A message from BigWig Ben Blakeman

ben-blakeman-3Living in Northwest Arkansas, there are so many passionate people who support causes that can change lives. But, when you think about cancer, and specifically breast cancer, that I think nearly all of us can say it’s something we’ve been personally affected by. Whether it’s an amazing story of survival or by an untimely passing of a loved one, breast cancer has made an impact on who we are. And that is why supporting the Komen Foundation is so important.

Personally, I’ve had friends and family members who have battled different forms of cancer, but as I think about the Ozark Affiliate, a statistic that I can’t get over is that breast cancer occurs in 1 in 8 women. That’s not something we can sit around and wait to change. It’s something we need to work as a community to change, together.


Pink isn’t my color. And wearing a wig takes some courage. What’s important about the Pink Wig Campaign is that it is such a fun way to drive awareness, elicit support and rally a community to get behind something that truly matters. Hosting events and asking our friends in the community to take part and donate to the campaign is just one way the “wigs” can ladder up to such a big goal – to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

To that point – I’d love to see you at Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry on Thursday Oct. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. We’ll be hosting a champagne toast to the Komen Foundation. We’ll also be donating 10 percent of all sales to the Foundation.

Ben Blakeman, G.G.  – Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry



Small grants can make a BIG impact!

The Skaggs Foundation covering the Ozark Affiliate service area of Stone and Taney Counties in Missouri submitted a small grant application to host a lunch and learn, regarding breast health, in each county. They were funded and hosted the first lunch and learn titled “It’s Time For You” with speaker Kelli Gosch, MSH, WHCNP.skaggs1

The one hour “speaker series”  focused on health issues for women with busy lives and making some time for self care, including annual clinical breast exams and mammograms – as a priority. skaggs3

Stone and Taney counties have been identified as a priority target area for the Komen Ozark because South Missouri has:

  • A high number of people unemployed and living below federal poverty rate than rest of affiliate
  • Greater population of aging women
  • Incident trend data show a rise in breast cancer diagnosis
  • Stone and Taney Counties have a late-stage diagnosis rate trend rising
  • Stone County is considered to be 100 percent medically underserved

Thanks to Cox Medical Center in Branson for hosting this very well attended event! If you are interested in learning more about small grant opportunities contact:            Vicki Cowling – Director of Mission Services – Vicki@komenozark.org


BigWig twisted baker contest at Panera Bread – Fayetteville location!

You don’t want to miss this event! On Wednesday, October 5th starting at 11 am some of our BigWigs will be learning how to twist pink ribbon bagels.

A Panera Bread baker will teach the BigWigs how to make the bagels. The BigWigs will twist and then their three best attempts will be baked! You can come and cast your vote for the best bagel.

The votes will be tallied and the BigWig with the most votes will a draw the name of someone that has attended the event. The prize winner will receive a “bagel for a year” card.  It will be super fun to see our BigWigs in action! Mark your calendars for October 5th @ 11am – Panera Bread – Fayetteville.


Panera Bread – Pink Ribbon Bagels are BACK!

panera-bread-pink-ribbon-bagelEach year, our wonderful friends at Panera Bread partner with Komen Ozark during the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They make the most incredible pink ribbon bagels made with cherry chips, dried cherries, cranberries, vanilla, honey and brown sugar. Friday, October 14 – 100% of all sales will be provided to Komen Ozark to help fund local breast health services and to assist in our efforts to meet Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal to reduce breast cancer deaths by 50% over the next decade! Plus, Panera provides a portion of all pink ribbon bagel sales throughout the entire month to Komen Ozark.

Panera offers the community the opportunity to pre-order Pink Ribbon Bagels. This option allows Panera to fulfill the demand for Pink Ribbon Bagels while maximizing fundraising. You can complete a pre-order form using the website below.


(Please note that all forms sent to Teresa in Fort Smith for the NWA area will be forwarded to our Springdale office)



The Many Faces of Fundraising


General Mills contacted Komen Ozark about a unique fundraising idea! Several of their staff needed a quality headshot for their LinkedIn profile picture, social media and other business needs. With a volunteer photographer that agreed to set up onsite(Thanks Mark!) employees signed up and paid for a headshot. Fundraising doesn’t need to be hard, complicated or time consuming.

For an added donation they had an awesome salad bar for lunch that was a huge team project.

Thank you to our friends at General Mills for planning this “fun” event and for helping Komen Ozark meet the ever increasing need for breast health services, education, treatment assistance, support and navigation for underinsured and uninsured members of our community.

Doesn’t General Mills have the most beautiful people both inside and out?


Fundraising comes in all shapes and sizes!

Y’all meet 11 year old Rylie and pup Copper. Rylie sold pink ribbon dog bandanas with proceeds going to the 2016 Race for the Cure “Team Jennifer” (Bryant) – raising $400! By the way, Cooper is modeling one of the bandanas. Rylie was in a drawing for one of our incentive prizes for fundraising. She won a Kent International Susan G. Komen pink cruiser.


The generous spirit of fundraisers like Miss Rylie is what makes the Komen Ozarks annual Race for the Cure a huge success. Fundraising fuels our mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever!

Komen Ozark is accepting small grant applications

Nonprofit organizations in the Komen Ozark service area can now apply for small grants! We are excited to offer four small grant opportunities.

Members of a community welcoming a new member.

New this year, the Affiliate has added Capacity-Building grants. These grants are for organizations interested in beginning a new program or test new ideas that will increase the innovative capacity and effectiveness of breast health programs that serve low income, underinsured and uninsured patients. Capacity Building grants can be used to enhance an organization’s ability to provide services by redesigning processes, implementing new practices, or developing collaborations or partnerships. Capacity Building grants can be requested for up to $10,000.


Educational and Outreach grant applications can be submitted for new approaches to reach our target communities. These grants provide opportunities to creatively meet identified education and outreach needs in our area. These grants can be written for up to $10,000. More information about our target communities can be obtained by reviewing the Komen Ozark Community Profile – which can be found on our website: http://komenozark.org/about-us/history/our-community-need/education1

Travel grants are available for up to $2,000. This small grant opportunity is for an individual attending a conference or seminar that would increase the community knowledge of breast cancer. There is a new requirement for grantees to provide a short written report six months following attendance to report on any implemented strategies or activities influenced by attendance.


Last, Conference grant applications can be submitted to support an organization that would like host a local scientific or education conference. The conference should focus on the enhancement of interaction between advocates, healthcare and the scientific community. These grants can be funded up to $10,000.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Applicant must be a 501(c) organization (non-profit organization, educational institution and/or government agency) and provide proof of non-profit status if it is not already on file with the Affiliate. Checks cannot be issued to individuals; they must be issued to the 501(c) 3 organization.
  • Applicant must be operating within the Komen Affiliate’s service area, and funded activities (except travel) must take place within the service area.
  • Project or event must be specific to breast health/breast cancer, and must be relevant to the Komen Promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.
  • Please contact Vicki Cowling at Vicki@Komenozark.org before initiating the application process.
  • All grant proposals must be submitted online through the Grants e-Management System (GeMS): https://affiliategrants.komen.org.


One Year Later…


Today is bittersweet. On one hand, we are so excited for our upcoming Race for the Cure, but on the other hand we can’t help to remember the news we received on this day last year.  On April 28, 2015, our Executive Director, Mary Alfrey passed away after being rediagnosed with breast cancer.  As a staff, we found out about her diagnosis on the same day as the Race Office Opening and three days after the 2015 Race for the Cure she was gone.  21 Days.

At her very core, Mary was an optimist. Things were never as bad as they appeared and she always had nice things to say about each of us.  She took her initial diagnosis of breast cancer in stride and used her experience to relate to other survivors.  That’s why her passing was shocking and tough.  Mary passed away from the very disease we work so hard to defeat.  The truth of the situation that so many families face, was something that was unexpected and left us speechless.

The support that the Komen Ozark family received from so many people, some we had never met, was a true testament to Mary and the legacy that she left. It is so difficult to pick yourself up after a tragic loss, but we knew we owed it to, not only Mary and her family and friends, but to all of the women we have lost, those who were fighting their battle and to those who have yet to receive a diagnosis.  We have so much work to do, that we had to take our experience and rally around raising more money to fund research, to make sure that ALL women receive quality breast health care and to support those going through treatment or have gone through treatment.

We miss Mary. She was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, friend and boss.  She is a constant reminder to us that our work is not done and that what we do is relevant and important.

One year later…our commitment is just as strong.

Komen Ozark Team



J.B. Hunt Transportation Services


Since the inception of the Komen Ozark affiliate in 1998, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc has been right by our side in the fight against breast cancer. From monetary support and in-kind donations, to the volunteer efforts of many J.B. Hunt team members, J.B. Hunt has been there to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. Along with the commitment of the company, Mrs. Johnelle Hunt has dedicated a tremendous amount of her personal time to our cause. From serving as a founding board member to winning the Promise of One Award in 2008, we are forever indebted to the personal commitment their family has shown the Ozark Affiliate.


Thanks to partners like J.B. Hunt, Komen Ozark has been able to give over $9.5 million back to our local community and nearly $3 million to research to find the cures. The Ozark Affiliate is able to make an impact on these families by funding breast health screening, education and treatment services for those uninsured and underinsured members of the local community. Without partners like J.B. Hunt, Komen Ozark and many others could not impact local lives in the same capacity.

If you have ever attended Race for the Cure and wondered how we manage to make it all happen – the answer is J.B. Hunt. With their generous sponsorship, J.B. Hunt stores, transports, and makes sure set up and logistics go smoothly on race day.  We could not do it without them…they even painted their fork lift pink! Thank you to the team and J.B. Hunt Transportation Services for all your support.


Along with the support of the logistics team that help make the race happen, we are also proud to have J.B. Hunt employee Zac McCool serve as the race chair for the 2016 Race for the Cure on April 30th. Without the hard work of Zac, Butch and the logistics team along countless other volunteers from J.B. Hunt, the race would not be possible.