What You Don’t Know About Susan G. Komen®

This weekend, the Toledo Walleye and ProMedica are teaming up in the fight against breast cancer by hosting a 3-game “Pink in the Rink” weekend at the Huntington Center on Feb. 26-28. These games bring together survivors, families, and hockey fans to celebrate breast cancer awareness and have fun.

Komen Race
The annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure takes place locally in Toledo and Findlay each September.

The event also supports Susan G. Komen® Northwest Ohio. When you think of Susan G. Komen, you probably think about the ribbons, bumper stickers, and countless other items turned pink for breast cancer awareness. Maybe you’ve walked in our annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® events or donated to someone’s fundraising campaign.

But how much do you really know about why Susan G. Komen® Northwest Ohio exists and what we do?

Allow us to (re)introduce ourselves

Susan G. Komen® is the world’s largest breast cancer organization. We help millions of women and men in more than 30 countries by funding $889 million in breast cancer research and providing $1.95 billion in real-time funding for screening, education, treatment, and psychosocial support programs.

Komen Northwest Ohio is an affiliate of the Komen organization.

“We are an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization managed by a local governing board of directors committed to changing the face of breast cancer in the 24 counties in Northwest Ohio and Monroe County, Michigan we serve,” says Teresa McHugh, president, Board of Directors, Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio.

Of the money we raise, 75 percent stays here to fund local programs and 25 percent funds national breast cancer research. Nothing raised locally supports national operations.

The local need is intense

As you’d likely expect, we’re fanatical about monitoring the data and statistics about breast cancer in our area. Sadly, that information shows urgent needs for breast health and breast cancer awareness, education, and services.

The breast cancer death rate for Northwest Ohio is six percent higher than the breast cancer death rate for the United States. Each month in our 24-county service area, 20 women die from breast cancer. More than 32 women are diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer. Every month.

But that’s the bad news. The good news is that we are actively seeking the cures and helping those battling this disease.

“We’re waging an all-out war against breast cancer,” says Aubrey Whewell, MPH, community outreach manager, Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio. “Our mission is to live in a world without breast cancer and we’re fighting every day to make that happen.”

What we’re doing about it

We’ve given away more than $12 million to breast cancer programs in Northwest Ohio and Monroe County, Michigan since our founding in 1999. The 5-year relative survival rate for early-diagnosis breast cancer has risen from 74 percent in 1980 to 99 percent today.

Here are the stats for Northwest Ohio and Monroe County, Michigan. In 2015, we provided:

  • 691 mammograms
  • 196 clinical breast exams
  • 258 diagnostic procedures
  • 197 treatment/survivorship services
  • Nearly 300 newly-diagnosed breast cancer survivor packets
  • 3,646 education/awareness activities
  • 136 referrals to screening/advocacy
  • 8 breast cancer diagnoses
  • 11 males with services

These services are provided through Komen-funded grants to local nonprofit organizations.

How you can help

Fight. Become educated, speak out, and take control of your health. No matter your situation, you have access to regular mammograms, ever-advancing treatment options, and other support. Don’t let silence or embarrassment take your life. Call us at 419-742-2873.

Celebrate. Attend our Power of the Promise event on April 28 and hear about the progress we’re making in this community. Lift up those who have survived and those who are fighting right now. Make dinner for a family fighting breast cancer. Knit a cap for someone going through chemotherapy. Be open to talking about a survivor’s journey.

Fundraise. Help us save lives and register for the Race for the Cure on Sept. 24 in Findlay and Sept. 25 in Toledo. It’s a $30 investment in someone’s life. An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 participants walk in our race events but do not register. Of those who do register, only 9 percent fundraise. If all our friends would simply register and fundraise an additional $20, we could almost double our grant-funding ability.

Care. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. This could be your mother, sister, cousin, neighbor, or friend. It could be you. Join us at “Pink in the Rink” this weekend and help us fight to end breast cancer and create a world without this disease.

Get your tickets here: http://www.toledowalleye.com/tickets/recognition-game-days/pink-in-the-rink.


Desmond Strooh Komen

Desmond Strooh is the marketing and communications manager for Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio.