Meet Our Intern: Nicky Althoff

Guest Writer: Nicky Althoff, Komen Missouri Events and Fundraising Intern

My name is Nicky Althoff, and I am excited to be one of the newest members of the Komen Missouri team as an event planning and fundraising intern. I’m a freshman at WashU in St. Louis, currently undecided but most likely pursuing a major in political science. At WashU, I’m a member of pre-law society, Model United Nations, and the varsity track team. Originally from Roscoe, Illinois, which is right on the border of Wisconsin, I’ve loved familiarizing myself with St. Louis and all of its Midwestern glory, aside from maybe the baseball fans.

intern_nicky_1216

Nicky Althoff, event planning and fundraising intern for Komen Missouri

I first encountered the internship with Komen Missouri in the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement’s WashU newsletter. It initially stuck out to me because Komen has been a household name in my family for many years: from cereal boxes to breast cancer apparel, the Komen logo is a common sight in the Althoff house. Aside from my familiarity with the Komen organization and mission, I was enticed by the opportunity to immerse myself in the St. Louis community by spreading Komen’s message and engaging the community in such a great cause.

As the cofounder and chairperson of a 5k benefitting breast cancer in my hometown, the internship with Komen Missouri seemed like the perfect extension of my prior experiences. It also seemed like the perfect opportunity to honor my mom, whom I lost to breast cancer in 2010. She was very involved in my local community’s breast cancer walk-a-thons and fundraisers and inspired me every day throughout her battle with her persistent smile and determination. Interning with Komen Missouri has been a great way to continue her fight against breast cancer, which truly is relevant to so many people.

As an event planning and fundraising intern, I get to see and help with all the behind-the-scenes planning of the signature Komen Missouri events like Trivia Night, the Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure, and Dine Out for the Cure. I keep committee members for these events up-to-date and on-task and talk to sponsors and donors about contributing to our events. I often get to offer my opinion on matters such as how to engage more of the community and have even done some hands-on work redesigning the website.

From taking calls inquiring about mammograms to attending committee meetings, volunteering with Komen Missouri has kept me busy, but knowing that every data entry, phone call, and meeting is in some way contributing to the fight against breast cancer makes the internship the most rewarding experience I’ve had so far in St. Louis. I love working with the small but mighty Komen Missouri staff and I look forward to all of the events to come!

Meet Our Intern: Maddy Chung

Guest Writer: Maddy Chung, Komen Missouri Communications and Marketing Intern

My name is Maddy Chung, and I am the new Communications and Marketing Intern at Susan G. Komen Missouri! I am currently a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in American Culture Studies and minoring in Marketing and potentially Global Health. I am originally from San Francisco, and though I’m very far from the west coast, St. Louis is starting to feel like home.

intern_maddy_1216

Maddy Chung, Communications & Marketing Intern for Komen Missouri

I have always had an interest in community service, social justice, and issues faced by my local community and beyond. My experience in marketing and communications is more recent, and I am looking forward to this internship because it will combine both of these interests. I am excited that this internship will allow me to engage with the St. Louis community in an impactful way, while giving me valuable experience and skills in marketing.

 

My interest in community service and social justice issues began in high school through my involvement with Breakthrough SF, an education nonprofit that provides extensive academic support to underserved middle school students. I was inspired by the incredible students and saw the unbelievable impact an organization like Breakthrough could have on their lives. Ever since then, I’ve known that I want to dedicate myself to some kind of organization that fights for an issue I care a lot about. Komen Missouri is just this – on my first day, I am already inspired by the work these women do, the energy and passion they put into it, and the impact it has on breast cancer research and the lives of so many Missouri women.

 

I wanted to try something a bit different this past summer, so I served as the Public Affairs Intern for Warriors Ground San Francisco, a community organizing branch of the Golden State Warriors. I was involved with the community organizing surrounding the new Warriors stadium, and I particularly enjoyed this role because I frequently went out into the community and talked to San Francisco residents about the project. I also wrote content for the Warriors Ground blog, did research, and got a taste of what managing an organization’s public presence is like. Through this experience, I developed an interest for communications and marketing, and as a result I declared Marketing as my minor.

 

In addition to social justice, community organizing, and marketing, health and related issues have piqued my interest last semester through a class called Global Health. Though I’m not all that familiar with breast cancer and its impact, I do know many people who are survivors or living with breast cancer today. I am looking forward to learning more about the disease through this internship, as well as contributing to the inspiring work going into finding cures.

 

Although I don’t know exactly what I want to do in life, I know that my experience interning here will help me grow both individually and as a young person considering a career path. I’m thankful to the team at Komen Missouri for this opportunity, and I’m so looking forward to see what the next months have in store here! 

My Race for the Cure Impressions

Guest Writer: Sarah Reed, Komen Missouri Communications and Marketing Intern

This year’s Susan G. Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure® was the first Race for the Cure that I have ever attended. I had heard of some of my friends participating in honor of their family members who have battled breast cancer, but I had never physically gone to the Race. From pictures and videos of previous years, the Race had seemed like an incredible experience and event. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to take part in planning the event this year.

As a new member of the team, I had been anticipating the Race for the weeks I had been in the office. At Komen Missouri, there is so much preparation before the Race between new registrations, T-shirts, sponsors and beyond. Also, there were many people working endless hours to ensure that the Race was going to be a successful event. I was amazed by the dedication and commitment that the committee members and volunteers put into the Race.

STLRace_2016_JanetSarah

Sarah (right) and Janet before the sunrise on Komen Greater St. Louis Race Day 2016

The Friday before the Race was a preparation day. It consisted of long hours in the heat, heavy lifting, and a lot of teamwork. I focused on helping our sponsors get settled at their tent sites on Sponsors’ Row. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted, but we knew that our hard work would pay off in the morning. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see it all come together Saturday morning.

I arrived at the Race site around five am on Saturday morning. Even though I am not the biggest morning person, I could hardly wait to get to the site on Race Day. There were a large number of volunteers setting up the site such as the Survivor Pavilion and the Main Stage. I got see behind the stage, which was a really exciting experience. I also had to the opportunity to meet with the Pink Tie Guys and many of our top sponsors before they went on stage.

I think the most memorable moment of the Race was the Survivor Procession. It was very inspirational to see all of the pink shirts representing the battle and defeat of breast cancer. I loved seeing our executive director, Helen Chesnut, leading the procession. She has been a survivor for 10 years now. Watching and cheering on the survivors was a very emotional moment for me. I was able to see so much strength from our community all dressed in pink.

I also had the opportunity to stand at the finish line with last spring’s intern, Claire. Our role was to get the names of the timed participants who finished first in different categories. It was amazing to see the intense effort that the runners put into the race. It was clear to see that they put every ounce of energy into finishing the race. Their hard work represented the ongoing fight to end breast cancer for good.

Now that the Greater St. Louis Race is over, I am extremely excited to help plan our next events, including the Komen Mid-Missouri Race for the Cure in Columbia, where I will be in the fall, finishing my last year at Mizzou. I cannot wait to get my collegiate friends and peers involved with the upcoming events in Columbia.

 

Meet Our Intern: Sarah Reed

Guest Writer: Sarah Reed, Komen Missouri Communications and Marketing Intern

My name is Sarah Reed and I am the summer Communications and Marketing Intern at Komen Missouri. In the fall, I will be a senior at Mizzou. I am in the Journalism program emphasizing in Strategic Communication with an interest in Public Relations. I am originally from right outside St. Louis in O’Fallon, MO. I am an active Delta Delta Delta member and American Advertising Federation member, and I also am very active in Mizzou Alternative Breaks. Through these organizations I strive to continue improving my leadership abilities, enhancing my learning opportunities, and giving back to the community and other philanthropies.

SarahReed_0616

Sarah loves pink and promoting the #KomenSTLRace

As for a career path, I am currently exploring the non-profit route due to many experiences through my collegiate organizations. Tri Delta’s national philanthropy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is one of the main reasons why I chose to be a Tri Delta three years ago. Working with my sisters towards the goal of saving children’s lives has been one of the highlights of my college career. Also, this past spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Kissimmee, FL with a group of 11 other students to volunteer at Give Kids the World and New Hope For Kids. This experience was truly life changing. You can check out the work we did along with other groups who volunteered across the nation at our blog: http://muasb.blogspot.com/. I am also leading a weekend trip in the spring with another student.

I discovered this internship with Komen Missouri through a guest speaker at one of my AAF meetings. I was interested in what he did at his internal relations job at a local hospital. After meeting with him, he referred me to Janet at Komen Missouri. I knew of Susan G. Komen through the Race for the Cure in St. Louis and other events they have done in the past. I did some research on Komen Missouri and really connected with their mission. Whether it be a family member or friend or friend of a friend, I believe that everyone is affected by some sort of cancer. I was really inspired Komen’s amazing dedication to finding the cure to breast cancer. Komen Missouri offers many opportunities to receive help for people who at most risk and really need the help.

SarahReed_KSDK_0516

Sarah at KSDK NewsChannel 5

My expectations for this internship were pretty broad. I knew it was a small staff with a lot of important things to accomplish, so I figured I would be doing a little bit of everything to help out the staff as much as possible. I was right! Because my internship started after school ended in late May, I was thrown into a very busy time of the year for Komen Missouri. Dine Out for the Cure and the Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure were weeks away, so it was pretty hectic around the office to say the least. I got a little taste of everything and learned a lot about the organization nationally and locally right off the bat. I even participated in one of the phone banks at KSDK promoting the Race for the Cure on my second day on the job.

Although it was a crazy time here at Komen Missouri, I have thoroughly enjoyed every day at the office. The staff here is constantly encouraging each other and staying positive. They are also always willing to help each other out even if it’s technically not their specific job. Everyone here has different personalities and different backgrounds; however, they all come together to work towards the one mission of ending breast cancer forever. This team of amazing women have welcomed me with open arms and have made this internship thus far a great, helpful and hands-on learning experience that I know will help me further my education and career goals.

I can’t wait for what new learning experiences and tasks come next!

 

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.

ClaireSalazar

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.

Introducing Susan G. Komen® Missouri!

WebBanner_KomenMO_1115

We are thrilled to share exciting news!

Susan G. Komen® St. Louis and Susan G. Komen® Mid-Missouri are joining forces to make a bigger impact in the local fight against breast cancer and will operate as one entity: Susan G. Komen® Missouri. At the same time, we are expanding our service area to include five additional counties not previously served by Komen. Komen Missouri will serve 31 counties in Missouri and seven counties in southwestern Illinois.

We have a strong commitment to the people of Missouri and southwestern Illinois. For that reason, it made great sense to us to combine our resources as well as expand into additional counties (Gasconade and Monroe in Missouri and Bond, Calhoun and Jersey in Illinois).

Our mission drives all we do, and with this change we are continuing to put our mission and the people we serve first. As Komen Missouri, we will now have greater potential to strengthen our presence and our impact in the local fight against breast cancer. We will maximize grant funding to local breast health programs to help even more women and men across Missouri and southwestern Illinois access the best resources to find breast cancer early and then beat the disease.

WebBanner_KomenMO_1115_map

As Komen Missouri, we will continue to fund breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient navigation and support services to local women and men who are most at risk and most in need, while also funding cutting-edge breast cancer research.

Our consolidated organization will combine staff and volunteer leadership, grant-making relationships and fundraising capacities to strengthen our operations, with the overall goal of maximizing the resources and support available for the entire – and now larger – service area.

Key Information About Komen Missouri

  • Komen Missouri will operate from two offices, one in Greater St. Louis, based in Olivette, and one in Mid-Missouri, based in Columbia
  • Each local Race for the Cure® will continue. The 2016 Greater St. Louis Race is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, in downtown St. Louis. The Mid-Missouri Race will take place in Columbia in fall 2016.
  • Helen Chesnut, executive director of Komen St. Louis, will serve as executive director of Komen Missouri
  • Renee Hall, board president of Komen St. Louis, will serve as president of Komen Missouri’s board of directors.
  • Komen Missouri’s service area includes Adair, Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Franklin, Gasconade, Howard, Jefferson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Osage, Perry, Randolph, St. Charles, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis City, St. Louis, Warren and Washington counties in Missouri; and Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in Illinois

Komen Missouri staff and volunteers will continue to focus on the most important aspect of our work – translating the generosity of the people in our community into funds for programs and resources that will help save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Together with your continued support, we will make an impact in the local fight against breast cancer.

Same Mission. Same Races. More Places. New Name: Susan G. Komen Missouri.

 

Volunteer with Susan G. Komen® St. Louis

WebBanner_Volunteer_0915Use your talents in our promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

If you have a few hours a year, a few hours a month or a few hours a week to volunteer with Komen St. Louis, we have a place for you. Every minute you spend helping gives another minute of hope to those affected by breast cancer.

Special volunteer opportunities include Dine Out for the Cure Ambassadors, Trivia Night Planning Committee members and Wacoal Fit for the Cure volunteers.

Learn more about volunteering with Komen St. Louis.

The Inter(n)view: Lexie Sprague

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

Shelby and Lexie, Susan G. Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Interns, Summer 2015

Shelby and Lexie, Susan G. Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Interns, Summer 2015

Meet Lexie Sprague: Komen St. Louis Intern, Glitter Enthusiast, the Next Elle Woods.

Vital Stats
Full Name: Alexis Gabriele Sprague
Hometown: Streamwood, IL
Age: 20
College: Washington University
Majors: Marketing & Psychology

Fun Facts
Favorite meal: Dessert
Guilty pleasure: Glitter
Favorite flower: Carnation
Current Netflix addiction: Scandal
Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint Oreo

I had just arrived at my first staff meeting on the first day of my Komen St. Louis Internship when in walks a cheerful young lady with genuine enthusiasm and instant likeability: Lexie. Over the next 12 weeks, she would be my fellow intern—my phone-answering, T-shirt-folding, blog-posting, copy-making, data-entering partner-in-crime.

Lexie discovered the Komen St. Louis public relations and marketing internship at her university’s career fair for student athletes; Lexie plays soccer for WashU. She was immediately intrigued after hearing Bree DeGraw represent Susan G. Komen St. Louis. Lexie describes the reasons for her instantaneous excitement for the opportunity:

“1) I had no idea there was an affiliate office so close to WashU, 2) my mom has worked in mammography my whole life so I know she would be extremely proud of me for working with Komen and 3) Bree was looking to find a marketing and PR intern for their team! It was the GREATEST NEWS EVER. After a few email correspondences and a meeting, I found myself all set up with a real-person-summer-internship for a company whose mission I wholeheartedly supported.”

This “real-person-summer-internship” has her thinking about her future career. Lexie’s interests are vast and vary by season, just like her Starbucks orders (iced vanilla lattes or caramel macchiatos in the spring, pumpkin spiced lattes in the fall, and peppermint mochas in the winter). Her childhood-self wanted to be a veterinarian. She describes an “undeniable compassion for all the furry things in the world,” but she soon realized it was her truly her big sister’s dream, not her own.

As for her current dream job, Lexie gushes, “I would absolutely LOVE to plan weddings. I really enjoy getting to organize big lists of tasks; I love the color schemes, the flowers, the rehearsals, the catering, the dresses…Being in charge of one of the happiest days of a person’s life would be such an amazing job to have.”

As a young woman in her twenties, the world is Lexie’s oyster! Will she be a vet? A wedding planner? A PR & marketing director? Or possibly the next Elle Woods? If Lexie had to pick a movie to represent her life, she quickly declares, “Legally Blonde!” She explains, “I am super girly and probably give off that typical blonde impression to people, but I actually am a smart person! I also wanted to be a lawyer for a while, and even used her ‘We did it!’ line at the end of my graduation speech.”

Lexie is bubbly and driven, adorable and intellectual, blonde and ambitious, just like Elle Woods. She has an air of congeniality and success. Lexie’s movie persona, Elle, is right in alignment with her self-professed spirit animal: cat. As an avid cat lover, Lexie explains, “they’re just so independent and sassy and funny without trying to be.” This narrative fits Lexie’s personality well. She is a charismatic and amiably feisty go-getter.

Looking back on our time at Komen St. Louis, what moments stand out? Lexie responds thoughtfully, “I think I’ve felt the most proud of myself for finishing bigger projects, like mailing tons of shirts for Sleep in for the Cure or creating a pamphlet for Dine Out for the Cure, as well as for being so closely involved in Race for the Cure. But, now that I’m thinking back about my time at Komen St. Louis, I realize what stands out the most is who I’m working with. I have seen a level of compassion out of my “four new moms” [the Komen St. Louis staff] that I did not even believe to be possible, and have had so much fun hanging out with Shelby in Intern Headquarters. Whether it be cheering me up when I need it, genuinely caring about what is going on in my life, or simply making me laugh with their amazing sense of humor, it is an absolute pleasure seeing each of these women every single day. My time at Komen St. Louis would not be the same without them.”

Lexie is incredibly complimentary of the Komen staff; however, she complements the women of Komen well because she too has the passion and motivation that precede and sustain success. I am incredibly happy to have been able to work closely with her in our Intern Headquarters (a.k.a. the back office of Komen STL, where we have set up camp). Lexie, with her infectious laugh and her lively work ethic, has been the perfect Komen Kompanion for the summer.

Want to know more? Lexie’s here to Fill in the blanks.

I can’t live without my family. They are everything to me, and I would never be able to go a day without talking to them. Please note, this does include my cat, Pancakes.

Before I leave the house, I have to have my apartment keys! (I’m hoping if I write this down it will make me stop forgetting to grab them on the way out…).

If I’m running late, it is most likely because ________________. I’ll be the first to admit that I take forever to get ready in the morning. So if I’m late, there is a 99% chance that is the reason why.

I have way too many Lululemon headbands. I wear them for soccer practice/games, and my collection has grown to somewhere between 30 and 40 different colors. Do not ask me why, because I will not have a good explanation for you :/

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 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!