The genesis of the Phoenix Affiliate was much like that of Susan G. Komen for the Cure itself. In 1992, after losing one of their dear friends to breast cancer, three members of the Junior League of Phoenix determined that something needed to be done to raise awareness about the disease in the local area. They joined forces with Banner Health (then known as Samaritan Health Systems) to bring the Race for the Cure® to Phoenix for the first time in 1993. For the next seven years the Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure® served to raise breast cancer awareness in the Phoenix market. The Phoenix Affiliate office was officially formed in October 1999 as a part of breast cancer awareness month.
Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure®
The growth of the Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure® has been dramatic every year since its first 1,500 participants stepped out in 1993.
The 2005 Race attracted more than 41,000 runners and walkers, and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano chose it as the site where she signed a new breast cancer awareness license plate bill before thousands of enthusiastic onlookers.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon also attended and applauded the Komen for the Cure for directing national research funds to the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to promote groundbreaking breast cancer detection and treatment research.
Additionally, the 2005 Race demonstrated increased ethnic diversity, with the participation of more than 15 media partners and unique teams from the Hispanic, Asian, African-American, Muslim, East Indian, Native American and Philippine populations.
Over 40 health leaders and providers from central and northern Arizona attended the recent bi-annual community profile luncheon held in February 2006. This forum helps to take the pulse of the community and identify gaps in service that must be addressed to improve breast health. With the information compiled by the surveys distributed at the luncheon, the Phoenix Affiliate can target areas that should be the focus of attention for the annual grants review board. In 2005, 28 providers received grants for service from the Phoenix Affiliate.
Circle of Hope® Individual Donor Program
Created as an opportunity for donors to meet cutting-edge leaders in the breast health field while attending unique special events, the Circle of Hope® also attracts donors interested in seeing their dollars at work in the Phoenix service area. The featured speaker at the February 2006 Circle of Hope® breakfast was Heather Cunliffe, Ph.D., head of the breast cancer research unit at Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) of Phoenix.
Dr. Cunliffe, who in 2005 received a national Komen for the Cure grant to research a treatment for Invasive Metastatic Breast Cancer, shared information about the exciting advances TGen has recently made available to patients diagnosed with breast cancer: the MammaPrint (a 70-gene assessment that assists oncologists in formulating medical treatment strategies) and the Oncotype EX tests (designed to measure the possible reoccurrence of breast cancer at the site of the original surgery).
The Phoenix Affiliate is proud to be part of the Champions for the Cure®. This new grassroots program was created to enhance collaboration between the public and private sectors to encourage the men and women of Capitol Hill to support effective breast cancer policies while increasing funds for Komen's breast cancer priorities. In 2003, the Phoenix Affiliate launched a program for members to write to local Congresspersons and encourage them to support the national breast cancer initiative.