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. 

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.

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.

5 Things to Remember When You’re Training for Race Day

Congratulations for registering for a 5k! Still haven’t registered for Komen’s 18th Annual Race for the Cure yet? Look no further and visit our website. 

Signing up for any race can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time running. Training in advance guarantees success for your first race. Here are five tips to keep in mind during your training. Good Luck and Go Pink!

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1. Find a community of runners

Running with another person is a great way to hold each other accountable for staying on track with your running schedule. Register with a friend so that you both are working toward a similar goal. Everyone runs at a different pace and trains differently, so make sure to find people that have a similar experience level as you and will keep you motivated throughout your training.

2. Make a plan: look up training schedules, be consistent with your training schedule

If this is your first 5k, it is especially important that you find the right training schedule. Hundreds of schedules are posted online and easy to find. Find one that you and your running buddy can commit to. For beginners, it’s important to start with walks and then gradually add short runs into your program. This will allow you to build your endurance and establish your pace. Print some copies of your running schedule and place it on your refrigerator, office space and bathroom mirror. I really like to have it as my phone screensaver so that my run is always on my mind.

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3. Find the perfect Race day outfit

A good pair of shoes is crucial for training and Race day. If you plan on buying a new pair of kicks, make sure to give yourself at least three weeks to break them in. Find an outfit that incorporates as much pink as possible and that you are comfortable running in. The more pink the better!

4. Make time for rest and cross training

As your body is adjusting to routine runs, it needs time to recover as well. Take advantage of the given rest days in your schedule. It’s also important to make room for other workouts throughout your training. Incorporating additional exercises will build up the muscle strength to prevent any injuries during runs.

Teresa Intern picture

5. Positive thinking

Mental health can be just as important as physical health. During training, practice having a positive mindset throughout your run. When I start to feel the most tired, I visualize crossing the finish line and taking my triumphant picture holding my medal. I also like to think about the reason I am running. For Race for the Cure, I think about the struggle that people have gone through in their lives along with the pain they endured and how the pain of running right now does not compare to what they went through. A positive mindset has been proven to improve performance.

Best of luck on your 5k and thanks for registering to help end breast cancer forever.

Yours truly,

Laura Saker, Komen Austin Communications Intern