Guest post by Jerome Jourquin, PhD, Scientific Grants Manager, Michelle Martin-Pozo, PhD, Manager, Scientific Grants, and Ami Patel, Research Project Manager.
On a cold but sunny Saturday in late October, the Volunteer State added a new color to its beautiful Autumn hues: pink. From Memphis in the West, to Knoxville in the East, Susan G. Komen Races for the Cure in Tennessee were about to start, celebrating breast cancer survivorship while also honoring those who lost their battle with the disease. Meanwhile, unknown to the several thousand gathered at the starting line, the participants and spectators to the Greater Nashville Race for the Cure were about to become part of a unique and never-before-accomplished milestone.
Like many other places in the country, Nashville is armed with dedicated Affiliate staff and passionate volunteers. It is also a city that we, Mission Team members Jerome Jourquin and Michelle Martin-Pozo, both proudly call home. Joined this year by our Mission colleague from DC, Ami Patel, we geared up to welcome Race participants and provide information about Komen’s Research Programs, while also partnering with the Affiliate staff and the local Race Committee to highlight Komen-funded scientists.
“My first four 3-Day walks were in Michigan – but I knew from the very first walk that I wanted to do all 14 in one year. That year was 2012, and what a year it was.”
“It’s more than just walking – when you’re sharing 60 miles over three days, there’s an incredible camaraderie that’s established. There’s a saying about the 3-Day: ‘You’re never alone unless you want to be.’”
They say a journey begins with a single step. More than five million steps later, I’m still walking in the journey to fight breast cancer – and I’ll keep walking until we find the cures! When I lost my first wife to breast cancer in 1999, I decided immediately that I wanted something positive to come out of that, so I donated money to her hospital, the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, with the requirement that they buy a bed for every room so that caregivers could stay with their loved ones. And I kept looking for other ways to give back.
Scientific Advisory Board Member Amelie Ramirez Presents Komen-Funded Research At International Conference
I recently had the privilege of attending and presenting my Susan G. Komen-funded research on boosting Latina breast cancer survivorship through Patient Navigation at the 5th International Cancer Control Congress (ICCC) on Nov. 3-6, 2013, in Lima, Peru.
As a member of Komen’s Scientific Advisory Board, I was excited to be among the more than 400 health researchers and community leaders from throughout the world came together for this important meeting. Dr. Simon Sutcliffe of Vancouver, Canada, president of the ICCC and chair of the international steering committee, cited five key drivers for the group:
• improving human development;
• mobilizing a societal response to reduce cancer and other non-communicable diseases;
• improving population health;
• improving cancer treatment, management and care; and
• ensuring effective transfer of knowledge into action at a population level.
In 2008, we were very proud to have expanded the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® series beyond its domestic Komen Affiliate network by establishing successful partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations from around the world. The International Race series has changed the way communities around the world view and react to the words “breast cancer” and how breast cancer survivors are regarded in their respective countries.
While each International Race is unique, they all have the common goal of increasing breast cancer awareness, providing a sense of hope and community to those who have suffered from the disease and educating the public and local governments about breast health. Race events create a positive environment in which breast cancer is put in the public eye. Despite local taboos, we have seen the power of women around the world breaking the silence about breast cancer. On Race day, brave survivors acknowledge their disease and continue to dispel myths about breast cancer, serving as ambassadors for the cause. As a result, other survivors feel hopeful and women are empowered to take control of their health.
As Komen is now in the middle of our 2014 Application and Review cycle for new Research grants, we wanted to take a moment to highlight one of our Advocate reviewers, and her impressions of taking part in Peer Review meetings back in February of 2013 that helped to decide our new 2013 Research Grant slate.
Guest post by Komen Advocates in Science Member Mildred (Millie) Garcia.
I have served as an advocate and scientific reviewer for Komen in many areas of health disparities, including Career Catalyst, Investigator Initiated Research, and Post Doctoral Fellows Programs. I have been active with the Komen Advocates in Science (KAIS), serving on the selection committee for initial members, as mentor to new members, and on the KAIS Communications Working Group.
My efforts as an advocate focusing on health and education have allowed me to participate in many interesting and exciting activities, including the opportunity to serve as an advocate reviewer on the 2012-2013 Investigator Initiated Research Grants – Disparities in Breast Cancer Outcomes: Outcomes of Specific Populations after Diagnosis.