Calling All Artists: Design the 2016 Komen Race for the Cure® T-shirt!

TShirtContest_625x288_SubmitEach year, more than a million people across the globe participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® series. Each participant has a personal story. Race participants run in honor of someone they’ve lost. They walk to support a friend or loved one currently battling breast cancer. They walk for themselves. No matter their story, they rise before the sun, put on their Komen Race T-shirt and join a community to race for a better future.

As we look to the future, we need your help…and your creativity! We’re calling on all breast cancer survivors, co-survivors and our supporters to help us design the shirt that a million fellow walkers and runners will be wearing in 2016. Would you like to showcase your original art on the front of our 2016 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure T-shirts worn at Races around the world? Get creative and help us inspire!

Want to submit a T-shirt design? Simply follow the guidelines below: 

  • Design theme should be focused on the power and passion of a global community coming together for a common goal – to end breast cancer
  • Please do not use stock images, photos, copyrighted work or clip art, we are looking for your original designs
  • The design should include the color pink and up to 5 additional colors from this palette
  • Please submit your entry as a web-friendly image (.jpeg, png, pdf) not to exceed 5MB in size

This is YOUR Race T-shirt for YOUR community, so don’t wait! The due date is July 26.

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Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure: Survivors Standing in Solidarity

Guest Writer: Shelby Narike, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Intern

I experienced the big, pink whirlwind weeks leading up to the Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure in the temporary position of intern; however, I experienced Race Day in my newly permanent role: breast cancer survivor.

Lexie Sprague and Shelby Narike, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing interns, Summer 2015

Lexie Sprague and Shelby Narike, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing interns, Summer 2015

I discovered the Komen internship opportunity because I was desperately trying to make sense of why I had breast cancer. After beginning my internship, I have learned that the why is unimportant; the how is what matters. How is this going to shape me? How am I going to use this? How am I going to make something good out of this?

I decided to make something positive out of my diagnosis by interning with Susan G. Komen, an organization that diligently fights the very breast cancer that rattled my life and continues to rattle the lives of others.

In the weeks leading up to June 13, 2015, I assisted the wonderful women of Susan G. Komen St. Louis in preparation for the 17th Annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure as a public relations and marketing intern. Lexie, my fellow intern, and I were warmly welcomed into the Komen St. Louis office. These first few weeks as an intern are a caffeine-fueled blur in my mind. My coworkers are magical women who somehow manage infinite tasks to insure the Race runs smoothly. Lexie and I tried our best to assist in anything and everything Race-related.

Lexie and I arrived in Downtown St. Louis at 5 am with eager anticipation of the day we had both only experienced vicariously through the memories of our coworkers. The office attire had been jeans and purple Komen Committee T-shirts all week long, but on Saturday, I transitioned from my well-worn purple tee to the pink shirt of survivors. Race Day was one day shy of the six “monthiversary” of my bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction. I put on my pink shirt with a brief wave of emotion at how far I had come.

Shelby and co-intern Lexie pink-ing their hair before dawn on Race day 2015

Shelby and co-intern Lexie pink-ing their hair before dawn on Race day 2015

I was diagnosed with stage one invasive ductal breast cancer on December 19, 2014 while home in St. Louis for winter break during my junior year at Tulane University. I was only 20 years old. My cancer experience has been a lucky one. I did not have to suffer through chemotherapy or radiation. At 21 years old now, I am cancer-free.

Wearing the pink survivor T-shirt was a big step for me. I spent the first few months of 2015 avoiding people. I do not mind talking about my situation, but I struggled to deal with people’s initial reactions. I felt an irrational guilt for watching people worry about me. I would much rather have cancer than have to watch someone I love have cancer. I know my loved ones feel the exact same way about me…they would rather be sick than have me be sick. I dreaded making people think that way.

St. Louis can feel so small to the point of always seeing someone who you know everywhere you go. I was sick of going out and having people ask me why I was not in New Orleans at school. I hated catching people off-guard with some variation of “Oh, yeah I’m not in school this semester because I have breast cancer. How are you?” I was tired of the shock, the sympathy, and the feeling I was ruining someone’s day. I did not want to leave my house.

Survivor Procession at the 2015 Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure

Survivor Procession at the 2015 Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure

Fast-forward a few months, and I’m leading the survivors’ procession at the Race for the Cure in front of thousands of people and multiple cameras. Helen Chesnut, Komen St. Louis executive director and breast cancer survivor, kindly asked me to join her in leading the procession. I was overwhelmed by the sea of pink-shirted survivors at the Race.

Raising money is not the only thing the Race does for those affected by the disease. The Race provides the opportunity for unity, for support, for awareness, for closure. The Race allowed me to be surrounded by survivors and loved-ones who were filled with conflicting relief, anger, hope, grief, comfort, pain, and resilience just like me. Not one person greeted me with shock or sympathy. I was greeted with immeasurable solidarity. We hugged, we shed tears, we breathed as a unified whole. It was in this moment that I found closure. I finally felt like I could close the short cancer chapter of my life.

It happened. It’s over. I’m standing here. We are standing here.

* * *

Shelby is a senior at Tulane University majoring in public relations and English at the School of Liberal Arts. She is a member of Chi Omega.

Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure: An Intern’s Perspective

Guest Writer: Lexie Sprague, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Intern

It’s May 18, 2015. I’m walking into the welcoming and friendly and entirely pink office that is going to be my second home for the summer. It is my first day as an intern at Komen St. Louis, so of course I am nervous beyond belief. Janet greets me as I walk in. “Hi, Lexie! It’s good to see you again. Come on back, we’re just having a staff meeting.” Oh no, I thought, a staff meeting? Was I supposed to prepare for this? As if I wasn’t nervous enough.

I walk into the back room to an intimidatingly full table, and then spot some mini donuts in the center of it. Okay, they like donuts, so they can’t be that scary. This might not be so bad. We start with introductions, and a small sense of relief washes over me as I realize I only have to remember six names. Helen, Janet, Bree, Kathy, Sandy, Shelby. I can do that. More relief as I realize how comforting it is to know Shelby is going to be interning with me, so maybe we could have some sort of intern-alliance, or maybe our office can be called Intern-Headquarters, or something fun like that. Helen begins to address us. Ooops, I interrupted my own daydream, better focus. “For the first month of your internship, we are going to be solely focused on Race for the Cure, because June 13th will be here before you know it…”

* * *

Lexie Sprague and Shelby Narike, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing interns, Summer 2015

Lexie Sprague and Shelby Narike, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing interns, Summer 2015

Fast forward two weeks, the Race is right around the corner, and the office is in full swing (to say the least). I see so many new faces as our awesome volunteers are in and out of the office all day. Gone were the days where Shelby and I didn’t know how to work the phones, use the copy machine, and hadn’t even heard of “Convio” (the database Komen uses) before.

The phone is ringing. “Komen St. Louis, this is Lexie, how may I help you?” I walk to the back room to try and find the answer to the question this caller has. Wow, so many boxes back here, I think, just in time for me to trip over one. When did that one get there?! I finish up with the phone call, and head back to my desk to return to the stack of registrations I was just entering. Crap, where did the one I was just holding in my hand go? Janet steps out of her office and says to Shelby and me, “We’re leaving for the KSDK window around 9:20! Bring your umbrella — it’s pouring out.” What? It’s already Wednesday again? How many days in a row have I worn this purple committee shirt? Should I wash it? I momentarily flash back to yesterday’s conversation when Shelby and I had asked what time to plan on arriving on Race day. Bree had told us, “well… we’ll get to watch the sunrise together!” What could that possibly mean? Oh shoot, no time to think about that now, there’s the phone again.

* * *

June 13. Helen was right; it got here before we knew it. Why is my alarm clock going off? Am I dreaming? It’s 4:00 am, and I’m rolling out of bed. A college student out of bed before the sun: now that’s a sight to see. My phone lights up indicating a text from Shelby, letting me know she’s here to pick me up. I walk out the front door of my apartment into the pitch black morning (is it morning yet?), my purple committee shirt nicely offset by my pink tutu. Ah, there’s Shelby’s car. We hit the road and my mind slowly becomes less fuzzy with each sip of the life-saving coffee provided by Shelby’s mom. We finally get the car parked and find our purple-shirted bosses, throw some pink chalk in our hair, and it’s go time.

Janet gives us our first task of the morning. Shelby and I are racing around the Race site (on a golf cart!), visiting each sponsor tent to make sure we can get samples of the Sponsors’ Square giveaways over to the KSDK truck for them to talk about on air. After this task was complete, we spent the next hour behind stage checking people in as they arrived for their respective stage assignments, looking around in amazement at the massive amounts of people. I momentarily got lost in my own thoughts. All of these people are here to add ammunition to the battle against breast cancer. How cool is that? Finally, the emcee announced that it was time for the survivor procession to begin.

Lexie and co-intern Shelby pink-ing their hair before dawn on Race day 2015

Lexie and co-intern Shelby pink-ing their hair before dawn on Race day 2015

I knew what the survivor procession would look like. Heck, there are pictures all over the office displaying that exact moment from previous years of the Race. But I quickly found out that I didn’t really know.

Front and center, leading this year’s survivor procession was Helen, our fearless executive director, walking hand in hand with Shelby, my ever-inspiring co-intern. This duo was the embodiment of what it means to say “breast cancer knows no boundaries.”

Following them was an absolute sea of pink. And as I stood there awestruck, I thought, this is them. Standing there watching the procession made me realize that these women, and their families, were exactly who Komen is working for. If the frenzy of work wasn’t put in each and every week, both locally and nationally, it’s a strong possibility that not all of those women would be walking in the 2015 procession. Each one of those ladies, dressed in pink, walking down the street to ‘We Are Family,’ found the strength to say “sorry cancer, you picked the wrong girl.” And having even a small, intern-level role in the lives of these women was more than enough to bring me to tears. That procession was the most moving and powerful moment I have seen in my twenty years.

The rest of the day was just as inspiring. Shelby and I found ourselves at the finish line, keeping track of winners, as well as hanging out with the Cardinals’ Wives to oversee that each breast cancer survivor got the pink rose they deserved upon crossing the finish line. Every second I spent on Race day was more than worth it, and I couldn’t believe when it was over and time to go home. I honestly thought I knew what it would be like to be so closely involved with Race for the Cure. But I realize now that I didn’t know the half of it.

That single morning changed my entire viewpoint of the weeks leading up to the Race. The phone calls we received were no longer just questions needing to be answered; each one was now one more person that was able to have an amazing experience on Race day. The forms all over the office were no longer simply registrations or donations; each one was now helping one more woman in need that will be able to go and get a mammogram. The daily whirlwind of activity around the office was no longer simply a flurry of activity; it was a group of absolutely inspiring individuals doing something about their unrelenting passion to end breast cancer forever.

I still find myself reflecting on the Race today. The day was nothing short of incredible and I know that I will be forever grateful to have had the chance to share it with everyone involved. I wholeheartedly hope it is known that whether you wore a purple committee shirt, blue volunteer shirt, or white participant shirt that day, you gave the survivors in pink the celebration that they deserved, and you are the reason that Komen is one step closer to its vision of a world without breast cancer.

* * *

Lexie is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in marketing and psychology at the Olin Business School. She is part of the Goldman Fellows Program and is a member of the WUSTL Women’s Soccer team and Pi Beta Phi.

Komen’s Partnership with Joan Lunden

JoanLunden_Email header 1We are expanding Komen’s outreach through Joan Lunden’s new streaming subscription-based television network devoted to breast cancer, and overall health and wellness.

One year ago, Joan Lunden heard those unforgettable words: You have breast cancer. The daughter of a cancer surgeon, and one of the country’s most beloved television personalities and journalists, Joan knew she wanted to share her story publicly. That experience inspired this channel.

ALIVE with Joan Lunden is TV designed specifically for all of us going through the breast cancer journey as a patient, survivor, family member or friend. It offers daily video content that informs, educates, empowers, and offers access to Joan and breast cancer researchers, advocates and survivors, many of whom are funded or supported by Komen.

Joan Lunden Video StillJoan is offering Komen supporters a free, two-week subscription to the channel. Information about this special offer is available by clicking the link below. After the free trial period, 15 percent of the $9.95 monthly subscription fee will be donated to Susan G. Komen to help further our mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever.

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Komen St. Louis’ 2015 Volunteer of the Year: Renee Hall

Komen St. Louis has a small (but mighty) staff of just four people. We would not be where we are today without the extensive help of our amazing volunteers. Whether it’s a contribution of one hour or many hours of time, we appreciate the support of all of our volunteers who join us in the year-round fight against breast cancer.

Renee Hall accepts the 2015 Komen St. Louis Volunteer of the Year Award from Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut

Renee Hall accepts the 2015 Komen St. Louis Volunteer of the Year Award from Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut

The recipient of the 2015 Komen St. Louis Volunteer of the Year Award, presented at our 6th Annual Power of the Promise luncheon, is the embodiment of the passion and drive that is needed to beat breast cancer.

Renee Ribble Hall has given countless hours and invaluable service to Komen St. Louis. She has been with our organization since the very beginning — as a member of the Junior League that completed the application for the inaugural Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure and as a member of the first Board of Directors for Komen St. Louis.

Since then, she has filled many roles for Komen St. Louis: Race Director, Race Co-Chair, Board Member, Board President. Her strong passion for the cause has motivated her to make a difference and take the lead.

At the Komen St. Louis Race, she is always one of the first people on the Race site and one of the last to leave.

She has given countless hours and invaluable service in support of the Komen St. Louis mission. She is an inspiration.

Thank you for your long-standing dedication to Komen St. Louis, Renee!

Komen St. Louis’ 2015 Community Partner of the Year: MoBap’s “Reaching the Underserved” Program

We are fortunate to work side by side with committed health care professionals and organizations that provide quality breast health care to women, men and families in our community. These partners dedicate themselves year-round to provide breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient navigation and support services to individuals in need in the St. Louis region.

Theresa Taylor of the Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center accepts the Komen St. Louis 2015 Community Partner of the Year Award from Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut

Theresa Taylor of the Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center accepts the Komen St. Louis 2015 Community Partner of the Year Award from Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut

The recipient of the 2015 Komen St. Louis Community Partner of the Year Award is committed to supporting the mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever. We were delighted to present this award to Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center’s “Reaching the Underserved” Program at our 6th Annual Power of the Promise luncheon.

With funding from Komen St. Louis, this program provides increased access to breast screening and diagnostic services, along with breast health education and outreach.

Through the Reaching the Underserved program, a mammography van travels throughout the area, including many rural communities where women may not otherwise have access to mammograms. Through the program’s educational component, individuals throughout our community learn the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

2015-2016 is the 14th year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.

Congratulations to Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center and all involved with the “Reaching the Underserved” program! Thank you for your year-round effort!