The Tulsa Affiliate started in 1996 with a group of volunteers who wanted to localize the fight against breast cancer and bring the Race for the Cure® to their city. In its 11-year history, the Affiliate has seen its Race participant numbers grow from 3,000 to more than 9,400 and has granted more than $ 2.5 million to local organizations.
In 2006, the Affiliate hired its first executive director, Christy Southard. Together with the Affiliate's board of directors and hundreds of volunteers, Southard passionately pursues Komen's vision for a world without breast cancer.
Southard was one of 50 delegates recently chosen to represent the U.S. at the "Ignite the Promise: Global Advocate Summit" in Budapest, Hungary, in September. At the Summit, she met numerous individuals from around the world that share her passion for fighting breast cancer. She also learned about the varying challenges and disparities women all across the globe face in obtaining screening and treatment, and she brought back a number of ideas for reaching out to the many different cultures and ethnicities in Tulsa.
In 2006 and early 2007, members of the Tulsa Affiliate worked closely with Oklahoma Senator Judy Eason McIntyre to write Senate Joint Resolution 22, which would require Medicaid to provide coverage for physical therapy and lymphedema sleeves to Oklahoma women who develop lymphedema as a result of breast cancer surgery. The resolution passed the state's Senate and is up for review and vote in the House of Representatives when session begins again in February 2008.
Many strides have been made and many doors opened throughout the process of writing the bill and getting it to the floor. The relationships forged during this time with both legislators and other local breast cancer organizations have elevated the focus on breast cancer screening, education and treatment in Oklahoma.
Komen Race for the Cure
In 2007, the Tulsa Affiliate held its 11th Annual Race for the Cure. More than 9,400 walkers and runners, including 133 teams, participated in the Tulsa Race — a 33-percent increase over the previous year. More than $600,000 was raised for breast cancer screening, education and treatment programs in Tulsa.
Chefs for the Cure
Each year, the Tulsa Affiliate partners with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) for a deliciously stylish event known as Chefs for the Cure. Area chefs prepare their best recipes as attendees visit each chef's table to taste the fare, all while enjoying live music and the company of others fighting to end breast cancer. The event, coordinated and hosted by CTCA, also doubles as the Race kick-off party. 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the Tulsa Affiliate.
Hats Off to Mom
For the past three years, the Tulsa Drillers have tipped their hats to moms and the fight against breast cancer by distributing pink baseball caps to every mom attending the Mother's Day game. The players wear pink jerseys, which are signed and auctioned during the game. Proceeds benefit the Tulsa Affiliate.
The Tulsa Affiliate enjoys an immense amount of support from its local media. Virtually every print, radio and television outlet in Tulsa has run a Komen-focused story or interviewed an Affiliate representative over the past year. In 2007, KOTV The News on 6 (CBS) came on as the presenting media sponsor for the Tulsa Race, and LeAnne Taylor— the station's morning host and a breast cancer survivor— formed a community Race team consisting of 102 walkers and runners that raised more than $5,500.