The Susan G. Komen Story

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Thursday, we’ve decided to post on how a promise made with love between two sisters to end breast cancer forever started Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and launched the global breast cancer movement. While we realize this post is lengthier than usual, trust us, it is worth reading!

Growing up, Suzy and I were just about as close as two sisters can get. Suzy was the perfect older sister.

She was beautiful and kind and loving, not only to me but to everyone. She was the star of our hometown of Peoria, Illinois – the high school homecoming queen, the college beauty queen.

I, on the other hand, was bigger, heavier and taller than most of my friends and her friends. I developed my own way of getting attention. I was a tomboy and a mischief-maker and delighted in nothing more than spending hours galloping around on horseback. Suzy tried desperately to teach me about the pretty things in life: how to fix my hair, apply makeup, and coordinate my wardrobe. None of it seemed to work. I was still a big, sort of clumsy girl with two left feet. The boys didn’t know I was alive, except that I was Susan Goodman’s younger sister.

Suzy came back to Peoria when she graduated from college and got a job modeling locally. Eventually, she married her college sweetheart, Stan Komen.

College, for me, was the first time I felt I belonged anywhere. I was active in many school projects and finally began to have confidence in myself. I felt independent and responsible and ready to take on the world. After graduating, I packed up my bags and moved to Dallas, Texas, home of my father’s older sister.

Although we were separated by distance, Suzy and I spoke every day by phone in the late afternoon.

As if it were yesterday, I can remember the phone call I received from Suzy one Tuesday afternoon. Her doctor had found a lump in her breast that was not a cyst. He recommended a biopsy. A biopsy is the surgical removal and microscopic examination of tissue to see if cancer cells are present.

I decided to fly home to Peoria.

When I got off the plane, my father was waiting there alone with an expression on his face I will never forget. He didn’t have to say a word. At the age of 33, Suzy had breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen (left) and her younger sister Nancy G. Brinker

What happened from this point on is still difficult for me to talk about because I am so much more knowledgeable on the subject today. If I had only known then what I know now.

The truth of the matter is that growing up in the small town of Peoria, our family had been treated our whole lives by one doctor. Suzy trusted him with her cancer the same way she did with her measles. Mistake number one.

None of us knew enough to inquire about seeking information from a major cancer center or from a group of physicians associated with one in Peoria. He was our doctor. Period.

The most difficult concept to grasp about cancer, I think, is the fact that when it is first detected the patient usually feels just fine. There is rarely any pain associated with breast cancer in its early stages. So when you are told you’ve got a life-threatening disease, and the treatment sounds more heinous than the thought of a little lump in the breast, it is understandable that a woman uneducated about cancer might opt for no treatment at all.

Such was the case with Suzy. My sister was terrified, naturally, but adamant against having a mastectomy.

Our family doctor called in a surgeon to review Suzy’s case. It is important, if you are to learn from our mistakes, that I tell you a little bit about this surgeon. He was very handsome, very suave and seemed very self-confident. According to Suzy, this surgeon told Suzy he could cure her. Even the most respected cancer experts in the country (which he was certainly not) do not talk about recovery in terms of surviving cancer or remission. They refrain from using the word cure because cancer can recur.

But that, of course, is exactly what Suzy wanted to hear, and who could blame her? Like many women, and for that matter men, too, Suzy was of the frame of mind that the doctor was always right.

This surgeon suggested performing a subcutaneous mastectomy, a procedure in which the outside of the breast is left intact, but an incision is made and the breast tissue is removed. He would then do an implant ten days later. Suzy would be left with a small scar but no more cancer. She felt it was her best option.

After Suzy’s surgery, my parents, Stan and I were all at the hospital anxiously awaiting the results. The surgeon walked confidently in the room and said, “You can relax, we got it all. I believe she’s cured.” My heart sank because I knew enough to know that cure is a very difficult word to use in reference to cancer. If it is used at all, it is more likely to be spoken after a five-year period has passed without a recurrence.

For the next five months or so, Suzy felt pretty good. She was convinced she was cured. When I suggested she secure a second opinion just to be sure, she became very sensitive. After all, her doctor had told her she was fine.

But before six months had gone by, our worst nightmare became a reality. Suzy found another lump. This time it was under her arm. Despite everyone’s optimism her cancer had spread.

Suzy went next to the Mayo Clinic, where we learned that her cancer had metastasized (spread) to her lung and under her arm. There was a tumor the size of a quarter in the upper part of her right lung and suspicious shadows elsewhere. Their recommendation was 30 days of radiation and then to “watch it.”

Well, I, for one, was tired of “watching.” I wanted to see some results.

Terror, rage, sadness and above all, a feeling of complete and utter helplessness invaded me. Why was this happening to Suzy, of all people? What had she ever done to deserve to be so sick and so frightened? Although no one said anything aloud, we all knew my sister was now fighting for her life. And it all happened so quickly. She tried to keep up a brave front and would often talk of plans for the future.

A major turning point in Suzy’s struggle for survival came from a surprising source, Mrs. Betty Ford.

The year was 1978, and while serving as First Lady, Mrs. Ford had finished a successful bout with breast cancer. The whole country was shocked and saddened with the news of her breast cancer and mastectomy. Her bravery touched a place inside of Suzy that none of us could possibly understand because we hadn’t gone through it ourselves. In Betty Ford, my sister found new strength.

“Nan,” she said, “if Mrs. Ford can admit she has breast cancer and tell the whole world she intends to fight it, well then so can I.”

The doctors at Mayo suggested Suzy have radiation therapy, which is a treatment using high-energy rays to damage (burn) cancer cells and stop them from growing. She did have the radiation but it was not successful in slowing her disease. The cancer was out of control, and there wasn’t a thing we could do about it. But we had to try.

Suzy decided to seek treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. When she arrived, she was a Stage IV cancer patient. This means that the disease had spread to other organs in her body and was still growing. It was a very critical situation. But, for the first time, Suzy was part of a team: Her new doctor and his associates made Suzy a partner in every decision. They were completely and totally honest with her and all of us about her condition. Suzy was not only allowed to ask questions, she was encouraged to do so.

Suzy’s doctor’s approach to the disease was an aggressive one. Thus began the saga of intense chemotherapy. The problem with chemotherapy is that it doesn’t know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys, so a lot of important healthy cells are killed in the process, including the cells of the stomach lining and hair roots.

Chemotherapy is often accompanied by nausea, mouth sores, hair thinning, and sometimes total hair loss, depending on the type used. Suzy experienced all of that and more. Everyone given chemotherapy is warned that a side effect is hair loss, but nothing can prepare a woman for the shock and embarrassment of baldness. She bore up under the strain with all the dignity and grace she could manage, although I know she was devastated. Little did I know that even then, my sister was teaching me.

The stress and tension put on a family involved in a serious illness is unimaginable. You know you must stick together on the crucial matters, so often the tension released is by arguing about the little things. My father had a terrible time. He could not bear the sight of his precious daughter being so ill. As a result, it was our dear mother who bore the brunt of much of the burden.

It was especially difficult for her because during this time lumps kept appearing in my breasts. I had my left breast biopsied three different times during Suzy’s ordeal. Once, she had to leave Suzy’s side in Houston in order to be with me in Dallas. All three of my tumors were benign (noncancerous). I hated to worry my mother, but the truth is, I was scared. Every time I felt the slightest little abnormality, my heart began to race. I had learned that women whose mothers or sisters have had breast cancer have as much as three times the usual risk of developing the disease.

Whenever we felt as if we couldn’t go on, that the load was just too heavy, it was Suzy’s grace and humor that got us through the day. She was able to find something to smile about with every turn of the road, and her infectious, warm concern was felt throughout the hospital.

The one thing Suzy never found humor in, however, was the aesthetic conditions of the waiting rooms. The walls were empty, the chairs uncomfortable, and sometimes a patient would have to sit there waiting six or more hours for a scheduled appointment. Suzy was horrified and so was I. She was more concerned with the treatment of the patients while my concern was the treatment of her disease. I was outraged that more hadn’t been learned to help my sister.

“Nan,” she said, “as soon as I get better, let’s do something about this. You can find a way to speed up the research. I know you can. And I want to fix up this waiting room and make it pretty for the women who have to be here. This isn’t right.”

For about fifteen months, the Houston doctors were successful in slowing down Suzy’s breast cancer. But then, for reasons known only to God, the disease started to rage inside her once again.

Fully aware of her condition, but never willing to give up or talk about it, Suzy began a perilous and painful downhill battle. There was more surgery and more chemotherapy, but by now her body had built up a resistance to the drugs. Her cancer had gotten so out of control that it broke through the skin, resulting in grotesque sores all over her chest. She began to spend more time feeling awful and we spent more time feeling helpless.

None of us knew what to do anymore. Up until this point, we had always spoken enthusiastically about our future together. It was becoming more obvious with each new day that this was our future with Suzy.

One day, during the time when Suzy stayed in Houston, we were lying together by the pool at the hotel. She loved to sunbathe as often as possible, because she felt that having color on her face was the only thing that made her look healthy. As I watched her lying there reading, I took note of her thin, frail body and strained breathing. Fortunately, Suzy was into her book and paid no attention to me. Had she looked over, she would have seen my tears and known immediately what I was thinking.

Our time together was drawing to a close. In a flood of beautiful memories, I began to look back on the sacred relationship I shared with my sister. Frantically, I wrote my memories down, fearing somehow I might forget one later. I didn’t realize then that memories so special are never forgotten. I also didn’t realize that what I was writing that sunny afternoon was my sister’s eulogy.

It was time to begin saying our good-byes. Our family had always been totally honest with each other, and breaking that trust at this point would hurt Suzy much more than help her.

After my sister was released from M.D. Anderson, I tried to come home every other week for a visit. One particular Sunday afternoon on the way back to the airport, Suzy spoke to me again about doing something to help the sick women in the hospital. This practically tore my heart out because here she was, hardly able to manage a whisper, and she was worrying about other people. I couldn’t bear it.

When my father pulled up to the curb, I quickly kissed them both good-bye and jumped out of the car. I was just about inside when I heard a funny sound that sounded like my name. I stopped in my tracks and turned around. There was Suzy, standing up outside the car on wobbly knees, wig slightly askew.

With her arms outstretched, she said gently, “Good-bye, Nanny, I love you.” I hugged her so hard I was afraid she might crumble. And then I ran to catch my plane.

I never saw my sister alive again. After nine operations, three courses of chemotherapy and radiation, she had lost her three-year war. By the time I flew back to her side it was too late. She was gone.

The months after Suzy’s funeral were the saddest in my life. I wanted to stay near my parents because I knew they needed me (the truth is, we needed each other), but I had a son and a home that had been without any attention for a long time. It was time to get on with it, to pick myself up and start living again. Some things are easier said than done.

I spent a lot of time thinking about Suzy. There is no way to accurately describe the void her absence left in my life. I also spent a great deal of time questioning my faith and wondering why such a good person was taken from a family that needed her so desperately. I often wonder, as many people do when they’ve lost a loved one, what really happens to a soul when a person dies. Was Suzy watching me? Did she hear me when I called her name out loud? After much thought I came to the conclusion that I would never know until I died myself, but I sure didn’t want to die in order to find out. Just in case, I wanted to do something to let her know how special she would always be in my heart. I was haunted by our last conversation and lay awake sometimes all night wondering what I could do to help other women with breast cancer.

Could one person really make a difference?

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Don’t Give Up on Your New Years Resolution!

Out of the top ten new years resolutions Americans make year after year, losing weight is number one and staying fit and healthy is number five. Yet, only eight percent of people are successful in achieving their resolution. Well, enough is enough. If your new years resolution was to either lose weight or stay fit and healthy, we’re dedicating this blog post to help you achieve your goals.

Our very own staff member, Katy Meagher, has lost a whopping 54 pounds (and counting!) and she is sharing what worked for her:

“For me it took a change of my mindset to get going.  I had to stop pretending that I could eat whatever I wanted and lose weight.  I never liked exercising, but I knew I had to get moving. So I started walking.

And I realized that I don’t know a single thin person who doesn’t watch what they eat or who doesn’t exercise.

Then I started a log. I had to keep track of every bite I ate…every single one.  I was told by my trainer (my cousin) to eat 1500 calories or less per day to be able to lose weight.  That was a huge reality check, because it made me look at labels for the first time.  And forget going out to eat. Not that I don’t go now, but I had to change the way I ate when I went out.  Restaurant portions are outrageous, and most times the plate is 2 or 3 servings. Salads are a huge culprit too; one salad can be 1000 calories, once you add cheese and all the extras plus the dressing.  So if you are like me, and have clean-your-plate syndrome, well, dining out is a huge challenge.  You really have to know what food costs.  Not money wise, but calorie wise.

However, there are great apps for smartphones that have helped me tremendously.  The first one I use is called Lose It.  It tracks my goal, my calories consumed each day and the exercise I do.  And if you exercise, you get to eat more!  The app has a huge database of every kind of food from apples to zingers at your favorite restaurant.  You can even scan the barcodes on tons of products and voila, it loads it into your log.  I also use CalorieKing Food Search and Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFtinessPal for when my Lose It app doesn’t have the food in the database I am looking for, which isn’t that often.

I have been on my weight loss journey for just over eight months now.  I have lost 54 pounds and feel amazing.  And it’s not just about the thinner me, it’s the healthier me.  I saw my doctor in September (I was only down 28 pounds then) and I had my annual checkup with blood work and all.  He was thrilled with my results.  I had lost over 10% of my body weight, my cholesterol was perfect and my blood pressure was great.

Now a rule for me is nothing is off the menu, but you can’t just eat whatever you want and lose weight.  And you should eat better anyway; all these processed foods have chemicals in them that are no good for you. One of those boxed dinners state they’re 450 calories and are called “lean”, but to me they’re nothing and they’re loaded with salt.  I have twice as much food for the same amount of calories, by making my own dinner.  Grilled chicken, brown rice, veggies, whole grain pasta with sauce and lean sausage, pork chops, broiled fish, and so much more.  I am eating like a king.

I am training to run my first 5K in April, and believe me I am no runner.  But I love running now.  Did I mention I wasn’t a runner?  I didn’t even like to run if I was chased.  But my whole life has changed.  My body has changed, and I feel better about myself. I sleep better and I look forward to exercise.  I have another app called Free Pedometer, I use it when I walk or run.  It tracks my steps, speed and calories burned.

I also purchased a bike at Wal-Mart for $88 and I take long rides. I use another free app called MapMyRide GPS Cycling and it tracks my speed and even shows my route and then I can post it to Facebook, which I like because then all my friends cheer me on.  That’s the best part, the support of my family and friends.  They are as excited as I am for each milestone I reach.

Join me – the least athletic person you will ever meet – in your weight loss goals.  I will be your biggest champion.  You hear them say it all the time on those commercials for weight loss programs: “If I can do it so can you.”  Now I know what they mean.  You really can.”

One of four Komen’s recommendations is to make healthy lifestyle choices which include maintaining a healthy weight and adding exercise into your routine. We hope we have motivated you to make healthy lifestyle choices in 2013!

Katy's Before & After

Katy Before & After

Happy Holidays from Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale!

“Hi, I’m 39 years old, a single mother of three and was just diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m calling to see if there is any way I can get low-cost treatment? I don’t have insurance and have very low income. Can you help me?”

These types of calls are very common to our office and it because of YOU we are able to say, “absolutely, we can help you.” It is the sigh of relief you hear on the other end of the line that makes our day. These individuals not only have to hear the devastating words “you have breast cancer”, but then hit several roadblocks along the way due to their financial situation and lack of insurance which only adds more frustration, stress and a sense of helplessness.

You should feel very proud of yourselves, Komen supporters. Thanks to you we help thousands of men and women with similar stories in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties, 365 days a year.

2012 was a wonderful year for Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale : we had a very successful Race for the Cure®, hundreds of new volunteers and recruited new corporate sponsors. We expect 2013 to be an even better year for us with supporters like you by our side.

We are humbled by your loyalty, dedication and passion and have nothing left to say except THANK YOU!

Happy Holidays and a Happy & Healthy New Year from the Board of Directors and Staff at the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure!

2012 Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®

The 17th annual Race for the Cure® on October 20th was a huge success!!! The event raised almost $1.3 million and counting as fundraising continues through November 30th.  Seventy five percent of funds raised will be granted into the local community we serve (Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties) and the other twenty five percent will go towards funding breast cancer research programs. Click here for a list of our local grantees and click here for a list of our current national research grants.

To recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, over 20,000 participants registered for the largest breast cancer event in Miami. Close to a thousand breast cancer survivors were greeted by the Rose Bandits during the survivor procession and were presented with pink roses generously donated by Rio Roses as the Ladies of Soul gave an emotional performance. The survivor procession was led by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz along with Kathy Sheeran, the Honorary Team New Balance member for the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®.

Highlights of the event included a Latin-inspired warm-up with Zumba®, performances by Focal Point, Eirinn Abu, Tri-M Music Honor Society Choir, Divaaz, Tatyana Perez and Heroines. The top three teams were South Florida Ford Dealers with 1,469 team members, Florida Power & Light with 891 team members and Baptist Health Breast Center with 650 team members. Congratulations to these great teams!

Fundraising for the Race will continue through November 30th – donations are greatly appreciated and will be accepted on our website, or by mail to:

Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®
 c/o FootWorks 
5724 Sunset Drive 
South Miami, Florida 33143

THANK YOU to our national series and local sponsors, participants and volunteers for your support!

Click here to see the rest of the pictures!


2012 Team Captain Breakfast

On Thursday, July 26, 2012 the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Affiliate hosted team captains at the Race for the Cure® Team Captain Breakfast. Our teams are our largest fundraising source: 83 percent of those who fundraised last year belonged to a team. This shows how important teams are to the success of the Race and to reaching our goal of serving women and saving lives!

The breakfast allowed captains to learn more about the Race for the Cure® and understand the impact of donations, but also share fundraising ideas. Some of our largest teams last year, including FPL, South Florida Ford Dealers and Baptist Health Breast Center, shared best practices with the group. Team captains also received their Team Captain Packet (click here to download) and other collateral (including customizable posters also on our website) in order to create more buzz about their own teams. Finally, our 2011 Race video made its debut, click here to watch!

It’s never too late to sign up your team for this year’s Race! Registration is still available for $25 ($27 online) and will go up to $30 ($32 online) October 13th.

For more information, please feel free to visit our website or contact us at 305-383-7116 or  info@komenmiaftl.org.

Get Ready to Fundraise!

Did you know that 50% of the money raised last year at the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure® came from your fundraising efforts? That is the power of what you can do! To kick off the fundraising spirit this year, we’ve dedicated our blog post to a compilation of the most popular (and successful!) fundraising ideas.  Remember, most apply to an individual and/or team!

Best Fundraising Idea: Send emails from your participant center. Customize your Personal Page (inside your Participant Center) with a picture and your personal story. Email your fundraising letter to friends, family and coworkers and ask them to support you. Your email will have a direct link right back to your website and when they donate online, they will automatically receive a receipt for tax purposes. Ask everyone to forward your email on to 10 more people!

Office Fundraising Ideas:

  • Casual Fridays: Ask your team members and other department representatives to collect a $5 fee from employees who would like to dress down on Fridays. The donations will benefit your Komen Race for the Cure® Team!
  • Raffle off a reserved parking spot or a larger office space.
  • Auction off dinner for four, sports or event tickets, gift certificates, etc.
  • Post team and individual fundraising thermometers in the break room showing the company’s current fundraising status and place a donation jar nearby. Check out our team’s page to download a customizable poster and thermometers!
  • Host a bake sale – everyone loves desert!
  • Announce a “Loose Change Day” and have all employees donate their loose change.
  • Add a link to your Personal Page (found within your Participant Center) to your personal and work email signature.
  • Add to your voicemail message that you are participating in the Komen Race for the Cure® on October 20th. This will be news to some and a reminder for all!
  • Create (or order) return address labels and/or business cards that state, “I’m participating in the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®. Will you sponsor me?”
  • Ask your company about matching gifts. Many companies will match whatever amount each employee raises on his or her own.

Family & Friends Team Fundraising Ideas:

  • Delegate! Give your close friends donation forms and ask them to get donations for you.
  • Host a mini golf tournament.
  • If your birthday falls in the months leading up to the Race, in lieu of a gift for your birthday, ask your friends and family to make a donation to the Komen Race for the Cure®.
  • Host a garage sale.
  • Host a car wash.
  • Have your friends and family donate their used books and choose a time and place to have a used book sale — maybe your local farmer’s market, school carnival or community fair.
  • Hold a theme dinner party for at least 10 of your friends with a donation of $50 a person. Spend just $20 per person on food and you’ve raised $300 in donations. Better yet, have all of the food donated!

 Additional Team Tips

  • Brainstorm with your team. Be creative and think of things that can involve everyone. Advertise your participation as much as possible and JUST ASK PEOPLE! Too often people just don’t know how to get involved.
  • A poster on a bulletin board may not get noticed, so make sure your event information stands out.
  • The more excitement you can create, the more people will want to be a part of it! If you are having fun, your co-workers/family/friends will too!

Tips for Your Team Members:

  • Customize your Personal Page (inside your Participant Center) with a photo and a story on why you are raising money. Participants who customize their Personal Page far outperform those who do not!
  • Remember ANYONE is a potential donor.
  • Ask people who you have daily contact with or who you’ve established a relationship with in one way or another — parents, friends, classmates, co-workers, neighbors, grocer, banker, mechanic, lawyer, dry cleaner, fellow parishioners, etc.
  • Start with the person whom you think will give you the largest donation, which will establish a high baseline of giving.
  • Ask at least 1 person per day to make a donation.
  • If you’re uncomfortable asking face-to-face, use your Participant Center instead. In the Participant Center we’ve provided sample letters to help you.
  • Aim high — ask for $50 and settle for $25, instead of asking for $25 and settling for $10. Base the amount you’re asking for on your prospects’ ability to give.
  • Carry your collection envelopes with you at all times.
  • Tribute Donations: Encourage your donors to make their donations in “honor of”, “support of”, or “in memory of” someone they know who has been affected by breast cancer. This is a great way to let them feel very much a part of your experience.

Good luck and remember to HAVE FUN!

3rd & 4th Graders Raise Money for Komen

From left to right: Brianna Doherty, Kaileeann Block, Christina Galup, Kamilla Delgado, Gabriela Pasitoniu.

It is always so inspiring to see children raising money for Komen and when our office received a $52 donation from a group of 3rd and 4th graders from Trinity United Methodist Church & School, we were once again amazed. The young girls (ages 8-10) came up with the idea on their own and they raised money in their aftercare program from parents as they picked up their kids. According to Kaileeann’s mom, they have all heard of women who had died of breast cancer, including Kaileeann’s Grandma, Ione Otto.  They then researched all the other types of cancer and were even more sadden.  They wanted to try to make a difference and help find a cure while also hoping that others will do the same. The parents of these young philanthropists should be very proud and we are lucky to benefit from their fundraiser!

Register now for Race for the Cure®!

Registration is now open for the 2012 Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®, taking place at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami on Saturday, October 20th. Every year, thousands of breast cancer survivors and supporters come together to participate in the 5K run and walk which raises funds to provide breast cancer treatment, prevention programs and further breast cancer research for women in need in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. Last year’s Race for the Cure® had a record-breaking 23,628 participants and raised over $1.8M!

Early bird registration is available for $27 online and will go up October 13th. In hopes of surpassing our fundraising goals, we are encouraging all participants to take part in the Power of 10 Challenge: If every Race participant collected just $100, the 2012 Komen Race for the Cure would raise over $2,000,000 in pledges alone!

For more information and to register, go to www.komenmiaftl.org/komen-race-for-the-cure.

More updates on the 2012 Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure to come so stay tuned!

Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Granted $1.1 Million to 33 Local Organizations

Our Affiliate hosted its Grants Award Ceremony April 19, 2012 and we are proud to have granted $1,120,008 to 33 diverse non-profit health care organizations, public health agencies and community groups in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties that further the Komen mission (click here for the complete list). The room was full of energy and excitement as this group leads the fight against breast cancer in the three counties!

More than 7,000 medically underserved individuals will be impacted by the grant dollars provided for mammograms and thousands more will be impacted by education and awareness programs. In accordance with Komen’s guidelines, 75 percent of the net dollars raised through local events, including the annual Race for the Cure®, will stay in the local community to fund breast cancer screening, education and treatment initiatives.  The remaining 25 percent will be pooled with Komen’s national efforts to fund research programs.

Check out some pictures below and click here for the entire photo album.

For more information or if you need low-cost services, please call our office at 305-383-7116.

From left to right: Kim Romano of WomanKind, Lori Dombroski of Florida Keys AHEC and Sandy B. Muller of Sandy B. Muller Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

2012 Grants Award Recipients

Recharge for the Cure and the Rose Bandits

On April 28th, Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale sponsored Recharge for the Cure, where sixteen breast cancer survivors came together for a day of fun, laughter, and pampering.

Maxine Hart Weinstein, Ph.D. on Recharge for the Cure:

“Too often, women who have cancer focus so much of their energy on their cancer, that they neglect the things other women take for granted. I see it all the time in my psychology practice: women who have been diagnosed with cancer don’t have the energy, the time, the motivation, or the financial resources to engage in “frivolous” activities.  Elegant lunches, yoga and spa all take the back seat.

For years, I have dreamed about creating a Day Retreat for women diagnosed with cancer– a day for women to enjoy themselves away from medical treatment, from obligations, from disease. Until I talked to Bobbi Meyers, Executive Director of Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, that dream seemed unrealistic.  But Bobbi was enthusiastic and supportive, and told me that Susan G. Komen would sponsor such a retreat.

We’ve now had three “Recharge for the Cure” events, easing women’s burdens, providing them with a sense of strength and helping them enjoy life. Our most recent “Recharge for the Cure” was Saturday, April 28, where sixteen women of various ages and backgrounds, came together at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.  The day began with a buffet breakfast capped with the Rose Bandits Women’s  Bicycling Team riding into the room and presenting each participant with a dozen roses.

From there, we enjoyed a day of closeness, tears, laughter and pampering. The women sang songs, they practiced laughing yoga and tai chi.  They enjoyed those spa treatments we often take for granted. They were also treated to an elegant lunch.

These sixteen women entered the Biltmore as strangers.   Throughout the day, they bonded – even checking out the results of their surgeries.  By nightfall, they were friends. It was a spectacular day!”

Recharge for the Cure Group with the Rose Bandits

Rose Bandit Duffy Danish on why she supports Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale:

“In 1998 my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 Breast Cancer.  I was a freshman in college and was naturally devastated.  I felt helpless and like there was nothing I could do to help except be there for my mom, pray, and wear the official color for the cure–pink.  As I soon found out, I could purchase pretty much everything in pink, I did, and proceeds went to the cause. Komen has made the fight against breast cancer a visible fight with their use of pink on products, and in order to fight such a beast of a disease, pink needs to point to the cure.  Komen does an amazing job helping women like my mom find their dream doctor and provides support to those who might not have it or need extra.

My mom passed away five years ago from breast cancer, a decision she made when she was just plain tired of fighting and being on drugs.  She came to my wedding which was April 29th 2007 in Texas, returned home a few days after, slipped into a coma on May 17th and passed away May 25th.

In 2008 we moved to Miami and in 2010 I became a Rose Bandit.  Shortly thereafter, Heather and I (along with our friend Freddy) teamed together to take over and manage the team.  For me, I never even hesitated to think of where my charity goes–and that is to breast cancer. I reached out to Heather and Freddy and asked that if the team do any charity work that it be for cancer research and care–specifically breast cancer as it has so deeply impacted my life.  I didn’t just loose my mom, I lost my best friend and anything we can do to prevent this from happening to another woman (or man, my friend’s dad actually had breast cancer) and her daughter then sign me up.”

Rose Bandits riding to Recharge for the cure