Austin Spurs Coach Ken McDonald is Passionate about Pink

Each year, the Austin Spurs put on their pink jerseys to support Susan G. Komen Austin for PINK night. We at Susan G. Komen Austin are proud and excited to be associated with such great advocates.

We had the chance to catch up with Coach Ken McDonald to ask him a few questions about coaching and why he supports our cause here at Susan G. Komen Austin.

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Coach Ken McDonald has been coaching the Austin Spurs for four seasons.

1. You’ve been coaching the Austin Spurs for a few seasons. What is the best part of coaching this team? 
Watching our players develop and having opportunities to advance their careers – whether it be NBA call-ups or overseas opportunities.

 

2. From your experience so far, what has been your favorite part of PINK night in previous years?
I have several pink ties, so it gives me an excuse to wear one. ☺

“It’s a great team effort to raise awareness and we look forward to it every year.”
– Austin Spurs Head Coach Ken McDonald

3. What makes you passionate about supporting Susan G. Komen Austin?
This is a cause that is dear to my heart. I understand the importance of this fight having a mother that beat breast cancer before succumbing to lung cancer. It’s a great reminder to all of us how precious our time is.

4. When did you become involved in advocating for breast cancer awareness?

Since college I’ve become so much more aware of how many people are affected by this deadly disease. Fortunately, my mom was able to battle against this horrible disease, but I remember all those who unfortunately have not. My heart goes out to all of those families.

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Survivors and Forever Fighters line the court at the 2015 PINK Night recognition ceremony.

 

5. On a scale from 1 to 10, how excited are you and your players to wear pink on PINK night?It’s a great night for our team and staff as we all dress in pink (team jerseys and all!). It’s a great team effort to raise awareness and we look forward to it every year.


Ken McDonald is entering his fourth season as head coach with the Austin Spurs. He served as an assistant coach during the 2012-13 season with the Toros, helping lead the team to a 27-23 overall record and to the semifinals of the 2013 NBA D-League Playoffs. McDonald has also served as head coach at Western Kentucky University (2008-11), where he led the team to the Sun Belt Regular Season Championship and Sun Belt Tournament Championship (2009). McDonald spent four seasons (2008-2012) as an assistant coach at the University of Texas under Head Coach Rick Barnes, who he has considered his mentor during his coaching career. In addition to guiding the Longhorns to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, he also helped the team reach a 106-35 (.752) record throughout the four seasons he was with the team, which is still ranked as the most victories in a four-year period in school history. McDonald has also served as an assistant coach at the University of Georgia (2003-04), Western Kentucky University (1998-2003) and Clemson University (1994-98). He graduated from Providence College, where he played shooting guard (1991-92), before playing professionally for the St. Paul Revelles in Ireland (1993-94). While playing at the Community College of Rhode Island (1989-90) prior to transferring to Providence, McDonald was a first-team Junior College All-American and set school records for single-season scoring (754 points) and 3-pointers made in a game (9) and season (109). McDonald was born and raised in Providence, R.I. He has one daughter, Ella, who was born in 2008. 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

BE
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.