Strength in Community

By: Rashanna Moss, Owner, Pure Barre Austin

We all know and understand that we should live an active lifestyle.  We understand that it is good for our health and has several positive effects on our mind, body and soul.  But knowing that doesn’t necessarily translate to consistency in our workout routines.  Life can often get in the way and our health is one of the easiest things to sacrifice when life gets busy. But in a moment’s notice, when our health is truly threatened, we can appreciate the health that we always took for granted. We regret the excuses we allowed in our lives, and we gain perspective on valuing our health and a positive outlook.  I have had the honor of observing others come full circle in this process.

While owning a fitness studio, which is 99.9% female based, Breast Cancer Awareness Month came on my radar in a more personal way than before.  Prior to owning the business, I donated to the cause, but never got fully involved.  I didn’t have family members or friends that were affected, so in a way the issue was a bit foreign and distant for me. Now, as a business owner, I had a platform to market and raise money through our clientele base. It felt right considering who our clients were. So, we did donation classes, dressed in pink…the typical things, right?

Then one day, I found out that one of our clients had just finished treatment. She was always so kind and positive. She was graceful. I had no idea what she was going through. That’s the thing about people with grace – they carry themselves with such elegance and remain so poised, that they become pillars of strength in an almost silent way.  It was how she showed up to me, my staff and the other clients, that even without her fight being known, she made an impact on our community. She was the perfect person to rally behind and bring awareness to this issue.


I spoke with her to find out more about the organization she worked with, Breast Cancer Resource Center. We have been fortunate enough to work with BCRC a few times over the years, and to build a platform to raise money with our incredible client as our mascot. Her willingness to share her story made all the difference in the world, because

  1. clients could put a face with the cause and
  2. because of her character, you couldn’t help but fall in love and want to help.

Through this process and having the opportunity to build a relationship with her, I observed a few things.  The first: a deeper sense of community.  Even clients that didn’t know her personally, felt closer simply because they could share in her story. It brought it closer to home and made them realize how close they were to the issue. They could see themselves in her, so they wanted to help and share their own stories with one another.

Community Becomes Our Support System

We observed this in the studio and it created a common ground between clients – a difference in their connections with one another and what they were sharing through this workout community. It became more profound, more real and more supportive. Community is a huge piece when it comes to our health. Community becomes our support system. We establish a group of friends that expect to see us every day, ready to work and have some fun. They want you next to them because the workout is more enjoyable when you’re in it together. And on the days when it’s hard to get to the barre, they just want their comrades there, so that they can get through the challenge together. That’s community!

Another observation was a silencing of excuses.  When you are working out to support a cause like breast cancer, it provides perspective immediately. You realize that complaining about life being busy, or being too tired, is a trivial excuse when it comes to your health. That perspective shifts your inner compass and allows you to put your head down and do the workout. You find a deeper strength in yourself from realizing that other women are coping with an issue that is much harder than getting to the studio and getting through a workout. So you just do it. Excuses are hard to admit as an adult, especially when we are productive, high functioning individuals. But, we all do it and we need to self-check often to ensure that our health is a high priority on our list. Appreciate the fact that you are healthy and don’t take it for granted. When you rid yourself of the excuses and commit to health, you realize how strong you can be. Your standard shifts and health becomes part of your natural life.

The final observation was the most moving. It’s about excuses as well… BUT its because of the tangible observation of strength. Remember the wonderful woman I mentioned before, who became our mascot and example for clients?  She still attended classes. There are days when I know she didn’t feel well and others where she felt weak or in pain. But she still came. She modified where she needed to, and stayed smart about how much she pushed her body, but she showed up and did the workout in the way that she needed to, for herself. She found that inner power and peace in class, and had the perspective to appreciate what her body could still do. It’s all about perspective. She is the example for creating a community, staying connected to a community, letting go of excuses and not taking health for granted.

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How to Maintain Balance and Reduce Stress with an Active Lifestyle

By: Lander Peerman

Lander is the co-owner of Crush Fitness Studio in Austin, TX. She was born and raised in Austin and currently lives in town with her fiancé Noah and her dog Taz.

lander-crush-fitness

Lander and Noah,  co-owners of Crush Fitness.

As the female co-owner of Crush Fitness, that is set to rapidly expand starting early 2017, it’s often hard to find time to balance other aspects of my life, which include international travel with my fiancé (and the other owner of our business), raising a family and remodeling our home all on top of running our business every day. Having a few key “life rules” have helped me immensely during super stressful and busy times:

  1. Balance is key. In everything. Set “work hours” and stick to them. When you’re on, you’re on and then you can enjoy the time you give yourself for other aspects of your life. This is the hardest rule for every entrepreneur I’ve ever met, but I find that if I stick to work hours I am actually more efficient. That’s why its #1 on my list…
  1. Always make time for the ones you love. Pencil them in just like you would any other appointment. Trust me, it can be easy to go months without catching up with some of my closest friends, unless I make a point to schedule our phone chats, coffee dates or  wine nights. The time spent with them can give you new perspectives, more energy and love.

    Lander friends.jpg

    Lander Peerman with friends enjoying a wine night.

  1. Taking care of your health is key to maintaining an active and productive lifestyle. On that note, book your workouts in your schedule ahead of time and stick to them. You wouldn’t not show up to an important job meeting…so why not show up to your workouts? Find a new class or studio in town and make it a consistent routine so it becomes part of your schedule. When I do that I find myself looking forward to my workout time and making it a priority.
  1. Travel. See other cultures, places, meet new people. I have also had huge personal revelations while traveling abroad. It makes you focus on what’s most important in your day to day life. Getting out of your day-to-day and seeing other parts of the city, state, country or even world can also allow for inspiration and ideas to bring back to your normal routine.
  1. Be true to yourself. If you hate your job, change it. If you are in a bad relationship, get out. Life is too short. There are too many goals to be accomplished, places to see, relationships to make. People make things pretty darn complicated, when in fact the answer is usually right in front of them. Don’t live your life with fear. Just take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other and never look back.
lander

Lander Peerman, co-owner of Crush Fitness.

 

We Want to Turn Our Pink Ribbons into Kung Fu Belts

 


Girls Love Mail

see below to find out how this organization reaches out to women fighting breast cancer in the community

glm

Write a letter for Girls Love Mail! Girls Love Mail collects your hand-written letters of encouragement and gives them to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. To get started writing letters, review the GLM Quick Start Steps below. We also encourage you to visit www.girlslovemail.com for the full writing guidelines, FAQs, and samples.

GLM QUICK START STEPS

1. Begin your letter with “Dear Friend” or “Dear Sister.” The goal is to be encouraging and let them know someone is thinking of them. Letters are given to recipients regardless of race, religion, age, type of treatment, or cancer stage. Be sure your letter is universally appropriate by refraining from religious references and other non-inclusive wording.

2. Hand-write your letter on any note card, stationery, or paper of your choosing that fits in our special GLM envelope (4.75″ x 6.5″). You can also download free Girls Love Mail stationery.

3.  Mail your letter(s) to:  (Save postage by mailing multiple letters in one envelope.)
Girls Love Mail
     193 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 120
     Folsom, CA 95630


Each month look for the GLM newsletter. You’ll find helpful tips and read uplifting stories from letter recipients. And don’t forget to Share this with your friends and Like Us on Facebook. Together we can someday encourage all 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year. All it takes is a handwritten letter from you!

Best,
Gina L Mulligan, Author and Founder

We’re not one to get lost in a crowd of Pink

Don’t get lost. Get your mammogram.

Early detection plays a key role in saving lives by making it easier to treat and cure breast cancer. This is why Komen Austin highly encourages screening through mammograms and clinical breast exams. Unfortunately, we know that barriers to care, such as lack of insurance and access to transportation or services can prevent women from receiving important health services.

Komen Austin recognizes this need and is funding a Mobile Mammography program to provide free screening services to uninsured women. Along with support from the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas, Community Action, and Seton Healthcare Family, Komen Austin is making sure rural communities that lack medical resources such as Bastrop and Caldwell Counties can access care by bringing services directly to them. So far, we have had four successful screening days in Bastrop and Luling with far more participants than expected!

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, new screening dates are being planned for November.  Email Marva Overton for more information at: marva.overton@aaahct.org

To schedule an appointment, call (512) 324 – 3375. For those who honor their appointment, a surprise gift will await you!

We hope to see you there!

Be More Than Pink! Donate today at komenaustin.org/race

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

 

By: Esther Garza

As you probably know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month but October 13 is specifically designated as National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

esther-garza

Esther Garza

Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) is the most advanced stage of breast cancer (stage IV) and means that the cancer has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body.  For example, if someone’s breast cancer has spread to their bones, or liver, it’s not bone or liver cancer; it is breast cancer that has metastasized.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, it was discovered to have already spread and I became a part of the metastatic group.  Although there is no cure for MBC, I am one of the very, very few whose cancer has gone into remission and I am now a 10-year “metathriver”.  My medical team will never tell me that I am cured, only that I am in remission and the statistics show that it is just a matter of time before the disease becomes active again. Most people diagnosed with MBC, undergo chemo and/or radiation on a regular basis until their medications are no longer effective.

No one knows why a small percentage of MBC patients are long-term responders but, in an effort to stay as healthy as I can, I try to eat real/whole foods and limit my intake of sugar, grains and packaged/processed foods. Am I 100% successful? No, but I try …super hard. I also try to get regular exercise, and reduce my exposure to toxins such as those in the environment, chemical cleansers, and many body products.  Basically, I do a lot of things the way my grandparents did like cook from scratch, eat vegetables from my garden (or farmer’s market) and use simple DIY household items to clean with. I also draw on my faith to help me cope with my disease and for strength.  I think this lifestyle has helped me but no one really knows for sure. Every MBC patient is unique and experiences vary. I do know that more MBC patients are living longer and there’s a crucial need for more research dollars to find new treatments for Stage IV patients and maybe one day, a cure. MBC patients need aggressive research and action….now. We also need to start educating the public about MBC….now.

When I first approached about joining a MBC support group, I shied away because I thought it would be a sad and depressing group. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The IV League, a support group hosted by the Breast Cancer Resource Center (Austin), is a group of women living to their fullest! Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, but through it all, we have found strength in our numbers. Not only do we get emotional support from each other, we also learn about the latest treatments, studies and research. I encourage everyone with any type of chronic disease to join a support group. The lessons learned are invaluable.

In an effort to help educate people about MBC, I recently participated in an initiative that was created to promote public understanding of metastatic breast cancer, http://www.storyhalftold.com/  and https://www.facebook.com/storyhalftold   Look for my story to be featured on that site later this month and please feel free to share it! It’s time to stop sweeping the topic of MBC under the rug and time to start talking about it.

2

It’s One Thing to Talk about a Cause; It’s Another to Do Something about it.

BE
more-than-pink-text

more-than-pink

AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

 ATTEND OUR EVENTS THIS OCTOBER

Visit our events calendar and choose the month view at the top right for a full list of ways to get involved this October!

We are fortunate to have the support of both local and national companies that help us raise funds for life-saving breast health services. Many of our partners’ fundraising events take place during the month of October – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Check out our October partners and contact events@komenaustin.org if you have a partnership idea for October 2016! As you’ll see, the possibilities are endless but the result of each partnership is the same – raising critical funding to help power our mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Oct 1st – Power of Pink Fashion Show

  • 11am-3pm
  • Location: Baylor Scott & White Lakeway – 100 Medical Parkway Lakeway, TX 78734
  • Description: Baylor Scott & White has partnered with Susan G. Komen Austin to host a fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors. Join us for this free event to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Oct 10th-13th – Dine Out for the Cure

  • Location: Participating Restaurants
  • Description: Dine Out for the Cure at any participating restaurant and a portion of your final tab will be donated to Susan G. Komen Austin

kendra-logoOctober 12th – Kendra Gives Back Winter Launch Party

  • 6pm-8pm
  • Location: Kendra Scott South Congress – 1400 S Congress Ave Suite A-170, Austin, TX 78704
  • Description: Join Kendra Scott and Komen Austin for a night of shopping and giving back. 20% of the evening’s sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen Austin.

kase-101October 12th – Bosom Ball

  • 6pm
  • Location: Wild West Cedar Park – 401 E. Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613
  • Description: Join Kase101 for the Bosom Ball benefiting Susan G. Komen Austin featuring the Band Perry, Jana Kramer, Maren Morris, and RaeLynn.

October 13th – Pink Wine Walk

  • 5-9pm
  • Location: Hill Country Galleria – 12700 Hill Country Blvd. Ste. T-100 Bee Cave, TX 78738
  • The Hill Country Galleria monthly Wine Walk in October is turning PINK to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

pink-wine-walk

October 22nd – Party in Pink Zumbathon

  • 1:30pm-3:30 pm
  • Location: Virginia Recreation Center – 7500 Blessing Ave, Austin, TX 78752
  • Join 102.7 Latino and 107.1 La Z for an afternoon of Zumba benefiting Komen Austin. $10 donation required to participate.

107-1-radio

painting-with-a-twistOctober 23rd – Painting with a Purpose

  • 6-9PM
  • Location: Painting with a Twist North Austin – 8820 Burnet Rd. Ste 507 Austin, TX 78757
  • Join Painting with a Twist North Austin for Painting with a Purpose benefiting Susan G. Komen Austin.

 October 29th  – Help Gracie Barra Choke Out Breast Cancer

  • 9:00am – 1:00pm
  • Location: Gracie Barra Cedar Park Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Fitness Center – 500 Cypress Creek Rd Suite 120 Cedar Park, TX
  • Join Gracie Barra Cedar Park for a day of fitness fun featuring yoga, Zumba, kickboxing, and self-defense benefitting Susan G. Komen Austin.

brazilian jiu jitsu.png

Product Partnersmoving-4word


Moving 4 Word

Moving 4 Word is donating 5% of all sales in October to Komen Austin.

Lamb’s Tire and Automotive  

Lamb’s Tire and Automotive is donating $10 to Komen Austin for every oil change on Tuesdays in October. lambs

 

SUAVS

SUAVS will donate $5 to Komen Austin for every pair of shoes purchased online in October 2016. suavs

 

 

Elevé Cosmetics

Elevé Cosmetics will donate 10% of sales to Komen Austin of their ‘Pink Package’ beauty kit in October 2016. Elevé is 100% all-natural, cruelty free and very healthy for skin.

eleve-cosmetics-logo

ride-austinRide Austin

Beginning in October, Komen Austin will join Ride Austin’s ‘Round up for Charity’ program where riders can opt to have their fares rounded up to the nearest dollar, and have those funds donated to their charity of choice.

Thank You to Our Volunteers!

By: Suzanne Stone, executive director

On a rainy, muggy Sunday in September you all did something incredible.

You handed out t-shirts, waters, bananas. Cheered on survivors, hung banners and helped people take pictures of their groups. You blew up balloons, petted baby animals, took out trash – all because you believe in the same cause. Because you know that sometimes, PINK isn’t always as pretty as it sounds. Sometimes it takes getting your hands dirty, rolling up your sleeves and hugging a total stranger.

On Sunday you saved lives.  There’s really no doubt about it. However small or big your responsibility may have been, you were a VERY important part of raising $235,896. And we are just getting started! Fundraising is just beginning and we have until November 15th to raise another $360,000 to make sure each and every woman in our 5 county area has access to the breast health services she needs.

Thank you for all you have done.

For all you continue to do and your commitment to Komen Austin.

 With you, we are MORE THAN PINK!

Continue the fundraising. You have until November 15th.

Suzanne Stone

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How to Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

By: Teresa Green

When I discovered I had breast cancer I became obsessed with keeping my hair. Through digging on the web, I discovered a machine that was not approved by the FDA yet.

Teresa chemo cap

Elastogel Cap, available on Amazon

So I found the next best thing: Elastogel Caps. These caps can be purchased on Amazon or other suppliers. The staff at Texas Oncology and Texas Radiation did not think I would be able to succeed at keeping my hair. The past women several years prior had not had success, either.

I had this one area in my life I tried to control. I became quite upset when I heard of a company out of Dallas that was charging a lot of money to rent out the caps, cooler and instructions. My heart broke knowing that if I could do this on my own then other chemo people would follow with my help and the others after me.

What you will need:

  • One large cooler with wheels and handle.
  • Three blocks of dry ice
  • Six Elastogel caps (purchased here)

Directions:

  • Twenty-four hours prior, purchase the dry ice.
  • Lay the caps in the cooler so that they are frozen for the next day. (Be careful and don’t touch the dry ice with your bare hands).
  • One hour before the chemo infusion, wet your hair and apply the shower cap that is shipped with each cap.
  • Pull the cap on and adjust it with the strap.
  • The caps should be changed every 30 minutes in order to keep your head cold.
  • After the last infusion, please try to continue freezing your head for up to three hours. The chemo has less of a chance to circulate in the scalp area; this is why the hair stays intact. The very crown of your head is your warmest point so this is where you usually see hair loss.
Teresa with surgeon

Teresa Green

You must do this with every infusion.

The nurses at Texas oncology are now familiar with these! Yes you get cold and yes you feel silly but when you are able to look in the mirror regardless of the breast scars or the expanders or the port that may be exposed, having my hair made me more at peace. I felt better about the process, Going through the treatments I just had the most positive outlook, I was extremely grateful this worked and you can do it too! Ask your doctor first!

My battle with breast cancer and finding my Daily Greens

By: Shauna Martin

Shauna Martin headshot

Shauna Martin, Daily Greens CEO

I vividly recall sitting on the floor of my shower with water and tears streaming down my face trying to figure it all out. I could not stop thinking . . . why? Why me? What did I do wrong? On July 28, 2005, my son’s first birthday, I had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of thirty-three.  My life was flashing before my eyes, as I struggled with the question of whether I was ready to die or not.

It did not take me long to conclude, that I was in fact not ready to die. 

I had a young child to live for! I knew I had to muster the strength to get out of the shower and take care of my family, but 9 months of chemotherapy and a year of surgeries to first remove my breasts and then reconstruct them had left me weak, bald and hopeless.  After all that I had been through my doctors told me I still had up to a 40% chance of a recurrence. I thought, how could that possibly be, after everything I had done to fight my cancer over the past two years?  I knew one thing for sure, I had to stay alive for my son, so I resolved to get up off the shower floor and do something about it.


I had heard that food could have powerful healing attributes, so I decided to investigate. I read everything I could get my hands on, and my journey lead me to understand that a plant-based diet filled with raw vegetables could not only help detox my body from all the toxins from my breast cancer treatment, but it could also potentially prevent a recurrence of my breast cancer. I was so excited to finally find something that would be under my control, so I went for it.

I read that the most efficient way to consume raw veggies was to juice them, so I ordered my first juicer and started making a green juice every day. The effects were immediate and undeniable. I immediately started to regain my energy and my former stamina. My hair grew back quickly, my skin and eyes started to glow.  I was blown away, so I studied further and determined that the right thing for me was to move to a fully plant-based diet.  This took several years of slowly eliminating animal protein from my diet, but when I finally got there the result was amazing. I am still fully vegan and plant based, 10 years later, and it enables me to be the best version of myself each and every day.

I was so enthusiastic about my newfound fountain of youth that I could not contain myself and started to evangelize my friends and family about the benefits of drinking a daily green juice and eating a more plant-based diet.  I had many converts over the years, but after several months most would put away their juicer and conclude that it was just too difficult to do on a daily basis.  I realized that if I was going to get folks to stick to a regime of drinking a daily green juice I was going to have to make it for them.

So after practicing corporate law for 18 years, I set out to research the technology needed to produce cold-pressed green juice on a massive scale. My mission and vision was to get a green juice into the hands of every American every single day.


At midnight one Friday night in December 2012 I made 60 bottles of green juice with the help of my cousin, and early the next morning I took it to the farmer’s market. It was a massive hit, and Daily Greens was born. Today, just 3 and a half years later, Daily Greens is nationally distributed in over 3,000 retail outlets in not only Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway, Kroger’s, Sprouts, but in dozens of other regional and independent retailers as well.

Shauna with juiceWhile I am so proud of everything that Daily Greens has accomplished, I am not about to forget my roots and the struggle that lead me to this place. Since inception, Daily Greens has donated 1% percent of sales directly to organizations like Komen Austin that provide support and services to young women battling breast cancer.

Eleven years later, I now know the answer to the “Why?”

I was meant to go on my breast cancer journey and struggle so that I could help bring a message of health and hope to America!

I Race for My Community

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.