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 .

Men in Pink

Komen Orange County may not have Agent J, K and Frank the Pug on its side to pursue its mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever, but it can certainly count on the support of Orange County finest men, the Pink Tie Guys.

For the past 11 years, Komen Orange County has recognized a new class of seven Pink Tie Guys each year, an exclusive group of male advocates committed to the local fight against breast cancer. The 2017-2018 class was honored at Komen Orange County’s annual Pink Tie Ball, hosted at Huntington Beach’s Paséa on May 13. The celebration themed “On the Edge,” raised more than $635,000 to fund the next generation of research and local initiatives to achieve the organization’s Bold Goal, to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026.

Each Pink Tie Guy was presented with a pink tie donated by Macy’s, symbolic of their commitment to raise awareness within the business community in support of Komen’s mission.

photo of the 2017-18 class of Pink Tie Guys

From left to right: Ken Paramo, William Sanderson, Mark Rhee, David Moatazedi, Denis Kalscheur, Michael Ricks accepting for Robert Braithwaite, Ray Baird. Photo credit: Antje Woolum

Here is your chance to learn more about these local philanthropists:

  • Mark Rhee was the 2017 Pink Tie Ball co-chair, with his wife Dr. Jessica Rhee, Komen OC Board member and oncologist at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and UC Irvine Health. Mark’s mother is a breast cancer survivor, and sadly, his mother-in-law lost her battle against breast cancer several years ago. Mark has spent 20+ years in senior finance business operations and development roles in different industries and now is an entrepreneur who owns and operates businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, Los Angeles and Hawaii.
  • Ray Baird, Founding Partner of Branding Business, has been providing pro bono marketing and communication consulting to Komen Orange County for the past year. Ray’s wife is a two-time breast cancer survivor who has been cancer free for 15+ years. His personal experience brought him a deeper understanding of the struggles a woman faces from the moment of diagnosis, through treatment, to reconstruction and beyond.
  • Robert Braithwaite, President & CEO of Hoag Hospital, has been instrumental in providing grants to the Komen Fund providing breast cancer diagnostic procedures for uninsured low-income women. Hoag Hospital’s Community Benefits Program and Hoag Hospital Foundation also have been very supportive of our mobile mammography initiative.
  • Denis Kalscheur, Vice Chairman of Aviation Capital Group, earned his title of Pink Tie Guy by being a Pink Tie Ball Co-chair last year. He used every ounce of business leverage that he possessed to bring the worldwide aviation industry on board to support Komen Orange County’s work.
  • David Moatazedi, Senior Vice President of US Medical Aesthetics at Allergan, recently attended the funeral for his 37-year-old colleague who lost her battle with breast cancer, leaving behind a husband and a 2-year-old son. This was a wakeup call for David who decided to support Komen in its bold goal.
  • Ken Paramo is Brand Manager at Korbel Sparkling Wines for Southern California. Ken and his company, Brown-Forman, have generously donated wine and spirits to KomenOC events, including the past 11 Pink Tie Balls!
  • William Sanderson, Corporate Executive Vice President and CFO at Golden State Foods, recently organized a creative corporate fundraiser. For each member of the management team who wore a pink tie to work, the company donated to Susan G. Komen. The event was a great success and raised a total of $2,400.

Thanks to the support of these gentlemen, and the 70 Pink tie Guys who’ve preceded them, Komen Orange County’s Pink Tie Ball has raised more than $3.6 million over the past decade, with 75 percent funding local programs focused on the breast health needs within the community and 25 percent given to global breast cancer research. Hats off to our very own Men in Pink!

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!

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!

The Damsels of Destruction Demolition Derby Crashes Cars in Support of Breast Health and Early Detection

The donation tent was set up at the front gate before and after the derby.

The donation tent was set up at the front gate before and after the derby.

The crushing of cars met cheers from thousands of spectators at the OC Fair’s Action Sports Arena during the ninth annual Damsels of Destruction Demolition Derby. The OC Damsels took aim and smashed into each other, putting on an exciting show for a nearly sold-out audience. The event raised more than $9,000, benefitting Komen Orange County and local breast health services.

The evening began with a message from Rebecca Hultquist, an eight-year breast cancer survivor and member of Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure Team MDK. Rebecca shared her battle with breast cancer, emphasizing the importance of early detection and Komen Orange County’s mission to serve women and save lives. She concluded the night with a floral presentation to the winner, Talia Feige, along with the nine Damsels. Hultquist, who will serve as a hostess at the survivor tent for the 22nd annual Race for the Cure on September 22, is a frequent presence at Komen Orange County events. Along with her family, both natural and adopted through Komen, she cheered with the crowd as the smoke cleared and Talia’s bright green and pink car ran over the others and succeeded to be the last car… rolling.

survivor, Rebecca Hultquist hands winner, Talia Feige, a congratulatory bouquet.

Survivor, Rebecca Hultquist hands winner, Talia Feige, a congratulatory bouquet.

The night was action-packed, punctuated with dirt flying from the tires, the crushing of metal on metal and with the crowd roaring at the edge of their seats. Everyone in the stands, on the ground and behind the wheels had fun – all for a great cause. We would like to thank each of the daring Damsels: Windy Jones, Shannan Childs, Talia Feige, Tiffany Ortega, Jill Henderson, Jessica Hughes, Rhonda Palmer, Denise Childers, Misti Laverde and Leigh Hansen. We hope you had as much fun driving as everyone in the crowd did watching!

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Survivor Rebecca Hultquist poses with the Damsels after the race

Survivor Rebecca Hultquist poses with the Damsels after the race

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!

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!


Komen Tissue Bank Comes to Orange County for One Day Only

Orange County Komen supporters Angela Acevedo, Charlene Kazner, and Jane Ka’ala travel to the Komen Tissue Bank in Indiana.

Orange County Komen supporters Angela Acevedo, Charlene Kazner, and Jane Ka’ala travel to the Komen Tissue Bank in Indiana.

At Komen Orange County, we’re proud to fund and support studies that result in groundbreaking breast cancer treatments for women and men. One initiative we’ve been working closely on is understanding breast health and healthy breast tissue behavior. That’s where the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at The IU Simon Cancer Center comes in.

On Saturday, November 2 the Komen Tissue Bank is coming to Orange County to host a first-of-its-kind donation drive west of the Mississippi. In order to understand breast cancer, we have to understand normal – to transform the way we do research and increase our knowledge and awareness about the fight against breast cancer.

The Komen Tissue Bank is currently the only repository in the world dedicated to the study and collection of normal breast tissue. While the tissue bank has had much success collecting samples in Indiana, it is lacking some key demographics, from those of high-risk populations. By coming to Orange County, the tissue bank hopes to increase the diversity of tissue samples they currently house.

Recently, Komen Orange County hosted an informational webinar for interested tissue donors. Among those in attendance were three Orange County residents, Jane Ka’ala, Charlene Kazner and Angela Acevedo. The three women shared their first-hand experience as Komen IU tissue donors.

Jane, a 70-year-old retired nurse whose husband is a breast cancer survivor, shared details of her procedure and the ease of the entire process. Angela, a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, has been active with Komen OC since its inception. She went to Indiana to be able to use her experience to encourage others in her community to take part in the tissue bank when it arrives in Orange County. Charlene commented on how organized the tissue bank was and how organization made the entire experience seamless. All three women commended the Komen Tissue Bank on how unobtrusive the procedure was and how little discomfort they felt afterwards. They encouraged those in attendance to sign up and learn more about how they can help as a tissue donor, volunteer or medical assistant.

The tissue bank drive will be held at MemorialCare Medical Group in Fountain Valley on November 2 from 7:30 am- 4:30 pm. For more information and to add your name to the donor sign up list, click here .

Upcoming Events:

August 9th– Damsels of Destruction. Join us at the OC Fair at 8:00 for an all-female car derby sure to be fun for the whole family! Free Fair Admission is included with the ticket price so put on your favorite pink shirt and come over for a fun night that helps benefit Komen OC! To purchase tickets, click here.

August 15th– Susan G. Komen Orange County Breast Health Education Series. Spend the evening with expert, Lisa Curcio, learning how a healthy diet can benefit your health and may reduce the risk of breast cancer. The event will be held from 6:00- 8:00 pm at the Norman P. Murray Center in Mission Viejo. For more information click here.

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!