runners can chose between a marathon, a half-marathon, a 5K, and for the first time, the Combo Crush, an option to register to run the 5K and the full or half marathon. By joining Team Komen, participants commit to running the OC Marathon (full, half, combo crush or even the 5K option alone) in support of Susan G. Komen® Orange County by raising funds toward the fight against breast cancer through the Run For Free for A Cause. Through this option, you can raise money for Komen Orange County and run for free! Here are the fundraising level options:

komen_ocmarathon_incentive-program_2017

If you join our team, you’ll be part of a group who share the same motivation and enthusiasm, and who is committed to improving breast health in our community.  Our More Than Pink rally cry is defined as follows:

  • We’re Bold and Courageous: we believe in pushing our limits and challenging the status quo, while always putting health – ours and the people we’re serving – first.
  • We’re Tenacious, once we’ve set our mind on a goal, nothing can stop us.
  • We’re Fearless and never shy away from difficult situations.
Photo of 2016 Komen OC water station

2016 Komen Orange County water station

Contact us at 714-957-9157 ext. 30 or jcozort@komenoc.org to learn more and join Team Komen.

If you would like to sign up, go to www.ocmarathon.com and select Run for Free for A Cause in 2017. You’ll be able to set up your fundraising page through Crowdrise, using the information you entered for previous races to populate your profile. Also, if you fundraise $125 by Friday, January 27th, you’ll be entered to win a free entry for someone else.

Komen Orange County’s Holiday Jingle, the Gift that Keeps on Giving, All Year Long!

Some of our inspiring employees singing our jingle for the GroundWork group crew.

Some of our inspiring employees singing our jingle for the GroundWork group crew.

Here at Komen Orange County we do our best to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape. With that said, we are very pleased to announce our place as a finalist in the Orange County Groundwork group’s Nonprofit CreativITy Awards, which recognizes nonprofits using innovative strategies to advance their mission.

We were recently nominated for our star-studded, viral, holiday jingle  and couldn’t be more proud of the response it’s received from Groundwork group Orange County  and from our social media communities. In partnership with our public relations firm, HKA Marketing Communications, we were able to create a video that communicated a serious message about the importance of mammograms – and in a fun way – to raise much needed funds during a critical time of the year.

For many years we’ve been at the forefront of providing life-saving care for women in need and are now advancing this mission by embracing all aspects of technology. Now, through innovations like our holiday jingle, technology-friendly platforms, like our mobile fundraising app or our text-to-donate number (KomenOC to 50555 to donate $10), we’ve been able to expand our public outreach to increase breast cancer awareness and education within the community and beyond.

As a finalist, we hosted representatives from the Groundwork group Orange County at our Costa Mesa office this week to film a short video about our vital work and how we’ve been using technology to raise awareness and funds to benefit women and men in our community. As part of the video, some of our musically-gifted and inspiring colleagues sang the creative jingle and joined the process with the crew filming the submission. The video will be up later this month on Groundwork group’s website. Stay tuned to learn more about what went into making the jingle and how Komen Orange County is keeping at the forefront of technology to make our message of education and awareness available across different platforms of media!

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!

October 1st – We will be hosting a talk in our Breast Health Education Series that will afford attendees a peek into what a day in the life of a breast cancer patient may look like in the year 2025. To register or get more information visit our event website.


Orange County Survivors and Advocates Celebrated at Komen Orange County Awards Luncheon

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Three strong and inspirational individuals were recognized at the 2013 Komen Orange County Survivor Celebration and Awards Luncheon  on August 11 , in addition to the many more being celebrated throughout the day. As in years past, this is always a wonderful event where we can give back to inspiring survivors, co-survivors and advocates from within the Orange County community.

Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens, who, in October of 2012 announced her diagnosis with Stage III breast cancer, gave a speech that was inspiring, emotional and humorous. We are so grateful to her for coming out and sharing her experiences and stories with the award recipients and all those in attendance. This was the first event where she shared her deeply personal story and she did it in a way that touched us all.

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Three honorees were awarded Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor, Most Inspirational Co-Survivor and Outstanding Breast Health Advocate.

The Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor recipient was Huntington Beach resident Georganna Hall Wadsack who, when diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 as a 38-year-old single mother, was able to benefit from programs put in place by Komen Orange County which helped in both her diagnosis and treatment. She has since been married and invested herself in Komen Orange County by taking part in many events. She spoke during the Survivor Tribute at last year’s Race for the Cure and volunteered at Stand Up for the Cure which, with the help of Georganna and other volunteers, raised more than $100,000 last year! Georganna will be joining the advisory board for 2014’s Stand Up for the Cure.

The Most Inspirational Co-Survivor recipient was Aliso Viejo resident, Melissa McGee, who has been affected by the disease three times by supporting and caring for her two friends and mother who had breast cancer. Melissa is also the person responsible for bringing to life the ever-inspiring Susan’s Gardens Posters that decorate the Race for the Cure path each year. She creates and hangs each poster on race day in memory and recognition of loved ones who have fought the disease (The deadline to purchase your order is Sept. 4th)

The Outstanding Breast Health Advocate recipient, Angela Acevedo, got involved with Komen Orange County after recognizing a need for community outreach and education with Latinas through her work at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She identified a need in a high-risk population and goes above and beyond her call of duty as a nurse navigator. Not only does she help those with breast cancer navigate what can be a confusing landscape of health care, but she also volunteers her time to Komen Orange County events, even going as far as traveling to Indiana to donate her own breast tissue at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at IU Simon Cancer Center in Indiana

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Thank you to everyone who attended this wonderful event. Komen Orange County is proud to honor individuals leading the charge toward furthering breast health education and energizing science for the cure.

For more information about Komen Orange County, visit us at http://www.komenoc.org, or text “News” to 50555 for mobile updates . You can also text “KomenOC” to 50555 to donate to local breast health services and education in Orange County.

Upcoming Events:

August 24th Join us for our last Team Captain Kickoff before the race! Come meet other team captains, learn effective ways to fundraise, and about all the race day logistics!

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!

Enter to Win a Pink Prize Package for Race for the Cure

Happy Friday to our Komen OC community! Tomorrow, Saturday, August 3 marks 50 days until the 22nd annual Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure!

As a way to say “thank you” to our wonderful and supportive community, we’re launching an interactive contest on Twitter this weekend only and will give away a pink prize package, perfect for Race prep.

We’re hoping that if you haven’t already, you’ll REGISTER for Race for the Cure and let everyone know! If you already registered, GREAT! We hope you’ll make at least a $22 donation (and let us know)! That way, you’ll be entered to win!

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Just follow the steps below:

1.       Follow us on Twitter @KomenOC:

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2.       Check our Twitter page after 9:22 a.m. on Saturday, August 3rd  to uncover the UNIQUE hashtag to use in order to win!

3.       Register for the Race, or make a donation of at least $22, between 9:22 a.m. on Saturday and 12:00 p.m. on Monday.

Then… PROVE IT!

4.       Take a screen shot of your proof of registration, like this:

proof of registration

Or of your confirmation email, like this:

 confirmation email

Or even this:

 confirm

Just some form of proof that you registered or donated to Race for the Cure this weekend!

                 How do you take a screenshot? It’s easy:

·         On a Mac: hit Command + Shift + 3 on your keyboard- now it’s in a png. file on your desktop!

·         On a PC: hit the Print Screen/ Sys RQ button on your keyboard – now you can paste it in a document!

·         On an iPhone: Hold down the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time and release them- now you have an easily uploadable shot

5.       Tweet the screenshot using the unique hashtag that we will reveal this weekend on  our KomenOC Twitter  page.

·         An example of a tweet could be:  “I just registered for Race OC #??? With only 50 days left, you should too!”

6.       Enjoy the rest of your weekend and check back Monday night, when we announce the winner via Komen’s Facebook and Twitter pages!

   We know that the anticipation to see whether you won will be very exciting, so to pass the time, get outside this weekend and start training for the Susan G. Komen Orange County’s Race for the Cure. After all, now you’re registered and only have 50 days until the race!

   Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the special hashtag and to receive updates on what is going on with Komen Orange County!

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 supporting Komen OC.

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 that will discuss known risk factors for breast cancer, and provide screening recommendations and risk reduction strategies at St Jude’s Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness in Brea.