#IAmKomenAustin – Volunteers Think Pink!

Happy National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Every year we celebrate our wonderful volunteers that set aside their time and volunteer for Susan G. Komen® Austin. The success of Komen Austin events and fundraising is unimaginable without the help from our volunteers who are the heart and soul that power our mission.

Volunteers for Komen Austin come from all areas: sororities, fraternities, university groups, school districts, Komen Austin board members and Pink! chairs. Anyone can volunteer for us and we are always welcoming new volunteers.

“We need a lot of human capital and energy to get to the point where we can say we have eradicated this disease,” said Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Each second, minute and hour that you spend volunteering with Komen is an extra moment of hope for those affected with breast cancer.

We have asked a few of our Board of Directors, Pink! Co-Chairs and our very own Interim Executive Director on their input of why volunteering for Komen Austin is so impactful.

Why did you choose to volunteer with Komen Austin?

Karen Shultz: I am compelled by the mission to save lives and end breast cancer. I have lost several friends and a daughter in law last year to metatstatic breast cancer, so the issue is personal to me.  I believe no women should die of breast cancer because she could not afford and receive quality health care to fight this devastating disease.

Jennifer Stevens: Two of my aunts had breast cancer and both ended up passing away. My mother and I both live with concern for our health because of the prevalence of breast cancer in our family. When I look at my daughter I know we have to find a cure and I believe Komen is the fastest path forward. I like Komen’s hands on mission. Raising money and providing services for those who need them now and funding for a cure. It’s a can-do attitude and I respect that mission.

Karin Foster: My husband’s family has a long history of breast cancer, he lost his mother to breast cancer while we were still in college over 30 years ago. After his sister (and my best friend) was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer at the age of 45, I flew to Denver to be with her during her second chemo treatment (to help take care of her and her then 3 year old son). After returning to Austin I knew I had to do more to help other women battling Breast Cancer, so I emailed the Komen Austin office asking to volunteer. That was in October of 2011 and I’ve been volunteering ever since.

Deb Davis Groves: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. I am one of four in my mother’s family to have breast cancer and between us we have 6 cases of breast cancer.  My mother’s Aunt Gracie passed away from breast cancer. I am also a two-time cancer survivor – thyroid and breast.  After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I basically reinvented myself.  I took a year to regroup.  I had worked as a volunteer in non-profits for 28 years.  I was having panic attacks at the thought of having cancer again.  So I purposefully looked for a way to turn my panic into a positive energy to help others who were dealing with breast cancer.  A friend, Gene Austin, connected me to the Komen Austin Affiliate and to Christy Casey-Moore. I liked Komen Austin’s mission of helping the underserved women in the Austin Community through their numerous community based partnerships.  I believed this to be a good fit for me as I was so fortunate to have such a great team of doctors that got me through and continue to get me through my cancer journey.  I am also very determined that we find a cure for Breast Cancer as I have two daughters and a son.  I will NEVER STOP until we find a cure!  Susan G. Komen has led that fight nationally and financially in finding a cure for Breast Cancer!

Martha Coons: Deb Groves asked me to co-chair the first Perfectly Pink Party and I did.

Amy Mosier: As a breast cancer survivor, I recognize the fundamental role Komen Austin plays in the community. I continue to be inspired by the abiding dedication and outstanding commitment of the staff, Board
members, interns and volunteers who work tirelessly to provide vital support and services to women and men fighting breast cancer in Austin and surrounding areas. I want to share my positive energy and optimistic attitude with others by remaining involved with this dynamic and vital organization.

Volunteer Party 1

When did you start volunteering for Komen Austin?

Karen Shultz: About 6-7 years ago.  I’ve served on the board of directors in several capacities, I have done the race and fundraised over the years, and served as co-chair for last year’s Pink! Party.

Jennifer Stevens: I started volunteering for Komen in college as a part of the philanthropy mission of my sorority.  Seeing the power of the people present at that Race for the Cure® so long ago really hooked me.  I have been active since that time and am about to complete six years serving on the Board of Directors for Komen Austin.

Martha Coons: The initial Perfectly Pink Party was my first volunteering for Komen Austin.

Deb Davis Groves: I started volunteering in the front office of Komen Austin in January 2011.

Amy Mosier: Following my breast cancer diagnosis in June 2014 and during treatment, I became actively involved in fundraising for Komen Austin. Although I had participated in the Komen Austin Race for the Cure in the past, I decided to form my own team, The Breast Is Yet To Come, which has raised close to $25,000 over the past two years. I am now a cochair for this year’s MAD about PINK fundraising gala.

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?

Karen Shultz: The most rewarding part is knowing that your service is vital to the success of our mission.  There is a direct correlation to the time, talent, treasure put in and the help that women receive as a result of the volunteer work I do.

Jennifer Stevens: The most rewarding part of volunteering is knowing my efforts are directly linked to helping someone in my community.

Karin Foster: Watching the many survivors we have volunteering to help others. These women are the LEADERS in our organization, you see them volunteering at every Komen event. It inspires me to know that these women have been in the trenches of the battle against breast cancer and are now leading our community in the fight to make sure that no woman (or man) will have to go without the necessary screenings and treatment to beat this disease. No one should ever battle breast cancer alone!

Martha Coons: The most rewarding part of volunteering was making the money that we were able to give back to the community in our quest to treat and cure breast cancer.

Deb Davis Groves: Hearing the stories of the women and some men that we have helped along the way with their breast cancer diagnosis through our many community partnerships.  Talking to the people on the phone or being with their in the Survivor Tent….seeing their courage and their determination to battle this horrific disease. Probably my most favorite memories are in the Survivor Tent during the Race for the Cure:It was my first year as the Survivor Committee/Tent Co-chair. We had a door prize for the person who had the most recent breast cancer diagnosis.  One of the women said that she had been a survivor for 7 years and was just re-diagnosed.  I have never seen a group of PINK women move so fast in my life.  They all literally engulfed that women with love and hugs.  It was a priceless moment for me as I saw this BIG PINK FLUFF of LOVE in our tent area….all crying, hugging, laughing and loving with that young woman.  I knew in that moment that I was exactly where I was supposed to be…helping these women find some happiness, support and celebration as we are all victimized by breast cancer. Every year seeing the Survivors and Lifers gather together for their Race Picture….moves me.This past year having the Survivor/Lifer Path with the Hand Print banners….watching all of us put our hands in the paint and slapping our handprint on the banner was so special!  It was a slap at breast cancer that we are real and it is not going to win.

Amy Mosier: I’m inspired by being part of a community that shares the same passion, is incredibly supportive of one another and works as a team to reach a common goal that is very near and dear to my heart. It is evident how much the LOCAL services Komen Austin provides, helping to save lives and provide much needed support to those battling breast cancer.

race volunteer

What events have you volunteered for with Komen Austin?

Karen Shultz: The Race for the Cure, co-chaired for the 2015  Pink! Party, hosted a Pink Ribbon Circle party, Pink in the Park, Austin Spurs Pink Night, Kendra Scott Gives Back, Concert for the Cure with iHeart Media…the list goes on.

Jennifer Stevens: I have volunteered at Race for the Cure and Pink.  I have chaired committees for the Board and the Board itself.  I co-chaired Pink last year.

Karin Foster: Weekly Office Administrative Support – almost 5 years
Pink Party – 4 years
Race for the Cure – 3 years
Breast Cancer Awareness Advocacy Day at the Capital
Wacoal Fit for the Cure
#Amplify Austin

Martha Coons: Perfectly Pink Party and volunteering my home for videos to be made.

Deb Davis Groves: Started as the office volunteer in January 2011
Survivor Committee Co-Chair 2011 – 2015
Pink Party Founder and Co-Chair – 2012, 2013, 2014
Pink Ribbon Circle – 2014, 2015, 2016 and on
Komen Board of Trustees – 2014, 2015, 2016 and on
Komen Chair Transition Committee – finding the new Komen Austin Executive Director – 2015-16
Donor – 2011 – and on

Amy Mosier: Komen Austin Race For the Cure, Team Captain 2005, 2014 and 2015.Served on the fundraising committee for Race for the Cure 2015. Cochair for MAD about PINK Gala 2016.

What do you hope for the volunteer community at Komen Austin in the coming years?

Karen Shultz: We have a large and dedicated group of volunteers.  I hope to gain new volunteers and Ambassadors who have passion for our mission, to help spread awareness and education about breast cancer and help us raise much needed dollars we need to continue our highly successful grant program that we award to our community health partners each year. Our work is so vital to the community for quality, affordable health care to fight breast cancer.  Our impact is very significant in the greater Austin area.

Jennifer Stevens: I hope we keep recruiting new community leaders to our mission.  1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  The Komen mission should be every employer’s mission.  Everyone in Austin needs to get involved and understand that their time and their financial support stay here and help people in our community.  We need all the help we can get.

Karin Foster: That we are able to continue growing our base of support. I’m not sure the local community truly understands what the differences in services the Komen affiliate offices provide in contrast to the national Komen organization.  I honestly believe that once you volunteer with Komen Austin, you’ll be an advocate for life. WE ARE SAVING LIVES LOCALLY through advocacy, education, patient navigation, screenings, treatment and support.

Martha Coons: My hope for the volunteer community at Komen Austin is that it continue to expand.

Deb Davis Groves: I want us to continue to grow our presence in the Austin community so that they clearly hear, know and understand that Komen Austin is about saving lives in the fight against breast cancer!  I want them to understand what our mission is and the partnerships that we have available that will help the underserved women and men who are fighting this horrific disease.  I want these victims to know that they are not alone.  I want everyone to see the work that Susan G. Komen does locally through their affiliates, nationally and internationally in the fight against breast cancer and the intentional goal to find a cure.  I want the community to clearly know that “I WILL NEVER STOP”….“WE WILL NEVER STOP” in this battle against breast cancer that affects 1 in 8 women!

Amy Mosier: My hope is that Komen Austin’s volunteer community continues to grow, thrive, and educate Austinites so that they can, in turn, recognize the rewards of being a part of this organization

MAD about Pink! is coming up! What do you look forward to most about Pink! this year?

Karen Shultz: I’m looking forward to the attire and what fun outfits we’ll see with this year’s Madmen 60’s theme.  We aim to have fun and enjoy ourselves.  We also recognize some very deserving people and organizations who have contributed so much to our success over the past year.  It’s our second largest fundraiser and it has become one of the most fun parties to attend in Austin.

Jennifer Stevens: The event is always fun, informative and entertaining.  I most look forward to seeing old friends and new faces there – all coming together to support the fight against breast cancer.

Karin Foster: Loving the MAD MEN retro theme and amazing support of our local community. It’s going to be one heck of groovy night .. hoping to build the Komen Austin support base (with folks who will come back year after year) and raise a HUGE amount of money to provide breast health services and support for the women (and men) of the greater Austin area!

Deb Davis Groves: I love everything about this incredible party.  It has been exciting to watch it grow since I founded it 5 years ago.  Of course, the champagne and Kendra Scott purchase will be first!  The VIPink Cocktail Reception sponsored by Lexus Austin is a must!  The whole evening is a fabulous celebration benefitting Komen Austin….but it is a wonderful opportunity for Komen to help our guests realize who we are and what we are about!  “Our mission is simple:  to save lives and end breast cancer forever!”

Amy Mosier: MAD about PINK will be a celebration of the remarkable work of the Komen Austin foundation and all that they provide for the greater Austin community. The staff, Board members, interns and volunteers work tirelessly and ardently to provide year‑round women’s health advocacy, community education initiatives, and help to ensure a continuum of care in all forms. The evening will also be an incredible tribute to, not only those who have been personally afflicted with this terrible disease, but also to their co-survivors and care partners. We will recognize all who’ve cried, laughed, hugged, held hands, provided support, encouragement and embraced the journey alongside their loved ones who have fought hard and lost, who continue to fight, and those who’ve fought and survived. I feel very blessed to be a part of this amazing event.

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