Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure Helps Eliminate Financial Barriers, Fear for Breast Cancer Patients

No stranger to bad news, Kim Beard-Morris also knows a thing or two about surviving. The 53-year-old is finishing a second successful fight against breast cancer 11 years after the first. It’s a team effort, she said.

“This is very, very difficult and stressful,” Beard-Morris said about being diagnosed a second time. “But my breast-health navigators help me out. I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

Kim Beard-Morris

Kim Beard-Morris

She is one of 4,000 breast cancer patients helped every year by the Navigator Project at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. The program, funded in large part by Susan G. Komen Missouri, assists women from medically underserved areas who are undergoing diagnosis and treatment. Navigators coordinate services and provide referrals to community and social-service resources.

The navigators, including Nedra Bramlett-Stevenson of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, offer a sympathetic ear, too. She and Beard-Morris have forged a bond, and the two shared a hug before Beard-Morris’ recent doctor’s appointment

“When I first talked with her,” Bramlett-Stevenson said, “she was upset because she didn’t want to go through this again. She thought her world was going to end.”

Since 1999, the Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure has raised more than $30 million for local breast cancer programs, including more than $7 million for the Navigator Project at Siteman. Registering for the Race is about more than raising breast cancer awareness or honoring a loved one. Contributions to the race, held this year on June 11, make a difference in the lives of thousands of St. Louis-area women.

Susan Kraenzle, RN, who manages supportive care at Siteman, said an application process determines which patients qualify for assistance through the Navigator Project. If screening results are abnormal or clinical follow-up is needed, the program ensures patients may access financial help needed to complete treatment.

“The Navigator Project is a perfect example of what Race for the Cure does for the larger community,” Kraenzle said. “With funding from the event, we’re working to eliminate not only financial barriers to treatment but also the confusion and fear that often come with a breast cancer diagnosis.”

Up to 75 percent of net money raised by the Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure stays in the region to fund education, screening, treatment and support programs such as the Navigator Project.

When Beard-Morris shared her worry about being treated a second time for breast cancer, Bramlett-Stevenson discussed how therapies had improved considerably since 2005.

“I thank God they sent me to her, said Beard-Morris, who is cancer-free again.

 Learn more about Susan G. Komen Missouri at http://www.komenmissouri.org. Register for the 2016 Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure at http://www.komenmissouri.org/STLRace.

Impact Luncheon 2016

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Susan G. Komen Missouri’s 7th Annual Impact Luncheon (formerly Power of the Promise), presented by Dowd Bennett LLP, will take place on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at the Chase Park Plaza’s Khorassan Ballroom.

Join us for this afternoon of celebration, inspiration and education. The event includes a vendor expo, Kendra Scott jewelry pull, raffle baskets, luncheon, awards presentation, the granting of Komen Missouri’s community partner funding for 2016-2017, and a special ceremony to remember those we have lost to breast cancer and honor breast cancer survivors.

Jen Myers of Y98 will serve as our Mistress of Ceremonies.
 
The event begins at 11 am with an hour to bid on raffle baskets and shop vendor booths.
The luncheon and program will begin at noon and last until 2 pm.
Tickets are $25 each and are on sale through Friday, April 22, at http://www.komenmissouri.org/ImpactLuncheon
Questions? Contact Bree Maniscalco at 314.569.3900 or bmaniscalco@komenmissouri.org.
 

Shedding a Light: Breast Cancer Research Update

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Three speakers. Thousands of possibilities. Join us for an update on breast cancer research.

Wednesday, April 13
6-8:30 pm

Emerson Auditorium, St. Luke’s Hospital

Speakers include:
Dr. Sam Achilefu, inventor/researcher, Siteman Cancer Center
Dr. Ron Bose, HER2+ and metastatic expert, Siteman Cancer Center
Dr. Teresa Deshields, psychologist, Siteman Cancer Center

6 pm – Networking
6:30 pm – Program Begins
8:30 pm – Program Ends

Location: Emerson Auditorium at St. Luke’s Hospital is located in the lower level of the North-South office buildings. Surface and garage parking.

This free, collaborative event is presented by Susan G. Komen Missouri, Cancer Support Community and the St. Louis Breast Cancer Coalition.

RSVP: www.cancersupportstl.org or call 314.238.2000

Komen Missouri Community Partner: Saint Louis University’s Navigation to Manage and Prevent Hereditary Breast Cancer Program

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The Navigation to Manage and Prevent Hereditary Breast Cancer program at Saint Louis University provides individuals with the opportunity to discover their risk of breast cancer from a hereditary standpoint and take the necessary steps to proactively beat it.

A community grant from Susan G. Komen Missouri provides funding support for this program.

Once a person receives a positive result in genetic testing, their risk of breast cancer can be determined based on the specific mutation as well as the personal and family history of the individual. SLU is now able to test for over 21 genetic mutations that have proved to increase the individual’s risk of breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen Missouri has been incredibly generous over many, many years,” says Dr. Suzanne Mahon, program manager. “The funding is paying so that anybody in the region who needs genetic counseling and education, they get it, no questions asked. They are never billed for my service.”

This counseling and education explains the benefits and potential risks of genetic testing, and whether or not the individual’s family history indicates that genetic testing is the right call.

Suzanne’s role does not stop after testing is done and a genetic mutation is discovered. A navigation piece is in place as part of the program to ensure the patient is well-informed regarding all options.

She describes, “If someone tests positive, based on the gene they test positive for, I get them to all the services that they need to manage that risk…. We have never not been able to get someone to the next step.”

A positive genetic test also suggests that genetic testing should be done on the immediate family of that individual, if age appropriate. Suzanne explains, “If we can figure out if a family has a mutation …then we can help them make good choices about how they want to manage that so they have a little more control over the situation. It’s not like, ‘well I have to just sit around and wait for this bad thing to happen’.”

Suzanne recalled the story of a 36-year old who came in for genetic testing, as her mother had breast cancer twice. The decision was made to hold off on the genetic screening, and she instead had an MRI ordered, which eventually led to a positive biopsy result. The patient decided to do a bilateral mastectomy, and would check in every so often with Suzanne to let her know how she was doing. On one of those phone calls, Suzanne informed her that there was more testing available, so she came in and ended up with a positive result for a gene mutation. This would not even have been on her radar before the test. What’s more, her mother, sisters and brother are all now coming in for genetic testing. Suzanne states, “We don’t just forget these families. We really try to stay connected to them and give them state-of-the art [care] as it is available.”

Suzanne Mahon has been involved with the Navigation to Manage and Prevent Hereditary Breast Cancer program since its origin in 1999. The program has worked with over 2,500 families in that time. “I have the most fantastic job in the world,” she says. “I get to help people change the outcome.”

This is the 11th year of Komen Missouri funding for this program.

Susan G. Komen Missouri’s community grants help fund local breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient navigation and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

Komen Missouri Community Partner: Food Outreach’s Comprehensive Nutritional Support for Low-Income Breast Cancer Clients in Greater St. Louis

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Food Outreach, Inc.’s program to give Comprehensive Nutritional Support for Low-Income Breast Cancer Clients in Greater St. Louis helps the working poor, those who may experience a significant drop in income due to breast cancer treatment, and those who have lived in poverty their entire lives. Food Outreach assists those without the resources to buy food with medically-recommended nutrients, and who could be at a great disadvantage while battling their illness.

Komen Missouri’s community grant funding for Food Outreach’s program provides nutritional support to low-income women who are going through breast cancer treatments in the greater St. Louis area.

The program also provides personal nutrition counseling and nutrition education classes, helping participants with their nutrition through their treatments and the rest of their lives.

The Komen Missouri grant allows Food Outreach to enroll 60 low-income breast cancer patients into their program. The grant funding also provides 25,000 meals to breast cancer clients, and helps improve their nutrition status.

It is mandatory in the Food Outreach program for clients to meet with the program’s Registered Dietitian at enrollment. The dietitian assesses the client’s nutritional status, including weight measurement; conducts an interview determining barriers in their nutrition “food recall”; and administers a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), that measures body mass and fluids.

The dietitian provides clients with a recommended eating plan based on their assessment, disease stage, treatments and other illnesses.

Once a client is enrolled in Food Outreach’s program, they can order up to 28 nutritious meals every two weeks. Clients can contact the dietitian at any time for advice or questions about their nutrition. Clients are also encouraged to attend the program’s weekly gathering three-course lunch and are welcome to bring a guest.

Food Outreach gives breast cancer clients proper nutrition to help build strength and lessen the severity of the side effects they may experience from treatments. All of the program’s clients can remain enrolled for up to six months following their last treatment to regain strength and health.

Director of Development Becky Reichardt reflects on a patient’s story: Food Outreach recently enrolled a 66-year old woman whose breast cancer returned and spread to her lungs and bones. This woman was going through an aggressive treatment plan while also battling diabetes and neuropathy. Her illnesses made it difficult to get around and prepare meals, and she was making poor food choices. Food Outreach’s dietitian created a food plan for her and counsels her on her food choices. The dietitian meets with her regularly to do BIA testing, measuring muscle mass. Becky says, “She consistently orders meals from our Grocery Center and has shared Food Outreach recipes with family members and friends. Her energy has improved, and her muscle mass has increased, both of which have helped her to stay in her home while facing another round of treatments.”

Food Outreach has been providing low-income cancer patients with nutritional support since 2006. Established in 1988, Food Outreach continues to be the only St. Louis-area nonprofit that focuses on the importance of nutritional support at no cost to low-income persons that are battling HIV/AIDS or cancer.

This is the 6th year of Komen Missouri funding for this program.

Susan G. Komen Missouri’s community grants help fund local breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient navigation and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

2016 Komen Greater St. Louis Race Honorary Co-Chairs: Kolten and Alissa Wong

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St. Louis Cardinals Second Baseman Kolten Wong and his wife Alissa will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs for the 18th Annual Susan G. Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure®, to be held Saturday, June 11, in downtown St. Louis.

Kolten Wong is the second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, and played college baseball for the University of Hawaii, where he met his wife, Alissa. He has a big place in his heart for fighting cancer as he has lost both his mother and his uncle to their battles recently. Through losing people that he cared so much about, he knew he wanted to make a difference and help raise awareness and funding. He wants to help give an opportunity for more people to beat breast cancer.

Alissa Wong was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was raised in Ohio. She furthered her track career running for University of Hawaii. Like Kolten, Alissa has had family members battle with cancer, including a grandmother and an aunt who are both breast cancer survivors.

“Kolten and I are extremely honored to have the opportunity to be this year’s Honorary Co-Chairs of the 2016 Susan G. Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure,” says Alissa Wong. “The opportunity to give back to the community of St. Louis and those who are battling breast cancer is extremely humbling. Our hope is that this year’s Race gives those who are battling breast cancer or celebrating life as a breast cancer survivor the comfort in knowing that the St. Louis Cardinals as well as the St. Louis community are cheering for them along the way. We are so humbled to be a part of this.”

“We are thrilled to have Kolten and Alissa Wong serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 2016 Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure,” said Helen Chesnut, executive director of Susan G. Komen Missouri. “With their support of Komen Missouri’s mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever, there is great potential to make an important impact in the fight against breast cancer in the Greater St. Louis region.”

Register now for the 2016 Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure.

Meet Our Intern: Claire Salazar

Guest Writer: Claire Salazar, Komen Missouri PR & Marketing Intern

My name is Claire Salazar and I am the new Public Relations Intern at Susan G. Komen Missouri. I am a senior at Lindenwood University, majoring in Advertising and Public Relations: Corporate Communications. I am from Glenside, Pennsylvania, which is right outside of Philadelphia. I decided to go to school in Missouri because I was given an athletic scholarship to play Division II field hockey at Lindenwood University. Being a student athlete has been difficult, but I love the challenge and I love always being busy with schoolwork and my sport.

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Claire Salazar, Komen Missouri’s PR and Marketing Intern

I discovered the Komen Missouri Public Relations Internship while searching online for PR internships in the St. Louis area. With my field hockey career coming to an end, I knew that I wanted to intern with a great company or organization to learn a lot and gain experience, and because I would have a lot more time without field hockey practices and games.

When I came across Komen Missouri’s internship while browsing online, I became very excited about the opportunity to learn while working for such a wonderful organization. Working for an organization whose goal is to end breast cancer forever really hit home for me because my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and I lost my grandmother to breast cancer many years ago. My mom’s strength throughout her treatments was so inspiring, and I thought that it would be amazing to work for an organization with an amazing mission.

When I met with Janet to talk about Komen Missouri and the internship, I really felt like I could learn many new things about public relations, and everyone working at Komen Missouri seemed wonderful and welcoming. I was very eager to begin this internship in the months leading up to its start.

I have really enjoyed my time at Komen Missouri thus far. Although I have only been interning for about a month, I have learned so many new things about public relations, event planning, and about the Susan G. Komen organization. I love helping out and preparing for the many events that Komen Missouri has had, like Trivia Night. Trivia Night was so much fun preparing for and it was a great event. My friends have been very supportive of my internship with Komen Missouri, and have attended a few events, which has been awesome.

I am really looking forward to the events that Komen Missouri has coming up in the next few months. I love that there is a community of people that are so supportive of the organization and its mission. It is so inspiring to see so many people working hard to end such a horrible disease.

As I am graduating in May, I have been thinking about my future a lot. Right now, I am planning to stay in the St. Louis area for the next few years. I have been applying for jobs and I am also thinking about staying at Lindenwood University for graduate school. My dream job in the future would be to work in public relations for a fashion brand.