Photo by Eric Enger
Twelve years and countingOn a beautiful Rocky Mountain morning in 2006, the Komen Colorado Springs Affiliate celebrated with live bands at every mile marker. The 5,000 participants who met at Fort Carson's Iron Horse park to celebrate our 12th Komen Race for the Cure® were greeted by a tank decorated with a huge pink ribbon and our theme: "Hope Shines On."
In 1995, Mitzi Fideler and Carol Kelley organized the first Colorado Springs Race. Participants at that first Race exceeded all predictions, and the event quickly outgrew the downtown location. The initial response from the community provided $63,000 for nine community grants. Last year the Affiliate awarded 16 grants to organizations in El Paso, Pueblo and Teller Counties. Fundraising events in addition to the annual Race include a Spin-a-Thon, the BMW Ultimate Drive, Massage/Cut-a-thon and a merchandise store: Shades of Pink.
Our 2006 celebration of "HOPE" was tempered with tears as we paused to remember Carol Kelley and two honorary survivors who lost their battle to breast cancer earlier this year. It was a solemn reminder of why we are passionate about finding a cure for this disease.
Our Grants ProgramAs an "all-volunteer Affiliate," we are challenged to deliver the Komen mission to an expansive service area that includes the most populated county in Colorado. Several of our grants have been recognized by Susan G. Komen for the Cure for their innovative approach to breast cancer education, screening and treatment support. The list of exemplary programs includes the library's Web-linked Breast Cancer Resource Center; ANGEL's, a model African American outreach program; The Girl Scout Breast Cancer Awareness Badge; Genetic Counseling for High Risk Women and Strategies for Recruitment of Minorities in Clinical Trials.
Mary Alice Browning, R.N., M.S.N.Certified MammaCare Specialist
This year a proposal developed by a local breast surgeon and two oncology nurses introduced a new standard for breast exams in our community. "The Clinical Breast Exam Provider Course" certified two oncology nurses in "MammaCare," an enhanced breast exam technique developed by Nancy Dunn at the Oregon Health Sciences Center.
The certified "MammaCare" Specialists taught the Breast Self Examination technique to college students, women's groups and other grant recipients. They will begin training clinical providers in January. The goal is to provide a consistent, high level, breast exam technique that identifies early breast changes in dense breasts; a valuable tool for young women.