By: Jennifer Felch, Komen Austin Board Member, Survivor
I am honored to become an official part of Komen Austin. I have been around the work of the Komen foundation for several decades – from experiencing the joy my mother felt as she walked with the other survivors in the Race for the Cure in the 90’s, to running in her honor, to running as a survivor with my very own family for the last several years. There is something special about the race and the incredible community it creates among survivors and our friends and family. It is both a celebration of success and a promise of more, as the funds generated from the event help those in our community and the broader goals of ending breast cancer.
While I had participated in the Race for the Cure for many years, it wasn’t until recently that I learned how these funds are put to use in our local community. We are probably all familiar with the broader research that the Komen Foundation supports, and part of the fundraising goes towards this mission. However, the vast majority stays right here in central Texas. In fact, 75 percent of the funds are invested in our local community – for education, screening, treatment, follow-up care, among other things.
As many of us know, cancer is not discriminating. It impacts us regardless of our economic situation, insurance coverage or access to quality medical care. Komen Austin has invested more than $11 million since 1999 in providing breast health services and education in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. These funds come entirely from fundraising efforts, and the Race for the Cure is the largest contributor. This is why it is so important that we not only participate in the event but that we also raise funds for our community.
I know that many of us are forced to make healthcare decisions based on what we can afford and that we rely on a variety of sources for information, if we have access. The mission of Komen Austin is to ensure that we are all educated on our risks and what we can do about them, and that we all have access to screening, treatment, and follow up care for ourselves and our families. It is incredible to see the difference a single organization, Komen Austin, can make on our local community and it is only possible through ongoing fundraising efforts.