The Komen Siouxland Affiliate was established a little over three years ago. Before then, people in the Siouxland area were unaware of Komen's work. Through the intense desire, hard work and quality leadership of Lesa McDermott and a dedicated group of others, the Siouxland Affiliate formed to change that.
The Affiliate was immediately successful in implementing ways to promote Komen's cause. Our first event was Tickled Pink, a gala evening with a delicious meal served in an elegant setting. A silent auction began during the cocktail hour and continued into the evening, and a live auction elicited friendly competition and enthusiastic revelry. Finally, a comedian entertained, tying back to our Tickled Pink theme. Decorations and promotional materials, along with a brief report from our board president, reinforced Komen's message throughout the evening. The 2006 Tickled Pink gala will be held at the Convention Center in Sioux City on October 13.
This year, the Affiliate awarded grants to the June E. Nylen Cancer Center to promote annual screening mammograms for underserved and underinsured women. A Patient Assistance Fund assists those who are going through treatment. A Hereditary Cancer Prevention program, partially funded by Siouxland, will provide increased access to hereditary cancer screening.
Siouxland has also enabled communities in our service area to hold Cancer Survivor dinners by covering the cost of educating the attendees. Several of the dinners took place in areas still unaware of Komen's work. While the attendees enjoy the evening, the information they receive often brings Siouxland return in the form of volunteers, future board members, sponsorships and other donors. Our sponsorship base is expanding geographically.
We are working to make Komen a topic of household conversation. In conjunction with all the mammography sites in our service area, we are hoping to give all mammography patients in the month of October a pink rose, and pink water will be running in the fountains in the larger city areas.
Additionally, we are selling a special assortment of pink tulip bulbs to raise awareness. People can plant the bulbs in their own flower gardens, or they can let the committee plant them through the Garden Angel Program, a community garden program.
Our education outreach has given us exposure as well. We have been using events surrounding Cinco de Mayo to inform the Hispanic community of help we can provide with detection, follow-up appointments and treatment. Several organizations, Mid-Sioux in particular, serve people who are underinsured or underserved and have close contact with minority ethnic groups in our communities. They have agreed to give their clients our information about detection and other services we can help them with.