The Tampa Bay Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure was founded in Pinellas County in 1999 by Dr. Barbara (Hall) Bourland, a local radiologist, who recognized the need for a screening program for uninsured women in the county. Today the Florida Suncoast Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure has expanded to a six-county area and has raised over $8 million for community programs and research. In justthe last three years, the Florida Suncoast Affiliate has doubled in revenue, and in 2007 was proud to announce the largest grant awards in the history of the Affiliate.
2008 marks the tenth anniversary of the Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure, and we invite everyone to come celebrate with us! The Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure held its first race in 1999 with 3,300 Race participants. This annual destination has grown to over 12,000 Race participants, raising close to $1 million. The Race is held at Vinoy Park in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, right on the water where runners and walkers are welcomed with a beautiful pink sunrise.
During the 2007-2008 grant funding cycle, the Florida Suncoast Affiliate granted nearly $1 million to 20 education, screening and treatment programs throughout the Affiliate's six-county service area. The grantees provided 2,500 initial screening mammograms, 1,100 initial diagnostic procedures (including biopsies) and 89women were diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Additionally, the grantees reached over 60,000 individuals through education and support programs. One of the grantees, a treatment support program, provides a vast array of support including childcare, transportation and funding COBRA payments. This innovative program ensures that patients maintain timely screening and treatment regimens by providing support for basic needs. The program also provides an invaluable psychosocial support for patients who are often overwhelmed with life's stressors during treatment. The Affiliate is currently undergoing the grant review process for the 2008-2009 funding cycle. A full complement of qualified professionals is reviewing 31 grants. We remain steadfast in our commitment to increase grant funding in each of the communities within the six-county area.
In 2007, the Affiliate embraced public policy initiatives by participating in Lobby Day and engaging Champions in cultivating congressional support for NBCCEDP reauthorization and funding, NCI and Patient Navigator funding and Breast Cancer Research Stamp reauthorization. We begin 2008 with the culmination of efforts to ensure equal access to Medicaid-funded treatment regardless of where a woman is screened, as current law renders a woman ineligible unless she was screened through BCCEDP. The Affiliate has worked with state legislators and fellow Affiliates to promote and draft legislation to expand Medicaid-funded treatment. Legislation is expected to be filed for action during the March 2008 session.
The Annual Pink Martini is a fun party kicking off the Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure season with a silent auction, raffles, door prizes and pink balloon bouquets. The nearly 500 partygoers come dressed in pink and receive a complimentary pink martini, hors d'oeuvres and entertainment, including special guest appearances by some of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football players.
Founded in 2004, the annual Lunch for the Cure is a breast cancer awareness fundraiser held at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota. Each year features a national keynote speaker as well as local honorees who are recognized for their support of our vision of a world without breast cancer. The first year we were honored to host Nancy Brinker and her mother Ellie Goodman as the keynote speakers. This year we welcome Rene Syler, author of Good Enough Mother, and former CBS news anchor, on March 20, 2008. The luncheon today is now a sell-out ballroom of 700.