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!

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!

Picture 006Picture 008

Just follow the steps below:

1.       Follow us on Twitter @KomenOC:

twitpic

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.

Komen OC’s Top 10- Thank You Team ADP

Many of us who stay up late, either every night or just every once in a while, get a smile out of David Letterman’s Late Show “Top 10 List” skits. Well, Komen OC decided to put together its own “Top 10 List” as a thank you to one of our top fundraising teams for the 2012 Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure campaign. Team ADP, comprised of 171 team members, raised $88,185 to help serve women and men save lives!

Now, imagine a drum roll performed by an orchestra drummer as you read these in reverse countdown order: the TOP TEN ways ADP’s fundraising dollars (and yours) are helping women and men right here in Orange County.

Image

Number 10!

Komen funded mammograms

Number 9!

Breast Core Biopsies through Komen OC’s own breast health fund

Number 8!

Diagnostic Breast MRIs through Komen OC’s own breast health fund

Number 7!

Living expenses paid for four women going through breast cancer treatment, through Komen OC’s community grantee, Breast Cancer Solutions

Number 6!

Screening for 30 Latino high-risk women through mobile mammography at an event via Northgate Gonzalez Markets

Number 5!

Outreach for 59 women at a mobile screening mammography event via YWCA grantee

Number 4!

25 percent contribution to the Komen National Award and Research Grant Program

Number 3!

Banners for a multi-ethnic street banner awareness campaign

Number 2!

Breast diagnostic care for 184 uninsured women, many under the age of 40, through Komen OC’s fund for breast health care

AND

Number 1!

705 potentially life-saving mammograms facilitated for a grand total of $88,185!  That’s an average of FOUR mammograms per team member!

We would conclude with a round of applause, thank you to the Team ADP and brief performance by the band- a pop song on mammograms.

Here is the breakdown:

10. $125 = Komen funded mammogram

9. $691 = Breast core biopsy through Komen’s own breast health fund

8. $1,200 = Diagnostic breast MRI also through Komen’s own breast health fund

7. $2,424 = Living expenses of four women going through breast cancer treatment, through Komen OC’s community grantee Breast Cancer Solutions

6. $3,390 = Screening for 30 Latino high-risk women through mobile mammography events via Northgate Gonzalez Markets

5.  $4,848 = Outreach to 59 women at a mobile screening mammography event via YWCA grantee

4.  $22,046 = 25 percent contribution to the Komen National Award and Research Grant Program

3.  $30,600 = 255 banners for a multi-ethnic street banner awareness campaign

2.  $50,048 = Breast diagnostic care for 184 uninsured women, many under the age of 40, through Komen’s fund for breast health care

1.  705 potentially life-saving mammograms facilitated for a grand total of $88,185!

Save the date for the 2013 Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure

September 22, 2013!