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.

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.

Inspired to Race for the Cure

Last week, we held our Race for the Cure committee meeting where we talked about event logistics and creative ways to ensure the success of this signature event. At Komen Orange County, we’re always so inspired by the countless number of volunteers who not only donate their time and energy but share our passion toward the fight against breast cancer. That’s why we think this year’s Race theme, “Inspired” is so fitting and we’re inspired by the thousands of women, men and children who come out to celebrate a day that honors those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer.

Thank you to all who have been inspired to Race with us this year. If you haven’t registered for this year’s Race for the Cure on Sunday, Sept. 22, we encourage you to do so today. Join us in support of Komen’s mission to serve people and save lives.

 

Komen 2013 Race for the Cure Committee

 

Upcoming Events:

July 23rd – We’ll have our next Team Captain Kickoff at 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Komen Orange County office, 3191-A Airport Loop Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Learn more about Susan G. Komen Orange County, the upcoming Race for the Cure and fundraising tips while mingling with other team captains.

July 24th – Komen OC in partnership with MemorialCare Medical Group and Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center will host a tissue bank information session from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Learn about the Komen tissue bank drive’s local efforts in Orange County on Nov. 2. This will be the first event of its kind west of the Mississippi!

Celebrating Komen OC’s Survivors

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Thank you to all our family, friends and supporters who celebrated our survivors by walking with Susan G. Komen Orange County at the 2013 Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade.

Nearly 30 survivors, co-survivor family and friends and friends of Komen Orange County were in attendance, painting the street pink in honor of Komen OC’s mission of serving people and saving lives. For most, the color combination of pink with red, white and blue may seem like an unusual pairing, but both represent an emblem of freedom. For those shining bright in pink, the color signified a celebration that recognized survivors and the striving liberation from breast cancer.

In the march celebrating independence,  breast cancer survivors, co-survivors and supporters of Komen OC rallied to walk for breast cancer, which affects one in eight women in her lifetime.

From all of us at Komen OC, we give our deepest thanks to all those who participated.

Upcoming events:

July 10th – Join us at our Komen Education Series at UC Irvine from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The series is free and open to the public and covers breast health care topics including prevention, screening, diagnostics, treatment and survivorship.

Don’t forget! Registration is now open Komen Orange County’s Race for the Cure.

Register today!

Breast Cancer Survivor leads a “Quest” to find a cure as chair of PTB

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Komen OC is incredibly grateful and excited to have Estela Riela as our first-ever breast cancer survivor chair of this year’s Pink Tie Ball. Estela possesses inspirational energy and passion to head up this annual gala fundraising event focused on the promise of a world without breast cancer. She has been an active participant in planning the Pink Tie Ball for the last five years and has been personally touched by Komen.

Currently in her seventh year of survivorship, Estela is co-chairing the event with her husband Sam, who has been her strongest supporter. Estela’s two daughters, Jordana and Jessica with their families, are also helping plan this year’s event and have made it a family affair.

“Sam and I are honored to be part of this year’s Pink Tie Ball. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor with two beautiful daughters. As a mother, all you can ever hope for is that your children grow up to be happy and healthy and that you as a parent can live for many years to be there for them. There were times, not once, but twice, that I worried my girls would grow up without me. I am alive today because of Komen-funded research. I want to raise funds so that every woman, every mother, will have that chance at a long, healthy life,” says Estela.

Nearly 20 years ago, when Estela was in her 40s, she went to the doctor for her routine mammogram and learned she had breast cancer. Her treatment included a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation.

After living cancer-free for more than a decade, Estela visited her doctor for another routine mammogram in 2006 and was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease, right before Mother’s Day. At the time, a new medicine had just cleared trials called Herceptin, a drug that was made available through Komen-funded research and development, which she believes is what ultimately saved her life. She also underwent the three most aggressive forms of chemotherapy and surgery.

As she faced her battle for a second time, Estela knew once she recovered she wanted to help others who are less fortunate fight this disease and help find a cure. Soon after, she became involved with Komen.  We’d like to thank Estela and her family for all of their support over the years and continued dedication to Komen Orange County and the Pink Tie Ball.

The 2013 Pink Tie Ball will be held Lakeside at Lake Mission Viejo on Saturday, May 11. This year’s theme is “Quest” as we all journey together in hopes of finding a cure and ending breast cancer forever. If you’d like more information on attending or volunteering, please call 714-957-9157.