Beginning with the first Race for the Cure event in 1992, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Kansas City Affiliate has exemplified hard work and a "can do" attitude. The first Race was organized by three headstrong women who had recently relocated to Kansas City from the Washington, D.C. area and were determined to make the Race a success.
Each year, the Race grew in both donations and participation. In those days, a small core of committed women kept files in their homes and cars, had all Race phone calls on an answering machine in a spare bedroom and treated Komen as their second job. It was truly a grassroots effort. As the Race grew, the need for full-time management grew increasingly evident over the years. Thus, in 1999 the first Board was formed and an office was generously donated to the Affiliate. Today, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Kansas City serves five counties in Kansas and seven counties in Missouri and has a staff of four.
The 2006 Komen Kansas City community needs assessment identified education as one of the most critical gaps in breast health awareness. Findings from the needs assessment showed that the public felt there was not enough appropriate information on breast health available to them. As a result, Komen Greater Kansas City launched the Education Ambassadors, an important volunteer initiative for those who want to empower women and men to take charge of their own breast health.
The goal in creating the Education Ambassadors was to develop a grassroots alliance of well-informed advocates working in greater Kansas City communities to engage in education and information sharing through public venues. The ambassadors program prepares advocates by offering ongoing training and mentorship as well as providing a toolkit of information so that activists may keep apprised of recent developments in breast health education.
Local Breast Health Programs
Over the last fourteen years, Komen Kansas City has increased its financial support of local breast health education, screening and treatment support programs by 50 percent. One of the 2007 grants will be focused on community education in the form of the first television education campaign. The campaign will target thousands of women with specific educational messages that address the issues found in the community needs assessment.
Komen Kansas City Is a Resource for Our Community
Upon inception, Komen Kansas City was solely a Race event that raised funds and gave to local breast health programs. Today, Komen Kansas City has expanded its focus to be a resource in the community for families who seek breast health resources. One example of a resource the Affiliate provides is the local website. Komenkansascity.org provides information on breast health, resources for survivors, national fund development programs, local fundraising opportunities and of course information on the Race for the Cure. The community has recognized the value of this new, robust website, and site hits have increased from an average of 1,200 visits per month in 2004 to an impressive 50,000 visits per month in 2007.
Inspiring Others to Make a Difference
Based on community confidence in its fiscal responsibility, Komen Kansas City is increasingly contacted by individuals and organizations who are inspired to become advocates and create unique fundraising events such as Build-a-Home, Ladies Night Outs, high school athletic challenges, benefit concerts and even motorcycle rallies. Each fundraising event signals the strength of the bond between the community served and Komen Kansas City.
Celebration of Survivors
In 2007, Komen Kansas City is proud to be hosting the 10th Annual Komen Kansas City Breast Cancer Survivor Luncheon. Each year, the luncheon is a celebration of survivorship, inspiration to those recently diagnosed, and an opportunity to honor their co-survivors. This celebration of survivorship is well-known known in the community and breast surgeons refer their patients to the luncheon. What started with a few has grown to 1,200 guests.