The Houston Affiliate began in 1990—the same year as the first Komen Houston Race for the Cure®. Gayle McMorrow calledSusan G. Komen for the Cureto inquire about starting a Race in Houston, and with Komen's encouragement, she established a board of directors for the Affiliate.
In the early days, volunteers worked out of their homes with no paid staff. A small core of committed women kept files in their garages and cars, wrote letters on typewriters and did business while preparing dinner. It was truly a grassroots effort.
Things have changed a lot since those days. In May 2006, the Affiliate launched a new Web site, www.komen-houston.org. The site provides breast cancer news, extensive information on breast health and education, a Breast Health Resource Directory and details about Affiliate activities including the Komen Houston Race for the Cure, third-party events and Affiliate-hosted events.
The site also lists Affiliate grantees and describes how to apply for a grant. Additionally, potential volunteers and donors can use the site to learn about opportunties to get involved with the Affiliate.
Recently, the Affiliate's service area has expanded. Liberty County, in the Houston area, is one of only two counties in Texas where breast cancer incidences are rising. Recognizing that fact, the Affiliate saw the need to extend breast cancer education, screening and treatment efforts there. Currently, the Houston Affiliate serves seven counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty and Montgomery.
Record-setting 2006 Komen Houston Race for the Cure
The 2006 Komen Houston Race for the Cure, held September 30, broke records! In mid-August, more than a month before the Race, overwhelming participant support led the board to raise the Pledge Program goal. With Marathon Oil Corporation once again the local presenting partner, the Race brought in a record amount of cash sponsorship, and on Race day, 26,000 participants topped previous records!
The theme of this year's Race was "Winning the Race Together," to honor survivors and the families and friends who help them in their fight against breast cancer. Over 1,600 survivors signed up for the Race and reminded everyone on Race day why we walk, run or Sleep in for the Cure®.
Reaching out to the Community
As part of its efforts to increase awareness and reach out to the community, in 2006 the Affiliate helped to establish the Greater Houston Breast Health Collaborative with a mission to unite breast health advocates and providers to push for positive legislative action on breast health, to promote collaboration among breast health providers and to maximize new and existing breast health resources in the greater Houston community.
Another way the Affiliate is expanding community outreach is by launching a high school breast health awareness program. The program empowers young women to take charge of their health and know their bodies. The additional benefit is that students often take the information to their parents, and the message is spread that much further.