“Mission Moments” – Sponsored by Mercy

Rogers navigators Mercy

Because a diagnosis can be overwhelming, Mercy Northwest Arkansas breast health navigators – Emily, Mary Catherine and Bethany – will help guide you through treatment – to survival.

This “Mission Moment” has been brought to you by Mercy. 


The Mercy Breast Center provides breast care for women in Benton, Carroll, and Washington counties who seek breast screenings, advanced diagnostics, and treatment. Navigation services guide women and their families through the continuum of care which often requires overcoming access to care challenges. Providing culturally competent care by a Spanish-speaking navigator and Spanish-speaking staff in other areas of the Mercy Breast Center is a cornerstone of our navigation program.



2017 Swing for the Cure – Executive Sponsor is Paul Beahm, SVP of Walmart Health and Wellness

Paul Paul HeadshotBeahm, SVP of Walmart Health and Wellness will serve as the Executive Sponsor for Komen Ozark’s 10th Annual Swing for the Cure golf tournament at Shadow Valley Country Club on Friday, September 22.

“Swing for the Cure is a great way to support Komen Ozark’s life-saving work and mission in Northwest Arkansas,” says Beahm.  “This event raises funds necessary to provide breast health services for our neighbors and also continues to support critical breast cancer research that will help us find the cures.”

Swing for the Cure is an 18 hole scramble tournament that offers morning and afternoon flights, lunch, prizes and more.  Proceeds from Swing for the Cure will benefit the Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen.  For more information about sponsorship opportunities or to register a team, contact Lauren Marquette at lauren@komenozark.org or (479) 750-7465.

75 percent of the proceeds from this event benefit local women and men and helps fund local breast health programs that provide education, screening and treatment assistance to those in need. The other 25 percent of the proceeds goes to breast cancer research.  For those who want to support Komen but cannot attend the event, donations can be made either online at www.komenozark.org/donate or by sending a check to the Komen Ozark office at P.O. Box 309 Springdale, Arkansas  72764.


Arkansas Becomes the 43rd State to Pass Oral Parity Legislation

Arkansas Affiliates of Susan G. Komen Applaud Governor Hutchinson for Signing Legislation to Increase Access to Oral Anticancer Treatments  

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Affiliates of Susan G. Komen thanked Gov. Asa Hutchinson for signing legislation designed to increase access to oral anticancer treatments for cancer patients in Arkansas.

The legislation, House Bill 1592, authored by Representative Greg Leding, requires parity in health benefit coverage between orally administered anticancer medications and IV administered anticancer medications.

Cancer treatment is continually innovating, with the growing trend towards orally administered anticancer drugs that are more targeted and more effective.  Unfortunately, insurance coverage has not kept pace with this evolution.  The result has been patient cost-sharing obligations that are much higher for oral anticancer drugs than for drugs delivered through IV administration.

“On behalf of cancer patients across the state, we are so grateful for Representative Leding’s leadership on this issue, and for Gov. Hutchison’s support,” said Komen Ozark Executive Director, Lauren Marquette, “This legislation will ensure patients in Arkansas are able to access the most effective treatment without concerns of bankruptcy.”

The Komen Affiliates worked closely with Representative Leding to provide testimony at hearings and ensure outreach to legislative offices on the importance of this legislation.   In addition, we would like to thank all of our volunteers and supporters that reached out to their legislative offices in support of this critical legislation.

The legislation co-authored by Senator Greg Standridge received nearly unanimous bi-partisan support.

“By working together, and ensuring access to quality treatment for all cancer patients in Arkansas, we can change the outcome for thousands of cancer patients in this state,” said Komen Arkansas Executive Director, Sherrye McBride.

Arkansas joins 42 other states and the District of Columbia in ensuring cancer patients have increased access to oral anticancer treatments, which, until now, have been out of reach for many Arkansans because of the high out-of-pockets costs.

Bill 13Bill 15

2017/2018 Grant Awards presented and top fundraisers recognized at the Promise Circle Luncheon

The Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen announced at the Promise Circle Luncheon that it will grant $731,630 to fund 9 programs that will provide thousands of women and men with lifesaving breast health screening, education and treatment assistance throughout the next year. In addition to revealing the grant recipients, the Top Teams, Top Fundraising Teams, Top Corporate Teams, Top Friends/Family Teams and the Top 25 fundraising individuals from the 2015 Race for the Cure were recognized.

“The Ozark Affiliate is excited to partner with the 9 local organizations to provide screening, outreach, education and treatment services to women and men in our 10 county service area who are uninsured or under-insured.  At the Ozark Affiliate we want to make sure that ALL women have access to quality healthcare, regardless of the ability to pay,” said Vicki Cowling, Director of Mission Services at the Ozark Affiliate.

The Ozark Affiliate raises funds through events like the upcoming Race for the Cure, which will be held on April 22, 2017 at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall.   To register for the race, visit the website at www.komenozark.org.

The following programs have been selected for funding by the Ozark Affiliate.  Applicants were selected by an independent grant panel through a competitive application and review process.  For details about the Ozark Affiliate’s grant recipients, visit www.komenozark.org or call (479)750-7465.

2016-2017 Grant Recipients

Community Clinic (Awarded $94,600)

  • Serving Benton and Washington Counties
  • The “We Are Aware” program provides a culturally competent continuum of care for low-income, uninsured patients in Northwest Arkansas through breast care education, screening, diagnostic and treatment support.
  • Outreach program called SISTA Supper, will educate minority patients through a small group setting where participants are able to ask the facilitator questions, schedule appointments and sign up for insurance.

Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House (Awarded $37,000)

  • Serving Crawford and Sebastian Counties
  • “To Save A Life-Survivorship” program provides breast cancer patients with support, advocacy, information, financial assistance and medical supplies, such as lymphedema and mastectomy supplies.

Hope Cancer Resources (Awarded $62,750)

  • Serving Benton and Washington Counties
  • Provides cancer support and education in Northwest Arkansas by focusing on access to support services with a focus on improving quality of life.  The program covers genetic testing, housing, prescription and travel assistance.

 Madison County Health Coalition (Awarded $55,233)

  • Serving Madison County
  • Provides a nurse navigator to advocate for breast cancer patients and educate the community on breast health.  The program also provides gas cards, lymphedema supplies and coordinates support group meetings.

Mercy Breast Center (Awarded 68,483)

  • Serving Benton and Washington Counties
  • The Mercy Breast Center’s breast health program provides a nurse navigator to work with all breast cancer patients through their breast cancer journey. The program also provides diagnostic services and continuum of care breast cancer information and education.

Mercy Foundation Fort Smith (Awarded $62,564)

  • Serving Sebastian and Crawford Counties
  • Provides education, navigation services, community outreach program and partnering with diverse groups in the community to coordinate the access to a mobile mammography unit.

North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education (Awarded $115,000)

  • Serving Boone, Carroll and Newton Counties
  • Provides comprehensive education, outreach and awareness campaigns to increase participation in breast health education classes, breast self-awareness training and access to treatment.  This program also provides screenings, diagnostic services, patient advocacy and transportation assistance.


Cox Health Foundation – Branson (Awarded $75,000)

  • Serving Stone and Taney Counties in Missouri
  • Provides access to breast care and cancer treatment for at-risk women by offering financial assistance for women in need of screening mammograms, diagnostic testing and transportation assistance.  A nurse navigator is also provided to help those diagnosed with breast cancer navigate their journey.

Washington Regional Cancer Support Home (Awarded $161,000)

  • Serving Washington and Benton Counties
  • Provides a breast health navigator and a bilingual navigator who offer specialized guidance and support to patients on their breast cancer journey.  The program guides patients through diagnosis, treatment and into survivorship while linking patients to financial and support resources as needed.
  • Provides also provides screenings, diagnostic services and treatment support.

2016 Promise Circle Luncheon top fundraisers poster

And last but definitely, The Breast Center was our top fundraiser in the Health Care category!

2017 Race for the Cure Honorary Survivor Chair, Nicole Bagley, at Casting for Recovery

Last year, Komen Ozark provided small grant funding to Casting for Recovery. This funding helped women like our very own 2017 Race for Cure Honorary Survivor Chair Nicole Bagley attend the retreat. Nicole told us that the retreat was “life changing” and that is not the first time we have heard about the healing and bonding with other survivors that naturally occurs during the weekend retreat.

Casting For Recovery is a national program that provides Fly-fishing Retreats for women who have had breast cancer.  This 2 ½ day retreat provides education and peer support through learning the unique therapeutic sport of fly fishing at no cost to the participant.    The staff of AR/OK Casting For Recovery is proud to announce this years retreat in Arkansas will be June 9-11, 2017 at the River Ridge Inn on the Norfork River near Mountain Home.  Any breast cancer survivor can apply for this inspirational and fun weekend.  Applications can be found at www.castingforrecovery.org and the deadline is March 31.

I am just one of the women that you race for!

My name is Marie Medina from Berryville, Arkansas. I am 42 years old and mother of 4 teenagers!

In December 2015, I found a lump in my left breast. I was without health insurance. I applied for Medicaid but was told that I didn’t qualify because I earned $1,600  per month (before taxes) as a cook and my husband was receiving social security disability. I felt like I had no options, I ignored the mass for six months.

Finally, I told my my mom about the lump. She called around and found out about Arkansas BreastCare. She encouraged me to go to the local health unit to see if I would qualify. I had absolutely no idea that BreastCare or Komen Ozark funding existed.

I was referred for a mammogram in Fayetteville and on July 15th, after a biopsy, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Through genetic testing funded by a Komen Ozark grant,  I also learned that I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation.

Not long after I was diagnosed,  I received a phone call from Mellonie Autry. She is a nurse navigator funded by Komen Ozark. Mellonie had learned about my breast cancer diagnosis. She ask if she could visit me at my home. She arrived and gave me a great deal of information and a care package to prepare for me surgery which was scheduled for the the following week.

I haven’t been able to work following surgery and chemotherapy. I was hospitalized for a week due to low blood counts and infections. I had to have the tissue expanders taken out because my infection would not heal due to chemotherapy.  It has been a long road to recovery.

Our family of 6 has been living on my husbands social security disability. It has been financially very hard. I have been given Komen Ozark funded gas cards to help with transportation to my medical appointments from Berryville to Fayetteville which is 110 miles round trip.  I have also learned that between Mellonie and Holly Gillies -who works for Komen funded North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education in Harrison – that if I have a need, they will help find a resource to assist me. These ladies know their communities! I have gotten help finding eye glasses and help paying my home gas bill. They go above and beyond to help me. I am very grateful for the Susan G Komen Ozark Affiliate because without their help, I might not be here today.

Race Team – Miles for Mendy

jeremy-storyJeremy and Mendy married on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2007. Just two months after they were married, Mendy was diagnosed with breast cancer. After having a bilateral mastectomy, she started chemotherapy and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for 5 years. Shortly after stopping HRT they met with her oncologist for a follow-up appointment and received the devastating news that the cancer had returned – Stage 4.

Jeremy and Mendy have 3 kids ages 12, 16, and 20. April 16th will mark her 10-year battle with breast cancer!  Mendy is the most positive and uplifting person you will meet. She is a fighter!

In honor of Mendy’s 10 year battle, her husband and son have started race team – “Miles for Mendy” to celebrate her journey and spread awareness about Stage 4 Breast Cancer. This will be their first Komen Ozark Race for the Cure and Miles for Mendy was one of the first teams to register!  They pledge to “Race” for an end to this disease.

Come out an support Mendy and all the other breast cancer survivors! Who will you race for? Put a team together and Race for the Cure! Visit http://www.komenozark.org to register today!



HB 1592 – Chemotherapy Oral Parity


Komen Ozark has very exciting news! Today,  State Representative Greg Leding filed HB 1592 related to parity between the insurance coverage of oral chemotherapy and IV administered chemotherapy drugs.

Last year, Komen Ozark Executive Director – Lauren Marquette reached out to Rep. Greg Leding regarding this important issue and the need for legislation. She asked Rep. Leding to sponsor legislation that will impact not only Arkansas breast cancer patients but all cancer patients. 

IV-administered chemotherapy is covered under a patients medical benefit, but oral drugs are often covered under the plan’s prescription benefit which may involve much higher out-of-pocket costs.

Patients should never be forced to choose a less appropriate treatment option simply because an insurer provides less coverage for a cancer drug that happens to be administered by mouth rather than intravenously.  Patients and their physicians should be free to make treatment decisions based on what is best for that patient.

High cost oral treatments may be out of reach for many cancer patients.  Financial barriers threaten the chances of survival since, in many cases; there are no equivalent treatments that can be substituted for the prescribed oral drug.

In addition, oral treatments can offer significant cost savings because an oral drug can be taken at home. IV drugs must be given to patients in a clinical setting where additional costs are involved in administering the drug.

Representatives Leding has a host of co-sponsor supporting HB 1592 – Representatives Murdock, Jett, D. Ferguson, G. Hodges, Lundstrum, McCollum, Richey, Whitaker and Vaught. Along with Senators Standridge, Elliott, S. Flowers, and Teague.

Komen Ozark’s media partner KNWA featured a “Doing Good” segment this week regarding the oral parity legislation. The link to the segment is below: 


Komen Ozark will be posting more about this important legislation, upcoming hearings and its progress through the legislative process. If you would like to learn more about Oral Parity or how you can voice support for this bill, please contact the Komen Ozark Office at 479-750-7465.

Latriece Watkins – Honorary Chair for 2017 Race for the Cure

Latriece Watkins Photo.jpgThe Susan G. Komen Ozark Affiliate is pleased to announce that Latriece Watkins will serve as the honorary race chair for the 2017 Komen Ozark Race for the Cure on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall in Rogers.

Latriece Watkins is currently Senior Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Consumables for Walmart U.S. She joined Walmart as a Real Estate intern in 1997, and over 10 years gained experience in property management and administration, commercial transactions, property development and dispositions. Since 2008, Latriece has held leadership roles in Sam’s Club and Walmart U.S., including Divisional Merchandise Manager (DMM) of Adult Beverages and GMM of Snacks and Beverage. In 2015, she led the Ways of Working Enterprise Strategy work stream, a role designed to define how associates work together across the company to achieve shared business goals more efficiently and effectively.

“We are honored and excited to have Latriece Watkins serve as our honorary race chair this year,” said Lauren Marquette, Executive Director of the Ozark Affiliate.  “The Race for the Cure is our largest fundraiser and provides critical funding for local women and men who are in need of life-saving services.  Latriece’s support will help build awareness of the local need.” 

“I have tremendous respect for the work that Komen does to advance both research and funding for those impacted by breast cancer, said Latriece Watkins, 2017 Honorary Race Chair.  “As the daughter of a survivor, I know it is a whole family fight. I am delighted to advance Komen’s mission this year by serving as the chair for the 2017 Komen Ozark Race for the Cure.”

The Komen Ozark Race for the Cure raises funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates survivors and honors those who have lost their battle from the disease. Participation in the event and individual fundraising help provides free services for every step of the breast cancer journey, including education, outreach, screening and diagnostic services, emergency assistance, transportation and research

This is the 19th year the race will be held in Northwest Arkansas.  On April 22, 2017 thousands of people will come together to celebrate the strong women and men who have fought or continue to fight this disease.

75% of net proceeds is invested in the local community and provides education, screening and treatment support services to women, men and families in the 10 counties served by Komen Ozark. 25% of the net race proceeds will be invested in breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Research Program.

Race registration for teams and individuals is now open! Events include a Survivor Breakfast and Parade, a timed 10K and 5K runs, non-timed 5K and a one mile fun walk.  Registration will also be available for Paws for the Cure, Kids for the Cure and Virtual participant.

For more information about the 19th annual Race for the Cure please visit: http://www.komenozark.org/komen-race-for-the-cure/