Meet BigWig Rebecca Elkins!

“My story begins about 10 years ago when my Grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was fighting her fight as my Grandfather was fighting his with prostate cancer. The courage these two had was inspiring, yet heartbreaking. But I was in my early thirties, and breast cancer awareness was that it sucked, and I kept it top of mind with self-exams. but not a lot more.

A few years later, during a normal doctor’s visit, my doctor did a breast exam and said “Wow, that’s a mighty big lump.”  Ok, not EXACTLY what you’d want to hear.  And in my head I was thinking “don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry,” which didn’t work, and in a matter of minutes I was surrounded by the nursing staff and in for a mammogram within 24 hours.  After a very extensive mammogram and ultrasound, it was determined it was just some small calcium deposits.  It was a huge relief.  Around the same time, my sister and I decided to do the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk where participants walk 60 miles in three days raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research and programs.  I’ve never experienced anything like those three days.  We were tired, but encouraged by the thousands walking, cheering and supporting each other.  Our cousin, Sandra, did pass away from breast cancer and that is why I accepted the BigWig challenge.  What I love is that 75% of the money the BigWigs raise stays local, for local programs.  For people to get to a mammogram appointment, for someone like me who hears “that’s a might big lump,” but doesn’t get the same outcome I did.  For families that just need someone to tell them what they need to do next while they digest and prepare for a future that isn’t exactly the one they planned for.

Please help those whose futures have shifted a bit by donating to any one of us in this year’s BigWig program.  You may be helping someone you know!”

Rebecca Elkins is the co-owner of Elkins Design.  You can donate to Rebecca’s BigWig page at: https://bit.ly/2PlUx54 

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Meet Ginger Brooks-Komen Ozark BigWig and 8 Year Survivor!

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Komen Ozark is proud to feature one of our BigWigs and Breast Cancer Survivor, Ginger Brooks!  Come cheer on Ginger and watch the other 9 BigWigs walk the runway at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon on Friday, October 2 from 11:30-1pm at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale.  Tickets are still available at http://www.komenozark.org.

Ginger’s Story

A Mammogram saved my life!

You never know how you will react when you hear the words “You have cancer”.  I had thought about this before, and thought that I would not be able to handle it.  But on August 27th, 2007 (my son’s 11th birthday), I heard those words, and after shock and tears, we (my family and friends) put on our boxing gloves and went on to fight!

I had had mammograms before, and with dense breasts, I always got called back.  In 2007, I was late getting my mammogram appointment scheduled and my husband, Chris kept urging me to get it.  Well, they called me back for a second mammogram, and then back again for an ultra-sound, because the radiologist “didn’t like what he saw”.  Well, that turned out to be a Stage 1 diagnosis, caught early.

I had an MRI to ensure there was only 1 tumor and I was a great candidate for a lumpectomy.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get clear margins and went for a second lumpectomy 2 weeks later.  The pathology report showed that not only did I not have clear margins again, but a second tumor was found.  After much prayer and research, we decided that a double mastectomy was right for us.  We also research post treatment options, chemo, tamoxifen and determined, along with my doctors that 5 years of tamoxifen was right for me.  In 2014, I opted for a full hysterectomy to fully protect myself and starve the cancer out!

I have been cancer free 8 years now and feel very fortunate that we had great doctors, an observant radiologist, and very good medical coverage.  It is important to be a participant in your care, understand your diagnosis, and enlist your friends to help!  It takes an army of friends to help you and your family through the process.  I was fortunate to have family, friends and co-workers at my side through the entire time!

I am very passionate about everyone being screened, but not everyone has access to the care that I did and Komen helps fill that gap.  I am also passionate about finding a cure. I have a close friend who was diagnosed 2 weeks before me, she battled for over 5 years, but she lost that fight.   I also, have a younger sister and 9 year old niece, both will be watched carefully.  I pray that my niece will NEVER have to worry about battling this terrible disease.  So when I was asked to be an inaugural BigWig, I jumped at the chance!  I took my BigWig to Facebook and email, and literally around the world!  What a better way to spread the word, that we can save lives and find a cure!!!

Things to know:

  1. Get your mammogram and encourage your family and friends to do the same
  2. Be a participant in your care, know your diagnosis and understand your options
  3. Don’t go it alone. Your family and friends want to help, let them!
  4. Be gentle with yourself, recovery takes time
  5. Support Komen as they research for a cure!

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New! Komen Ozark BigWig Campaign!

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BigWig [ ˈbigˌwig ] (noun): an important person, usually in a particular sphere; synonyms: VIP · (very) important person

Komen Ozark BigWig (noun): a very important person on a mission to end breast cancer forever by raising awareness and funds in their community; willing to have fun while wearing a ridiculous pink wig.

The Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen is proud to announce a brand NEW campaign coming to Northwest Arkansas called the BigWig program.  A BigWig is a community leader who has a passion for helping the uninsured/underinsured women in our community receive lifesaving services.  These BigWigs will hit the streets of our local community in their pink wigs beginning late August to raise awareness and funds to help in the fight to end breast cancer forever.  The program will start at the end of August and will last up until the ultimate BigWig will be “crowned” at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon on October 2nd.  To learn more about the program, who will be included in the inaugural group of BigWigs and how you can give to your favorite BigWig visit www.komenozark.org or follow the action on Komen Ozark’s social media sites.

**The BigWig reveal will happen on KNWA Today (NBC) at 6:45 a.m. then again on Fox 24 News at 7, around 7:15 a.m. **