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  • Bosnia Race for the Cure

    Guest post from Itai Shamir, Program Manager –  International Development Program at American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) who manages the Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP).

    Susan G. Komen for the Cure, JDC and WHEPOn September 24, our Fourth Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure took place in Vilsonovo Setaliste, a beautiful park, in Sarajevo. This has definitely become a tradition here in Bosnia, and was our kick-off event for October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    More than 5,400 people registered for this event, and traveled to Sarajevo from 20 different cities. Some have even traveled as far as 300 miles to participate in the Race, and left their homes very early in the morning to be there by 11:00am.

    Our Race Chair, Danuta Moon, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia, was very helpful with the organization. Especially with the media promotion and with securing the participants of other Embassies including Kuwait, the Embassy of the Palestinian Authority, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Ukraine,  and Croatia, making this event quite global, reminding us that breast cancer is still a global crisis.

    The Embassy of Kuwait, also awarded us with 5,000 Bosnian Marc (about $3,500 U.S. Dollars) that we awarded to 5 local partners in a lottery for various breast cancer programs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Additional local VIPs and governmental representatives participated as well.

    US Ambassador, Patrick Moon, was the key speaker, also acknowledging JDC and Susan G. Komen for their work in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and for the profound impact of our activities on so many women and their families. Additional main speakers included the Mayor of Sarajevo, and Bosnia’s President’s Chief Advisor for International Affairs.

    As always we delivered prizes to the first three runners and prizes to our local partners who have been so prominent in helping us to arrange this Race. The U.S. and Swiss Ambassadors also ran with their security guards, and came in the top 10 runners! All prizes were donated by Samsung Croatia, and additional sponsors like Nestle, provided food and drinks and other small prizes for survivors. We also had a few local stars performing, keeping the crowd very excited and engaged.

    At the end of the Race, we invited all survivors on stage for a photo, in their pink Race t-shirts, giving breast cancer a public image, singing and dancing to I Run for Life by Melissa Etheridge!

    All in all it was a very successful and beautiful event, celebrating life and survivorship as well as honoring those who lost their battle with this disease. The atmosphere was very special, and it warmed my heart to see Bosnians from different cultures and ethnic groups, from all ages, including many mothers and husbands and their children come together in this fight which is still quite a taboo in Bosnia.

    Pictures from the Susan G. Komen Bosnia-Herzegovina Race for the Cure are in the slideshow below.

  • Improving Outcomes in Medically Underserved and Rural Areas

    Susan G. Komen is taking leadership again today in the breast cancer movement with the announcement of a new, multi-year partnership with GE.  Komen Founder and CEO Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker and GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt announced the partnership today, aimed at bringing new technology and innovation to the breast cancer movement to dramatically improve breast cancer outcomes for women in rural areas and developing countries.

    In the U.S., the Komen/GE partnership will start with screening initiatives for Wyoming, one of the least densely populated regions of the country, and to Saudi Arabia and China, with an aim of overcoming medical resource and education issues that may affect screening rates.

    GE also announced a $1 billion cancer research and development commitment, and a $100 million innovation challenge to find and fund ideas for better breast cancer diagnostics.

    Today’s partnership announcement follows our announcement Tuesday of a new partnership with the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. State Department and UNAIDS to bring breast and cervical cancer screening to existing HIV/AIDS platforms in Africa. That program is called the Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon partnership.

    Read more over at the GE Healthymagination Blog.

  • Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon

    During travels in Africa, Komen Founder and CEO Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker visited clinics run by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, and asked herself “Why not add cancer screening to these existing programs for AIDS and HIV?” The question becomes reality today when Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the George W. Bush Institute, UNAIDS, the U.S. State Department and corporate partners announce Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, which adds breast and cervical screening and treatment to existing programs in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.  Former First Lady Laura Bush and Ambassador Brinker appeared with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America today to discuss the need and the hopes for this unprecedented partnership, aimed at reducing deaths from cervical cancer by 25%, greatly expanding breast cancer screening and support services, and introducing screening and treatment models that can be used worldwide.  See the Good Morning America interview below and read the press release here.

     

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  • Focusing on Education in Mexico

    Guest post from Catherine Oliveros, Regional Director of International, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

    Educating future and current medical providers, community health workers and patient navigators.On Friday, August 26th we announced in Monterrey, Mexico the 2011 Caterpillar grantees in the midst of sadness.  The afternoon before the city was victim  to an attack on a casino that resulted in the death of 52 people.   The incident was headline news and brought to Monterrey, President Calderon to show the city’s residents support and solidarity.  And yet, among the turmoil, we proudly announced and highlighted the two new projects that are focused on educating future and current medical providers, community health workers and patient navigators.

    Fundación CIMAB partnering with Fundación Supera will promote breast health awareness in marginalized communities of the Monterrey metropolitan area (MMA), enable women to obtain breast cancer screening services and offer navigation services for women with abnormal screening tests.  The project has an awareness component through radio and television campaigns, however the project mainly aims to train community health promoters as multipliers of breast cancer awareness, and through the use of screening awareness workshops trained promoters will help schedule mammograms for participants not seen on the day of the health campaigns.  Patient navigation will be available to women in order to guarantee access to screening services, diagnosis, and admittance to a cancer institution for treatment in event of positive breast cancer diagnosis.

    Worldwide Hope partnering with Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey will provide six training courses (20 hours total) for medical students about to enter their year of internship and post grad residents on information and standard practices of breast self awareness, diagnosis, treatment and follow up.  The training courses will be offered in collaboration with the School of Medicine (ITESM), which will award academic credits to the attendees, and with the Centro para el Cuidado de Mama (CCM), which will be responsible for conducting the courses.  The program will augment the mere four hours devoted to formal breast cancer education in pre-medical school and 10 hours in the residency program in Mexico.  How amazing that these providers will be trained on Komen’s Breast Self Awareness messaging and the importance of early detection and screening.  Additionally, the project aims to train 100 non-medical community health promoters throughout various communities in Monterrey on breast self awareness so they can train women in their own communities and help move them into action.

    We are so proud of work happening in Latin America thanks to funds made available through the Caterpillar Foundation.  Our next stop – Sao Paulo, Brazil.

  • Our Grants in Mexico

    Guest post from Catherine Oliveros, Regional Director of International, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

    I find myself this week in Monterrey, Mexico – a city recovering from the destruction caused by hurricane Alex a couple years back and where the daily threat of criminal warfare is an ever present reality.  And yet the city is bustling with activity and growth – filled with American enterprise and resilient citizens, moving on with their lives and finding ways to make a difference.  I met yesterday with four amazing survivors from a small NGO called Unidas Contigo or United with You.  Unidas Contigo was started in 2003 by a group of breast cancer survivors , whose mission is to create opportunities for women so that women in their community are educated on breast self awareness and have access to resources available for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.  These beautiful women, one of which is scheduled to start a round of radiation tomorrow, sat around in a circle and shared stories of their families, their disease, and their community.  We laughed and then we cried, as the most recently diagnosed survivor shared how as a volunteer with the group she had just finished an education video on breast self awareness as part of a community project when two weeks later she was told she had breast cancer.  Despite her illness she has not slowed down and she continues to volunteer her time and energy to the education efforts of the group.  Inspirational.

    Today we announce the Caterpillar grantees at a press conference hosted at the School of  Medicine and Health Sciences ITESM and later we will host a roundtable where the Minister of Health from Nuevo Leon will be part of the discussion on the state of breast cancer in Monterrey.  We will be joined by our friends from Caterpillar Mexico and expect to have a wonderful dialogue that will set the stage for the work we will pursue in the next couple of years.

    Stay tuned – I will be reporting on today’s events soon.