• Stories of Impact for 2016

    Personal Stories, Community, Research


    In 2016, Susan G. Komen announced its Bold Goal, to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. In support of our goal, partners, donors, fundraisers, advocates and Affiliates have all stepped up to make a direct impact in our fight against breast cancer, and have shown they are More Than Pink™. We could not achieve this goal without their support. While there are many that have helped further Komen’s mission and Bold Goal, we wanted to recognize some highlights from the past year.

    Dr. Nikhil Wagle and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project

    Dr. Wagle has been drawn to medicine and science his entire life. But it was during his training as a medical oncologist – when he saw some patients benefit from drugs that targeted specific molecules in their tumors– that he knew he wanted to study precision medicine so that cancer treatment could be better tailored to patients, based on their genetic profile. As he worked to launch his independent research career (which has led to important findings about ER+ breast cancers), he found another opportunity to make an impact – creating and leading the Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Project. The MBC Project engages patients with metastatic breast cancer by using social media and partnerships with advocacy organizations, empowering the patients to share their medical records and saliva and tumor samples with researchers to help expedite scientific discoveries that could improve treatment strategies for MBC. Since the project’s launch in October of 2015, more than 2,500 women and men living with MBC from all 50 states and Canada, have enrolled in the study.

    Dr. Nikhil Wagle of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project

    Community Health Equity

    Right after launching our Bold Goal, we announced $27 million in funding from the Fund II Foundation to support Komen’s new Health Equity Initiative to reduce breast cancer deaths in the African-American community. This initiative will first target 10 U.S. cities where mortality rates and late-stage diagnosis of African-American women are highest. The goal: to reduce African-American disparities by 25 percent within five years of beginning work in each city. Our work in these communities is directed by leaders in the communities themselves (aka – many of you!). Expertise from local women and men gathered at community roundtable discussions throughout 2015 and 2016 will help shape our approach in each community, and ultimately save lives.

    Heron Therapeutics

    Heron Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on improving the lives of patients by developing best-in-class medicine, joined forces with Susan G. Komen with the goal of allowing breast cancer patients to complete their treatment regimens, thereby increasing survival rates. Through coordinated fundraising efforts, Komen and Heron launched the Heron Matching Program, aimed at doubling funds raised in Komen’s 2016 year-end fundraising campaign. Heron and an affiliated partner made a $250,000 donation to Komen and pledged to match dollar-for-dollar – up to a total commitment of $1 million – all Heron Matching Program donations made through December 31, 2016. The Heron Matching Program raised more than $2.6 million, making a significant impact in helping us move closer to our Bold Goal.

    Affiliate Impact  Metastatic Breast Cancer

    In 2016 Affiliates across the country hosted and further MBC conferences supported Komen’s Bold Goal, as well as bring together communities focused on metastatic breast cancer. In addition to emphasizing MBC research and advancements, the conferences facilitated opportunities for those living with MBC to share their experiences through social media streaming, panel discussions with thought leaders, and community engagement. MBC Conferences across the Affiliate network brought together more than 955 in-person attendees, helping Affiliates engage with the MBC community right in their backyard. Creating a space for MBC patients, doctors, researchers, families, caretakers and business leaders to come together will continue to generate critical awareness and support in the fight against this advanced form of breast cancer.

    Jessi Karrer  Susan G. Komen Fundraiser

    Every woman in Jessi Karrer’s maternal line has been touched by breast cancer. Around the same time her grandmother Lois Williams was diagnosed with breast cancer, Jessi’s company Account Control Technology, Inc. (ACT) asked her to select a nonprofit for a nationwide charity drive. Jessi was surprised to learn how many people in her office were also affected by breast cancer, and elected Susan G. Komen as the beneficiary. Now, ACT’s annual month-long fundraiser and awareness drive – ACT for the Cure – is a highly anticipated fundraiser. ACT’s 18 offices raise donations through Komen’s fundraising platform by selling casual-day privileges, hosting bake sales and lunches, raffling elaborate gift baskets, ping pong competitions, and auctioning off lunches with executives. Each year ACT for the Cure continues to grow thanks to the employees’ commitment to fighting breast cancer.

    Have a great idea for a fundraiser to benefit Susan G. Komen? You can fundraise for Komen here.

    Susan G. Komen fundraiser Jessi Karrer and her late grandmother Lois Williams

    Sally Dunbar 3-Day Walker

    Twelve years ago Sally Dunbar’s cancer breast cancer diagnosis completely changed her life. Her doctors laid out a treatment plan, explaining research driving her treatment recommendations, and what it could mean for survival. Hearing these concrete facts helped ease Sally’s fears and move forward in her treatment with hope. Knowing how breast cancer research helped shape her treatment plan, she wanted to ensure others would also have effective treatment options. Sally signed up to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day four years ago – both to make an impact and to get in better shape. While participating and training, Sally realized she could be a face of hope for other women, men and families battling the disease. Research became her rally cry, and in 2016 she was responsible for recruiting 90 new 3-Day walkers for her team Hands Up For Hooters. Her goal is not to have the biggest team, but the most first-time walkers to let more people experience first-hand how Komen can help find the cures.

    Interested in joining the 3-Day community? You can sign up for the 3-Day here.

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