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!

We’re Still on a Mission: Sneak Peek into 2017

In 2016, we celebrated our 25th anniversary. Looking back 25 years, people did not talk about breast cancer although the mortality rate was much higher. Between 1990 and 2013, breast cancer mortality decreased by 37%, the equivalent of nearly 250,000 lives saved. This is incredible progress, but there is more work to be done. Susan G. Komen recently announced its Bold Goal, to cut the mortality rate nationwide by 50 percent in the next decade.

We’re taking on numerous initiatives to reach our Bold Goal, from our signature fundraising events to community outreach programs, and building relationships with local partners. Here are several we look forward to in 2017:

  • Knott’s Berry Farm for the Cure: For the fourth consecutive year, Knott’s Berry Farm will turn pink for several weeks from January to March, in support of breast cancer. Our good friend Snoopy will help us raise funds through the sale of Knott’s Pink Tickets and Knott’s for the Cure Pink merchandise.

Knott's Berry Farm

  • Circle of Promise: While African American women are less likely than Caucasian women to be diagnosed with breast cancer, the mortality rate in Orange County is 41 percent higher. In February, we’ll host a Circle of Promise Day to combat these statistics by hosting a roundtable with influent community leaders.
  • Research Symposium: In February, Komen Orange County will unite leading breast health scientists and specialists who will share their knowledge of breast cancer.
  • Pink Tie Ball: In the past ten years, 4,500+ guests have attended our Pink Tie Ball, helping us raise $3.6 million. In May, we will honor seven new Pink Tie Guys and celebrate their efforts in the community toward the fight against breast cancer.

Pink Tie Ball 2016

  • OC Marathon: On May 7, we’ll be onsite to cheer on and hand out water to the hard working runners. Look for our booth at the finish line, where you can also learn about breast health services!
  • Race for the Cure: Over the past 25 years, 307,000+ people have participated in the Race for the Cure and helped us raised more than $34.5 million. We hope to see you at the starting line!

As you can see, 2017 will be a busy year for us! We hope you’ll join us at one or more of our events and in our mission to fight breast cancer.

Things We Are Thankful For

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we’d like to share the things we are so thankful for. Over the past 25 years, YOU’ve helped us raise nearly $38 million toward the Komen promise, money that was invested to provide breast health services right here in Orange County and help fuel live-saving national research.

Free Mammograms at Northgate Gonzalez Markets

We’re incredibly grateful for our volunteers, you are the lifeline of our organization. Thousands of you donated your time to us this year, helping with outreach education, office-based projects and our signature events such as Race for the Cure® and the Pink Tie Ball. Each of your individual efforts carries forward an immeasurable improvement for the lives of those who are affected by breast cancer.

We’re so thankful for our sponsors, whose support and generosity has been instrumental in our success. We’d also like to thank our donors. Every single dollar raised not only brings us one-step closer to finding a cure, but also improves chances of saving lives through education and a variety of breast health services addressing the needs of the most at-risk populations. In 2016 alone, we were able to award $870,000 in grants to 13 diverse, local organizations in your communities.

Collage with volunteers and supporters

Credit: Susan G. Komen Orange County

We’re thankful for our board of directors. Our members are active and devoted community leaders, their tireless work has enabled us to establish and maintain meaningful and strategic relationships with local partners.

Finally, we’re thankful for our wonderful staff. Your energy, enthusiasm, devotion, love and compassion are one of our most powerful assets in the fight against breast cancer. The journey to the eradication of breast cancer is not an easy one, but your unconditional devotion provides hope that it can be achieved in the near future.

 

We Are More Than Pink

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, join the fight against breast cancer by educating yourself on prevention and detection methods. Recently, we launched our More Than Pink campaign and rallied supporters to take action by making a bigger and bolder impact – to show us they are More Than Pink. Today, Komen represents more than just a color; it represents finding a cure for breast cancer and creating a world where families don’t have to bear the traumatic loss of a grandmother, mother, niece, aunt, daughter or sister to this aggressive and heartbreaking disease.

Breast-cancer-facts

Credit: National Breast Cancer Foundation

Almost everyone has been connected to breast cancer in some way and knows the devastating impact this disease can have on a loved one and his/her family. In the United States alone:

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women (besides skin cancer)
  • There are currently 3 million breast cancer survivors
  • In 2016, nearly 250,000 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 2,500+ in men
  • Every two minutes, one women is diagnosed with breast cancer
  • In 2016, 40,000+ women and nearly 450 men are expected to die from breast cancer
More-than-Pink

Susan G. Komen More Than Pink™

To decrease these upsetting statistics, we need YOU to get involved and be a hero by joining us in this campaign! Our BOLD GOAL to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the United States in the next decade cannot be achieved without the help of the community. Join us by acting, donating and/or getting involved. Every little bit of support will help us get one step closer to reaching our goal. Learn more about our More Than Pink initiative: http://sgk.mn/2d2sE3e.

A Special Valentine’s Day Giveaway: Win Free Tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm!

Copy of KBF_SGKomen_0106

As a part of its two-month partnership with Knott’s Berry Farm, Susan G. Komen Orange County is excited to announce that it is giving away pairs of tickets to California’s best amusement park, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Starting today, we are offering Komen Orange County supporters a chance to win five pairs of tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm. Nothing says romance quite like cotton candy, arcade games and exhilarating rollercoaster rides! In order to enter the contest simply like our Facebook and/or Twitter pages and share and re-tweet the messages below. No need to worry if February 14th has snuck up on you, we could have you covered this year!

Facebook:

  • We are excited to announce a special giveaway to @KnottsBerryFarm, this week only! Be entered to win free #KnottsPink tickets in time for #ValentinesDay, when you LIKE Komen OC’s Facebook page and share this post! #Giveaway

Twitter:

  • Follow @KomenOC and RT to win #KnottsPink tickets in time for #ValentinesDay!

Earlier this month, Knott’s Berry Farm and Komen Orange County announced its partnership and launched with an exciting kickoff event at the famous park with some of our daring breast cancer survivors enjoying a spin on the Pony Express rollercoaster!

During the promotion, which ends March 31, Knott’s Berry Farm is offering a special “pink ticket” at a reduced price, and a portion of the proceeds from tickets and pink merchandise will be donated directly to Komen OC.  At the start of the partnership, Knott’s Berry Farm also committed $50,000 to Komen Orange County, and hopes to give even more by the end of March!

We can’t think of better advocates to have than all of the Peanuts characters — and are grateful to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Knott’s Berry Farm for the support in helping to end breast cancer. Make sure to enter to win the tickets on Facebook and Twitter by Thursday at midnight! The five winners will be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages on Friday.

Copy of KBF_SGKomen_8921

Fighting for a Cure, 365 Days a Year

Battling breast cancer takes strength and courage, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. This year, through admissions from celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Sharon Osborne, we learned that breast cancer can affect anyone. It is what we do when we find out that we are entering into a battle against cancer that can be the greatest determining factor of our success. However, the biggest difference between celebrities and the rest of us, aside from the fame, is the fortune.

Unfortunately, many women struggle to find the funds they need to receive tests and treatments necessary to fight – or prevent – this vicious disease. That’s why we created “Diagnostics 365” – a campaign that was created to fund diagnostic tests like biopsies and ultrasound guided mammograms—that uninsured women need to find out if they have breast cancer.

This year we were given more than $2.1 million to support breast health and cancer programs. At this year’s Grants Award Breakfast, we awarded more than $1 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations who are committed to serving local women in the community in the fight against breast cancer. Programs like these are made possible as a result of the funds donated to our Komen OC affiliate, to ensure life-saving breast health care services are accessible to all women in our community regardless of age, race, orientation or income level.

We are here to make sure than anyone who has 

breast cancer and needs help, gets help”.

  –Sue Parks, 2012 Board President

Last year, we took on the 3200 Mammogram Challenge, and it was wildly successful. We were able to help more than 2,400 women in Orange County alone, receive this vital exam. This year we want to extend another challenge through our Diagnostics 365 initiative. We have already helped more than 700 women in our community receive these diagnostics tests, and we invite you to support women in need for the next 365 days, and for many years to come. For more information on Diagnostics 365 and opportunities to get involved, visit http://ow.ly/s35TH.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Soss, Komen OC Grants Award Breakfast 2013