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.

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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

Breastfeeding Can Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

Every year in August, people around the world celebrate and spread awareness about the many benefits of breastfeeding. The World Breastfeeding Week Organization highlights how breastfeeding is the “key to Sustainable Development” in various aspects of life.

Here are ways breastfeeding can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals according to the org:

  • Reduces poverty by providing a low-cost way of feeding babies and children
  • Improves health and wellbeing of mothers as well as improved development and survival of infants
  • Empowers mothers to feel supported by society to breastfeed optimally, leading to gender inequality
  • Saves water by providing all the water a baby needs in an eco-friendly way, while formula feeding requires access to clean water and sanitation
  • Reduces fossil fuels by less usage and production of formula
  • Increases likelihood of employers allowing mothers to breastfeed in the workplace or creating programs that are maternity sensitive

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we at Komen Austin want to highlight the benefits that breastfeeding has to offer. There are many lifestyle factors that can reduce the risk of breast cancer such as maintaining a healthy weight, eliminating alcohol intake and having children before the age of 30. What a lot of people may not know is that breastfeeding is also a factor in reducing the risk of breast cancer.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, breast tissue is shed causing potentially damaged cells to be removed. Research shows that a woman’s risk for breast cancer was reduced by 4.3% for every year that she breastfed, compared to mothers who did not breastfeed. The study also concluded that the longer the mother breastfed for, the lower her risk became. It should be noted that the time period spent breastfeeding could be with either one child or multiple children.

For more information about World Breastfeeding Week visit http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/.

For more information about breastfeeding and breast cancer risk visit https://ww5.komen.org/Breastcancer/Notbreastfeeding.html

Jenny Peterson, You Make Our Hearts Race

By: Jenny Peterson

I’m so excited to be serving as this year’s Komen Austin Race for the Cure Ambassador! Long before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was a Race for the Cure supporter and participant. My family and I first started walking together at RFTC after my sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.Jenny tshirtWe made T-shirts and asked friends on Facebook to give us names of people they would like us to walk in honor of and in memory of. I wrote all these names on the back of my T-shirt — you can see my mother’s name, Sue, on the left side. Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in high school, and died 10 years later from metastatic breast cancer.Jenny RFTC

As you can imagine, it was both a fun day and a bittersweet one. In this picture, I’m with my sisters-in-law and my next older sister after we’d finished the Race. We had no idea that three years later, I would be diagnosed, too.

Jenny family

My first Race for the Cure after my diagnosis.

But, diagnosed I was! It was May of 2012 and I’d just gotten engaged to my longtime sweetheart, Brett. My family and I decided to do Race for the Cure that fall while I was in the middle of treatment. I looked like the walking wounded, because I was — I’d just been diagnosed with lymphedema as a result of my surgery, so my arm was wrapped up like a burrito. I was bald, and I had balance issues because chemotherapy caused nerve damage in my feet. My brother Carl was concerned because I insisted on running down the Survivor’s Path, but no one could stop me! I was never happier to be anywhere else than I was that day — it was emotional, as you can imagine, but I felt strong, happy, and supported.

Jenny and Brett

My husband, Brett, and I at Race.

Brett and I walked RFTC again with some dear friends the following year. My friend Katherine had been diagnosed just a few months after I had, and we walked with her and her husband. A smaller crowd, but no less enthusiastic—we had a great time in the Survivor’s Tent, decorating our pink baseball caps and posing with props.

 


Jenny in garden

Today, I’m 4 years post diagnosis and doing well. While I was recuperating from my treatment, I wrote a book called “The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion: Cultivating Hope, Healing & Joy in the Ground Beneath Your Feet.” I’m a garden designer, author, and speaker, and I wanted to do something to help other people going through a cancer diagnosis. To me, the garden is one of the most healing and balancing places around, and my garden was the backdrop to my recovery.

I’m walking this year as the Komen Austin Race for the Cure Ambassador, and I couldn’t be more honored. Komen Austin paid for my $15,000 of biopsies so that I could get a timely diagnosis and start treatment, and I am forever grateful. If you have never participated in Race for the Cure, I urge you to.

Susan G. Komen Austin is the only organization in our area that deals with breast cancer on every level — prevention, mammograms, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, research, and emotional and financial support. I don’t know what I would have done without this organization, and their support meant that one of the darkest times in my life was turned into one of hope.

Race for the Cure…

  • Helps survivors know that they are strong, beautiful, and supported
  • Helps co-survivors know that they are not alone
  • Helps family and friends know that there are definable ways that they can support their loved one
  • Helps everyone else to contribute to a cause that may one day affect them or their families
  • Provides an atmosphere of hope and gratitude

Please join me this year at Race for the Cure. It’s September 25, so organize your team, plan out your insane pink outfit, come early and stay late! And know that your support means the world to me and countless others. I’ll be looking for you, and if you see me, please say hello — I’ll be the one tripping down the Survivor’s Path, yelling my fool head off.

The Power of Pink

By: Suzanne Stone

You wouldn’t think that color could change everything. That a simple shade of light would be able to inspire action, enlighten the mind, even save a life. But it does, every day. In just the past couple of weeks I’ve replaced my white front porch light with a blue one to show my support for our officers and tied black and red ribbons on my trees in remembrance of a father and son who lived just down the street but lost their lives to terror in another country. Color can stir emotion, thought, can change a mood and symbolize so much.


A few months ago I needed new running shoes. As I shopped the shelf of shoes in the sports store it was painfully obvious my choices were slim. Neon colors and bright stripes dominate the women’s athletic shoe market. Not sure why we can’t just get a simple white and black running shoe, but it seems the running shoe designers of the world have a different opinion of what we should be wearing on our 6:00 a.m. runs. Faced with a choice of bright and brighter, I opted for bright pink. A solid and strong deep bright reflective pink.  Little did I know at that moment that it would be a small sign of things to come.

Today as I end my second week as the Executive Director of Komen Austin, pink has become not just the color of my running shoes, but the driving force for my every day decisions. Our pink “running ribbon” isn’t just a logo.  It’s a symbol of strength, perseverance, survival, and the vision of a world without breast cancer.  It has become such a powerful and recognizable symbol and color. I would be surprised if you could find many who don’t immediately associate pink with Komen, breast cancer, and a person in their lives who has been touched by it.

Komen Austin embraces pink and empowers outreach organizations in our 5 county area to change the lives of the people who live in them. A woman who gets a mammogram free of charge, a patient who receives help navigating the complex world of her cancer care, a co-survivor who finds comfort in a group of people where he finds out he’s not the only one – all made possible because the power of pink, a simple color, inspired someone to give a dollar.


Tomorrow morning, I plan to put on my pink running shoes and show the sunrise I mean business. Maybe I will solve that problem that’s had me stumped. Or come up with a new idea for outreach and education. Perhaps I’ll just feel better. Regardless of the outcome, my pink shoes will carry me, inspire me and most importantly remind me of the struggle too many women are facing.

Join me. Go grab those running shoes, walking shoes, hiking shoes, river shoes or high heeled shoes and let’s get to work to make the color pink a color of celebration and a reminder of a time when breast cancer was something we still had to fight. Put aside a dollar for every mile you run, every step you take or hill you climb, donate it to Komen Austin and watch lives change. All because of a color.

Life’s Unexpected Gifts

By: Stacy Mefford

I am a 17-year breast cancer survivor and my husband, Gary, is a 17 year breast cancer co-survivor. WOW – 17 years!  As any breast cancer survivor will tell you, each year is a huge milestone and we never take those milestones lightly.  We celebrate them and appreciate them and are so grateful for them.


My Story

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 1999.  I was 45 years old.  I was healthy.  I was never sick, felt great, was active and extremely happy with my “healthy” life. When I was told I had breast cancer and that it would require surgery and aggressive treatment afterwards, I was shocked and in disbelief.  This can’t be happening.  There must be some mistake.

Well, it was happening and it wasn’t a mistake. Two surgeries later, six months of chemotherapy and 6 weeks of radiation later – believe me – I knew the reality of what was happening to me.  It may sound like it ended there, but no – it doesn’t end once the surgeries and treatments are completed.

There were follow-up doctor appointments – with ALL of my doctors for months, and years.  My immune system was so obliterated. I contracted every cold, flu and infection within five miles.  Well, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the picture.  My hair had fallen out, so I became bald. Then I had peach fuzz growing back and hair that I didn’t recognize as it continued to grow back in.  I’ve just described – in a very condensed version – some of the challenges of going through breast cancer treatment.

In January of 2000, I was told I was cancer free! What has followed, is what I prefer to focus on and share as much as I can.


Stacy & Gary 2013

Stacy with husband, Gary.

During the “cancer year”, my husband, Gary, was my rock.  He was there with me every step of the way. I know my outcome would not have been what it was without his care, love and unbelievable support and strength – every single day, night, hour, minute and second.  We had a close and loving relationship before this crisis, but through it and after it what we have was and is so much more than I can even explain. What a gift we were given in finding out (the hard way) how much love and support was a part of our relationship.

Thankfully as my body and spirit began healing and got better and stronger as time went on, Gary and I made one of the best decisions of our lives.  We joined the Komen Austin Family as volunteers for Race for the Cure.  We began our relationship with Komen Austin as volunteers on the food & beverage committee. Gary helped the committee chair’s husband, Ray, with water stops. I was given the task of finding Spirit Teams/Groups that would encourage the racers by singing, clapping and encouraging them along the way.


Race for the Cure

I can’t complete my story without putting on my Race for the Cure hat and encouraging you to participate in this year’s 18th Annual Race for the Cure.

I Race to honor those who have lost their battle to breast cancer and to celebrate survivors.  I also Race to raise critical funds and awareness. If you have already participated and registered, THANK YOU!  If you haven’t, please consider forming a team and walking or running with your family/friends/co-workers and whoever you invite to join your team.  It’s so much fun and does so much good for our community.  Here are just a few reasons why our Race Teams have so much fun and are so vital:

  1. Teammates inspire and motivate each other before and during the Race.
  2. A team can be a way for you to provide moral support for a friend or family member who is going through breast cancer treatment or is a survivor.
  3. Team Contests (largest team, top fundraising team, t-shirt contest)
  4. Forming a team is easy and at no extra cost.
  5. Best of all, teams raise more money! By raising money, these teams help us reach our ultimate goal of eradicating breast cancer that much sooner!

Funds raised by our teams are used to provide screenings, education and treatment support for the people in our community with a breast cancer diagnosis.  This is done through the funding Komen Austin makes to our Grantees.

Photos 2015 - Komen Amplify Austin Stacy 1

Stacy Mefford

We would not be able to support our local Grantees without the fundraising; so, please register for Race for the Cure and consider forming a team or register as an individual and support all the women, and men, in our community who have been affected by breast cancer.

In conclusion, I would like to report that I am healthy, but continue to go for my regular health exams each year.  I’m my own health advocate and take that job very seriously.  I urge you to do the same.