Celebrating Hope in North Texas
Guest post from Hannah Beaty, Marketing & Communications Manager, Susan G. Komen North Texas Affiliate.
The Susan G. Komen North Texas Celebration of Hope is an event where we honor survivors in North Texas, remember those who have lost their battle, and look forward to a new year of serving the North Texas community.
The day kicked off with a Health & Lifestyle Expo. Health care providers, spas, wig shops, and more joined our 2014-2015 Community Grants Recipients to display their products and services for our attendees to view.
The program began with a welcome from Komen North Texas and its Local Presenting Sponsor (and longtime sponsor of Survivor Programs at the Plano Race for the Cure), Alcatel-Lucent. After brunch was served came the highlight of our event – a fashion show featuring 12 incredible women who reflect the diversity and strength of North Texas breast cancer survivors. These women – mothers, sisters and friends – have all inspired hope within our Affiliate and throughout the community. “It was one of the most memorable events in my life!” said model Lisa Sun. Melissa Holder, another model, said “I know it took almost three years to talk me into doing this, but I am so glad you did!”
Following the fashion show, we were pleased to present “Komen In Action,” a segment which illustrated the work Komen is doing to combat breast cancer on all fronts: global programs, public policy, research, and community health.
Komen’s Chief Mission Officer, Chandini Portteus, spoke about the impact Komen has had on the face of breast cancer. “When our organization first began, the word ‘breast’ wasn’t even used – breast cancer was referred to as ‘women’s cancer,’” Portteus explained. “Today, with our advancements in treatment and early detection, early-stage cancer has a 99 percent survival rate.”
It’s thanks to early detection and advances in treatment that we can report such impressive and important information, but not everyone has access to screening, treatment or support services. In North Texas, our Affiliate works to serve nearly 1.75 million individuals, investing over $10 million in the North Texas community alone since our Affiliate’s inception in 1991.
And our work continues. We were pleased to introduce our 2014-2015 community grants recipients to attendees, and showcase the impact of our investments from the previous year. Thanks to support from the North Texas Community, over 2,200 North Texans received clinical breast exams, mammograms, and diagnostic services; more than 6,000 North Texans received breast health education; and more than 80 North Texans received treatment assistance. This year, we will be investing $500,000 in four local organizations providing lifesaving breast health education, screening, treatment, and patient services to the underinsured and uninsured men and women in North Texas.
But our work in North Texas goes even further, into programs like Teens for the Cure, Voices of Hope Survivor Choir, Education Committee, and more. Our Teens for the Cure provides middle and high school students the opportunity to plan and execute service projects benefitting Survivors, learn more about Komen’s mission, and become proactive and empowered when it comes to their own health. The Voices of Hope Survivor Choir is not only a beautiful collection of voices, but they also provide support and inspiration to each other and our community at every performance. Our Education Committee provides strategic direction for the ways in which we engage and serve our vulnerable populations.
The inspiring morning wrapped up with a Survivor recognition ceremony where we began by recognizing men and women who have died from breast cancer, while the Voices of Hope sang “Wind Beneath My Wings.” We were also delighted to recognize both the longest survivor, with 39 years of survivorship, as well as the youngest survivor, with two months of survivorship.
In total, there were 1,518 years of survivorship in the room, giving each of us all the more reason to continue this critical work and to keep celebrating hope.
About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.