15 Days

15_June-2In 15 days, on June 15, our community will come together for the 15th Annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure.

These 15 days can mean a lifetime. A lifetime for a mother, a sister, a daughter, a husband, a friend.

Your support of the 15th Komen St. Louis Race will literally help save lives in our community. Your support will help ensure access to quality breast health care services for women and men who otherwise could not afford this critical care. Your support will help fund vital breast cancer research in our community and beyond, getting us closer to the cures.

In 15 days, join us for the 15th Race on the 15th of June.

 

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With Zumba® Love…

Guest Writer: Paula Imbierowicz, Breast Cancer Survivor and Zumba® Enthusiast

Zumba…such a fun word to say. And such a fun, exhilarating thing to do!

Zumba® Fitness is an “easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance-fitness party that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health.” I stumbled into a class back in 2010 and have been hooked ever since. However, Zumba is more than just a fitness class to me; it is a family of support through the good and bad. My Zumba sisters and I are there for each other in many ways. This is where my story begins.

Paula Imbierowicz (center) with Caliente for the Cure co-chairs Barbara Absher and Jenn Turek

Paula Imbierowicz (center) with Caliente for the Cure co-chairs Barbara Absher and Jenn Turek

In October 2012, I received a phone call that I never expected. My physician was on the other end of the line, calling to tell me I had Stage I breast cancer. Wow. Not many things render me speechless, but those two words – breast cancer – did.

Over the next few weeks and through many doctor appointments, we came up with a plan of attack. I chose a bilateral mastectomy, even though the cancer was only found in the right side. I wanted to be proactive and prevent this from happening again. My surgery was scheduled for December 2012. I decided to turn my negative into a positive, so I contacted some of my Zumba sisters about having an “Adios Amigos” party for my “girls” to raise money for Komen St. Louis.

Party in motion…turnout was more than I expected! I did not know most of the participants, but it didn’t matter. We were all there for one common purpose, and that was to raise awareness and money to help others and fight this disease. Throughout what I call my BC (breast cancer) detour in life, my Zumba family has been there for me, whether it’s through a note on social media, a card in the mail, or a shoulder to cry on.

A mammogram saved my life. My spots could not be felt by self-exam. I am 42 years-old and the mother of two teenage sons, and I plan to be around to watch them as they grow and experience life. Breast cancer will not get me…I will get it.

Caliente 2013My Zumba sisters and I will be dancing and celebrating at the 5th Annual Caliente for the Cure® on Friday, June 14. I have participated in this event for the past two years, but this year will be extra special. You see, I will be dancing as a survivor!

The 5th Annual Komen St. Louis Caliente for the Cure takes place on Friday, June 14, from 6-8 pm at Saint Louis University’s Simon Recreation Center. Learn more and register.

15 Reasons to Form a Team for the 15th Race

Team up for the Komen St. Louis Race!

Team up for the Komen St. Louis Race!

1. Bring family, friends and co-workers together to motivate and inspire each other for a great cause!

2. Provide moral support for a friend or family member fighting or surviving breast cancer!

3. Fundraise for a chance to win some great prizes!

4. Spark your creativity by developing a unique team name!

5. Be the first to receive your Race T-shirts!

6. Jazz up your team’s T-shirt by using Komen’s official teams logos!

7. Capture the memories with a special team photo taken at the Race!

8. Get all the help you need from your personal Team Liaison!

Teams contribute a great sense of community spirit to the Komen St. Louis Race!

Teams contribute a great sense of community spirit to the Komen St. Louis Race!

9. Learn team management tips and tricks provided in your handy guidebook, the Team Captain Manual!

10. Boost workplace camaraderie by forming a corporate team!

11. Connect with old friends and family by recruiting them for your team!

12. Get fit by walking with your team!

13. Earn bragging rights by participating in one of the largest 5K events!

14. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame if your team is shown on TV on Race day!

15. Help save lives and end breast cancer by raising needed funds for breast health programs for women and families in our community!

The deadline to form a team for the 15th Annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure is Friday, May 24! Learn more about Teams. Form a Race Team.

Why I Volunteer for Komen St. Louis

Guest Writer: Kris Fleming, Komen St. Louis Volunteer

I began my involvement with Susan G. Komen St. Louis through my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha.

ZTA has provided support for Komen since 1992, and is a sponsor of the Komen Race for the Cure® National Series Breast Cancer Survivor Recognition Program. Local ZTA alumnae and collegiate members have supported the Komen St. Louis Race from day one, and I have volunteered at every Race.

Kris Fleming has volunteered with Komen St. Louis since the inaugural Komen St. Louis Race in 1999

Kris Fleming has volunteered with Komen St. Louis since the inaugural Komen St. Louis Race in 1999

I have been a volunteer, committee chair and Race chair, and at every level, I’ve heard stories from so many people about how much Komen means to them.

When a woman is in tears because she is asking for a pink T-shirt for the first time, and you tell her how proud she must be to be a survivor… you know you are doing something good.

When working alongside another volunteer who mentions she’s a breast cancer survivor and has never told anyone, but seeing the sea of pink at the Race makes her realize that she does have a support system… you know you are doing something good.

When a woman is speechless as she is walking in the Race but wants someone to know how honored she is that thousands of participants are there to fight the disease she is also fighting… you know you are doing something good.

When your own family member is diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage, thanks to a mammogram funded by money you helped raise… you know you are doing something good.

Even when a friend is battling metastatic breast cancer and is able to receive new treatments because of research Komen has funded… you know you are doing something good.

After you’ve been a volunteer for 14 years, your mom calls you when you’re on vacation to tell you she had her annual mammogram and they have found something, and you’re able to put her in touch with someone who helps her make the doctors’ appointments and supports her as she makes treatment decisions… you know you are doing something good.

For all these reasons and so many more, I continue to volunteer with Komen St. Louis and to support all this organization does to make the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer better. I may have started off volunteering for a cause that I believe in, but until my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer it had never been this personal.

I volunteer because I have seen firsthand how the money raised by Komen supports so many women and families battling this disease. Komen is more than funding mammograms, education and research. Komen is also about giving women hope…hope that they can fight this disease and know they are not alone.

Komen St. Louis’ Health Professional of the Year: Dr. Ron Bose

Did you know Susan G. Komen is the largest non-profit funder of breast cancer research, second only to the U.S. government? In the past 30 years, Komen-funded research has touched major breakthroughs in breast cancer science and now focuses on research to stem metastatic and aggressive breast cancer, find scientifically sound prevention strategies, and investigate environmental links to breast cancer development.

In St. Louis, we are fortunate to have world-class medical and research facilities right here in our community. The nearly $9 million that Komen St. Louis has contributed to breast cancer research since 1999 has returned more than $20 million to support the work of breast cancer researchers at our St. Louis institutions.

The recipient of our 2013 Health Professional of the Year Award, presented at our 4th Annual Power of a Promise event, is one such researcher whose work has been funded by Komen.

Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut presents our 2013 Health Professional of the Year Award to Dr. Ron Bose

Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut presents our 2013 Health Professional of the Year Award to Dr. Ron Bose

Dr. Ron Bose is a breast cancer specialist and a breast cancer researcher at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. He received his MD and PhD degrees from Cornell University and has performed medical training at the country’s top hospitals. He received a 2009 Komen Career Catalyst Research Grant and a 2005 Komen Post-Doctoral Fellowship Grant. He has spoken at many local and national Komen events.

Dr. Bose’s research focused on the HER2 gene, which causes HER2-positive breast cancer. His research uses cutting-edge methods like cancer genome sequencing, proteomics, and studies of protein structure to understand how HER2 works.

We know his research is contributing to our mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer.

Congratulations and thank you for your dedication to breast cancer research, Dr. Bose!

Come Dance With Me at Caliente for the Cure!

Guest Writer: Tara Boland, Komen St. Louis Supporter

As a 37-year-old mother of four young children who is fighting metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, I am STILL “shaking it” in my Zumba classes. In fact, it occurred to me recently that Zumba was the one constant that has been nothing but positive in my battle since being diagnosed in May 2012.

Tara Boland (center left in lime Caliente for the Cure T-shirt) and a few of her Zumba-loving friends

Tara Boland (center left in lime Caliente for the Cure T-shirt) and a few of her Zumba-loving friends

I have attended Caliente for the Cure, Komen St. Louis’ Zumba Fitness event, two times, both as a supporter and then a survivor. Last year’s Caliente for the Cure gave me the boost I needed to begin gearing up for chemo…all the while pregnant. The encouragement I received from this event was empowering! A gym packed full of fun! Last year I continued to Zumba throughout my pregnancy, chemo and radiation. In fact, I went to Zumba the day before the delivery of my miracle baby Sam!

Why is Zumba the PERFECT exercise? Well, it is ideal for all ages and all physical fitness levels. You MUST have a desire to party, feel happy and be physically fit at the same time.

Even on my darkest days, where either emotional or physical pains are very present, I still force myself to Zumba, knowing that my spirits will be lifted. It is my happy pill. It is the time I forget about cancer and feel not only the music, but also the love of the people around me.

Please come to Caliente for the Cure on June 14 in honor of those women who have lost their battle with breast cancer, for those who are currently battling, and as a thank you for your own health. Come dance with me! I will be the one with the silly grin full of dimples, shaking it for the cure!

I believe in the power of positivity and rely on the generosity of others to continue to fund breast cancer research. I have HOPE that I will be here to raise my four children. I have FAITH that there will be a cure. I have LOVE for everyone who dances with me, accepts me as is. I have danced bald, fat and in Depends undergarments. At no point did I not FEEL THE MUSIC. Come join me as we raise money and celebrate life!

Caliente 2013Remember, Komen St. Louis puts the money raised at Caliente and other events to work here in St. Louis AND helps fund breast cancer research. Komen-funded research grants have helped create lifesaving meds like Tamoxifen and Herceptin. Now we need a targeted chemo drug for triple-negative breast cancer, which often affects young women. Help me help Komen fund the research!

The 5th Annual Komen St. Louis Caliente for the Cure takes place on Friday, June 14, from 6-8 pm at Saint Louis University’s Simon Recreation Center. Learn more and register. 

Komen St. Louis’ Young Philanthropist of the Year: Naomi Leasck

So many individuals and groups in our community are dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. And they come up with creative, personal ways to raise awareness and funds to help save lives and end breast cancer.

Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut presents our 2013 Young Philanthropist of the Year Award to Naomi Leask

Komen St. Louis Executive Director Helen Chesnut presents our 2013 Young Philanthropist of the Year Award to Naomi Leasck

One of these individuals inspired us to introduce a new recognition, which we announced at our 4th Annual Power of a Promise event: the 2013 Young Philanthropist of the Year Award, presented to Naomi Leasck.

For the past four years, this talented 13-year-old St. Louis Hawks hockey goalie has incorporated philanthropy into her sporting activity. She has raised money for Komen St. Louis with each “save” she makes. Last fall, she made 184 saves and raised $2,000. Over the past four years, Naomi has raised $10,000 for local breast health programs and breast cancer research funded by Komen St. Louis.

Naomi is a shining example that you’re never too young to make a positive impact in our community.

Congratulations and thank you, Naomi!