Komen St. Louis Race Participants Provide Lifeline to Patients, Grants to Researchers

Two years ago, Joanne Wilson discovered a mass in her breast. New to her job, she hadn’t qualified yet for employer-sponsored health insurance. And her diagnosis wasn’t good: Stage III cancer.

“You don’t think about health insurance until you don’t have it and something happens,” said Wilson, 51. “It was a lot of pressure on me.”

Thanks in part to funds raised from the annual Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure®, Wilson found treatment at Siteman Cancer Center.

The journey hasn’t been easy, of course. Wilson underwent surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and suffers from lingering nerve damage. She hasn’t been able to return to work.

“But I’m here,” she said, celebrating seven months of remission. “Thank God I am here.”

Breast cancer patient Joanne Wilson (left) credits her daughter, Saffiyah Muhammad (right), friend Bernice McKinney (not pictured), Susan G. Komen St. Louis and others for helping her through treatment.

Breast cancer patient Joanne Wilson (left) credits her daughter, Saffiyah Muhammad (right), friend Bernice McKinney (not pictured), Susan G. Komen St. Louis and others for helping her through treatment.

The assistance Wilson received makes her an enthusiastic supporter of the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, to be held June 13 in downtown St. Louis. She’ll participate in the event with her team from Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church of Jennings.

“I would tell anyone, ‘walk the race, run the race, wear your pink, do whatever you’ve got to do to raise awareness about this horrible, horrible disease,’ ” Wilson said.

St. Louis-area Race participants have raised tens of millions of dollars to fight breast cancer. Of the net proceeds, 75 percent stays in St. Louis to help Siteman and other organizations provide breast cancer screenings and patient navigation support.

With Komen St. Louis funds, Siteman has increased the number of area women who have been screened and reduced the number who receive late-stage diagnoses. Services offered through the Breast Health Care for At-Risk Communities project include: education, outreach, diagnosis and referral to a medical oncology navigator for support during treatment.

“Komen St. Louis’ help is essential in Siteman’s outreach efforts,” said Susan Kraenzle, RN, manager of support services at Siteman. “Without Komen we simply would not be able to provide screening to the underserved at the levels we do.”

Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure registration fees and donations also fund research. To date, Washington University scientists at Siteman have received more than $20 million in Komen funding. The most recent grants were $450,000 each to identify:

  • New therapeutic options for hormone resistance caused by estrogen receptor gene aberrations in breast cancer patients. Jieya Shao, PhD, a Washington University assistant professor of medicine and Siteman Cancer Center member, is the lead researcher.
  • Estrogen receptor positive breast cancer patients who might not respond to hormone therapy, and to identify possible alternative therapies. Christopher Maher, PhD, a Washington University assistant professor of medicine, assistant director of the McDonnell Genome Institute and Siteman Cancer Center member, leads this project.

Race for the Cure participants in St. Louis make the grants possible, including the one that helped Wilson get the treatment she needed.

“I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for Komen St. Louis and Siteman putting me in touch with available resources,” she said. “That was one less thing I had to worry about.”

To register for or donate to the 2015 Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, visit www.komenstlouis.org/Race.

Susan G. Komen® St. Louis and The Breast HealthCare Center at Missouri Baptist: Partnering Together to Help Women in Need Region Wide

The fear of breast cancer is something that’s haunted Jodi Roberts, 49, of Fredericktown, MO, for nearly 30 years. “It’s like I’ve been living my adult life, constantly looking over my shoulder, just waiting for it to find me. Deep down, I always knew it would show up someday,” she said.

Jodi has a strong family history of breast cancer. Two of her aunts battled the disease. One survived, and the other didn’t. Jodi’s mother was diagnosed at the age of 44, and elected to undergo a mastectomy of the one breast. However, the cancer soon returned in the other breast. This time, it was much more invasive, leaving her with a grim prognosis. Sadly, she lost her battle at age 46.

Jodi Roberts

Jodi Roberts

Jodi was only 21 at the time, but she remembers it well. “It was hard to watch my mother suffer from breast cancer, but it also reminded me that I needed to be proactive when it came to my own breast health,” she said.

Jodi kept her commitment to her health, undergoing mammograms every year, starting when she was in her thirties. Due to financial constraints, Jodi has relied on the services of the Missouri Baptist Medical Center digital mammography van and the hospital’s “Reaching the Underserved” program.

Funded by a Susan G. Komen® St. Louis grant for the past 13 years, the Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center’s “Reaching the Underserved” program provides the hospital with resources to support uninsured and underinsured at-risk women (ages 40 to 64) throughout the region. Services are provided at the hospital’s main campus in Town & Country and on its digital mammography van, which travels to neighborhoods across St. Louis and rural towns throughout Missouri. Follow-up breast health services are provided at Missouri Baptist for women with mammography abnormalities.

“Jodi started undergoing her annual screening mammograms with our outreach program in 2010,” said Theresa Taylor, an outreach coordinator for the Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center and a two-time breast cancer survivor. “With our program, we educate women by emphasizing the importance of early detection and how annual mammography screenings can save your life, especially someone like Jodi with such a strong family history.”

In September 2014, Jodi had her annual mammogram on Missouri Baptist’s digital mammography van when it traveled to Fredericktown. A couple weeks later, she received a letter indicating there was an abnormality in her left breast, which required further testing. So Jodi underwent a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound; however, the results were inconclusive. That’s when the medical team at Missouri Baptist recommended a biopsy.

Theresa Taylor

Theresa Taylor

On December 5, 2014, Jodi was told the news she had feared for almost 30 years: she had breast cancer. “Even though I wasn’t surprised about my diagnosis, I was still nervous about what was to come. I’ve seen the effects of breast cancer firsthand,” said Jodi.

Jodi then met with Paul Yazdi, MD, FACS, a breast surgeon and surgical director of the Missouri Baptist Breast HealthCare Center, to discuss her diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis. Although Jodi’s breast cancer was stage zero, it was also triple negative, so hormone treatments weren’t an option.

“After watching my mom suffer, I knew having a mastectomy would be the best decision for me. I also didn’t want to take any chances, so I opted for a double mastectomy,” said Jodi. “The last thing I want to worry about is having it come back in the other breast like it did with my mom.”

Dr. Yazdi supported Jodi’s decision, and on January 13, 2015, he performed a successful bilateral mastectomy on Jodi. Her recovery went very smoothly with no issues. More importantly, the breast cancer was contained within the ducts and completely removed. “I am really lucky, because we caught it early. I am living-proof that early detection saves lives,” said Jodi.

Jodi’s breast cancer services – two mammograms, ultrasound and biopsy – were covered by the Komen St. Louis-funded “Reaching the Underserved” grant program. Without this program, Jodi would not have been able to afford the cancer care she needed.

“I am very grateful to the medical team at MoBap’s Breast HealthCare Center. They made the entire process so much easier, holding my hand from the very beginning, explaining all of the treatment options, and helping me find the financial support I needed,” said Jodi. “And of course, I am very thankful for my wonderful husband, Lee, who has been my rock throughout this entire journey.”

The future looks bright for Jodi. Thanks to regular screenings, she is confident that she avoided the same fate as her mother. She is also confident that her daughter, Amanda, 26, will be just as proactive about getting her annual mammogram when the time comes. Jodi hopes that by sharing her story, women – including those who are uninsured and underinsured – will better understand the value of annual mammograms. According to Jodi, “it’s the best defense in the fight against breast cancer.”

“I am blessed to be in this position to offer these breast health services to so many women in need in our local and rural communities,” said Theresa. “Jodi is a great example of how the money raised for Susan G. Komen St. Louis is invested directly into our community to help those who need it most.”   

We are Mobile!

APP_imageNew for 2015, the FREE Susan G. Komen St. Louis app is available now for iPhone and iPad. Android version is coming soon.

Search for the Susan G. Komen St. Louis app in the App Store.

Download the app. Access information on the go about the 2015 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, register for the Race, donate to the Race, post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and more.

Give STL Day – 5.5.15 | Midnight to Midnight

GiveSTLDay_OneDayWhat can we do in a day?

Let’s see how much support we can generate for Susan G. Komen St. Louis  and other St. Louis area nonprofit organizations in only 24 hours – from midnight to midnight, on Tuesday, May 5.

Visit GiveSTLDay.org on May 5 and donate to Komen St. Louis and other nonprofits you care about.

There will be prizes and incentives awarded throughout the day to help make even more of an impact with your donation dollars.

We’re excited to be one of 790 nonprofits participating in Give STL Day 2015.

We are all in this together, and we can only succeed with your support.

Click here to support Susan G. Komen St. Louis on May 5.

Let’s see what we can do in one day!

Four Women of St. Louis Radio to Serve as Honorary Co-Chairs for 2015 Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure®

Race_2015_WebBanner_HonChairs4Four women of St. Louis radio will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 17th Annual Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure®. Carol Daniel, Judi Diamond, Jen Myers and Julie Tristan are lending their voices and their support to the local fight against breast cancer.

Carol Daniel began her career at KMOX 1120 AM, “the Voice of St. Louis,” in 1995 as an anchor, reporter and talk show host.

Judi Diamond is the former co-host and executive producer of the award-winning Cornbread morning show on 92.3 WIL. She now hosts her own show on the station.

Jen Myers has been with Y98 for more than 13 years and this year is celebrating a decade of waking up St. Louis as part of the Phillips and Company Morning Show.

Julie Tristan is the co-host of “Billy & Julie in the Morning” on 103.3 KLOU-FM.

“We are excited to have these dynamic women of St. Louis radio serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 2015 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure,” said Helen Chesnut, executive director of Susan G. Komen® St. Louis. “Carol Daniel, Judi Diamond, Jen Myers and Julie Tristan speak to so many in our community every day. With their support of the Komen St. Louis mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever, there is great potential to make a significant impact in the fight against breast cancer in the St. Louis region through the 2015 Komen St. Louis Race.”

The funds raised at the Komen St. Louis Race will directly impact the breast health needs of local women, men and families.

Seventy-five percent of the net funds raised by Komen St. Louis stays in the local community to fund life-saving breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient navigation programs. The remaining 25 percent funds cutting-edge breast cancer research in St. Louis and beyond.

Registration for the 2015 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure is open at www.komenstlouis.org/Race.

All Race registration fees, fundraising dollars and donations help give strength to the fight against breast cancer.

Komen St. Louis Prep Academy – May 2

Race_KomenPrepAcademy_2015_0502You are invited to enroll in the inaugural class of Komen St. Louis Prep Academy!

Komen St. Louis Prep Academy: Saturday, May 2, 9 am – 1 pm, at Harris-Stowe State University’s Emerson Performance Center (3026 Laclede Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63103)

Join us and learn how you can give strength to the local fight against breast cancer.

  • “Prep” for the Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure®
  • Gain knowledge about Komen St. Louis Race registration, Team member recruitment, fundraising, volunteering and more
  • Test your breast health smarts
  • Get schooled (in a good way) on Komen St. Louis’ mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever
  • Understand how Race registration fees, donations and fundraising dollars all give strength to women, men and families in our community

Stop by any time between 9 am and 1 pm.

Attend a Komen St. Louis Race 101 session at 10 am or 12 pm.

Questions? Email teams@komenstlouis.org.

6th Annual Power of the Promise – May 3, 2015

Web Banner Large_Power of the Promise 2015You’re invited to the 6th Annual Power of the Promise luncheon – an afternoon of celebration, inspiration and education.

We know you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the great new and returning booths at the vendor expo, bid on raffle baskets and enjoy the live music. Plus, Bridget DuMont and Ben DuMont, 2013 Susan G. Komen National Co-Survivor of the Year, will share the story of their breast cancer journey.

Tickets are $25. To buy your ticket, click here. Space is limited. We look forward to seeing you there!

Questions? Contact Bree DeGraw, bdegraw@komenstlouis.org or 314.569.3900