Judith McKenna Named Honorary Chair for 2016 Race for the Cure

18thAnnual Komen Ozark Race for the Cure

JudithMcKenna - Profile

Rogers, Ark. (February 2016) – The Susan G. Komen Ozark Affiliate announced today that Judith McKenna will be the honorary race chair for the 2016 Komen Ozark Race for the Cure on April 30, 2016 at Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall in Rogers.

Judith McKenna is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S. and is responsible for the company’s U.S. operations, including more than 4,600 retail locations. Additional responsibilities include the development of new formats as well as the Walmart Services, U.S. Asset Protection, Walmart Realty and Central Operations.

“We are honored and excited to have Judith McKenna 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.  Judith’s support will help build awareness of the local need.”

“Supporting research, funding and care for those suffering from breast cancer has long been a passion of mine, said McKenna. “I am honored to be the race chair for the 2016 Komen Ozark Race for the Cure to help raise money to support women, men and their families affected by breast cancer in Northwest Arkansas.”

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 18th year the race will be held in Northwest Arkansas.  On April 30, 2016 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 will open soon.  Events include timed 10K and 5K runs, non-timed 5K and a one mile fun walk.  Registration will also be available for Bark for the Cure, Kids for the Cure, Teens for the Cure and Sleep in for the Cure.

For more information about the 18th annual Race for the Cure please visit: http://www.komenozark.org/komen-race-for-the-cure/

 

And The Winner Is…

Team T-Shirt Winner 2015

The winner of the Terri’s T-shirt Contest at our Race for the Cure is Team Jennifer!  Jennifer Snow Bryant is a breast cancer survivor and the inspiration behind Team Jennifer.  We reached out to Jennifer to share her story.

Jennifer Snow Bryant-2

A little about my story…
I was diagnosed at 35 after finding a lump on my left breast.  My sons were 3 & 5 at the time. I was stage 1, grade 3. I had a double mastectomy, 4 rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation. I found out I have the brca 2 gene so I chose to have a hysterectomy to avoid ovarian cancer. I had capsular contracture (from radiation we believe) on my left side and didn’t heal well due to radiation. This also led to a strep b infection that made me very ill and resulted in removing my implant and later having the latissimus flap surgery. My journey started in October 2010 and ended (if it really ever ends) in November 2012.
Jennifer Snow Bryant
I can’t imagine taking this journey without the best Doctors, nurses, family and friends in my life. No one would obviously choose to go through anything like Breast Cancer but if they do, I wish everyone had the experience I had!

I would also like to add that my Delta Zeta big sis, Lori Walker, always helps me with the shirts. Her mom passed away from Breast Cancer so it was a cause close to her heart before I was diagnosed and now she is a huge supporter for me as well.

Jennifer Snow Bryant-3

Congratulations Team Jennifer on winning the Terri’s T-Shirt Contest!

*Each year, Komen Ozark hosts a Team T-shirt Contest to award the most popular t-shirt from the Race for the Cure.  Three years ago, we moved the Team T-Shirt Contest to social media with the winner being chosen through Facebook “likes.”  The last two years, Terri’s Troops have won the t-shirt contest and Komen Ozark has decided to name the contest in memory of Terri Walker, the driving force of Terri’s Troops. Terri was diagnosed with Stage 4 Triple Negative Breast Cancer on March 2012 and passed away on July 22, 2014. Terri was an inspiration to anyone who met her. She remained positive throughout all of her treatment.

Terri's Troops 3

Terri’s T-Shirt Contest

Terri's Troops 3

Terri Walker at Race for the Cure

Each year, Komen Ozark hosts a Team T-shirt Contest to award the most popular      t-shirt from the Race for the Cure.  Five years ago, we moved the Team T-Shirt Contest to social media with the winner being chosen through Facebook “likes.”

Terri’s Troops won the t-shirt contest several years in a row and Komen Ozark decided to name the contest in memory of Terri Walker, the driving force of Terri’s Troops. The team was created in 2012 to show their support for Terri Walker during her battle against triple negative breast cancer.

Terri’s Story as told through her friends and family:

Terri was diagnosed with Stage 4 Triple Negative Breast Cancer in March 2012.  After very aggressive chemotherapy, radiation treatments and a mastectomy, she was cancer free for almost 7 months, but then discovered a lump in her thigh muscle in November 2013.  Terri went through radiation again to treat the tumor.  The cancer then metastasized to her brain.  Terri underwent surgery for the brain tumor in February 2014 and that is when it was discovered that she had Leptomeningeal Metastasis and the cancer had spread to her spinal fluid.  She never lost faith and never gave up.  She went to be with the Lord on July 22nd, 2014 surrounded by family and friends.

Terri was an inspiration to anyone who met her.  She remained positive through everything and always remained a fighter.  She will be forever missed, but we will continue to fight this awful disease in her honor.

Terri’s Troops

Terri's Troops

We’ve Come A Long Way Baby!

Blog-We've Come a long way baby

If you are “a woman of a certain age” you probably remember when the words “breast cancer” were always spoken (if they were spoken) in a whisper.

Did you know that in the early 1950’s, The New York Times refused to print an advertisement from a breast cancer support group? Editors objected to the use of both the word “breast” and the word “cancer”.

We hear that today and think “seriously?!”  We can think that because Komen has been the leading force in de-stigmatizing breast cancer. With conversation comes knowledge and with knowledge comes power and with power comes money and research and results. It all starts with awareness.

I am not sure I realized just how different my journey was from women of other generations until I chatted with my next-door neighbor Hope Deen.

Miss Hope turned 90 last year and she is my idol. (I am Southern and am slightly uncomfortable with calling her simply “Hope” in her presence so Miss Hope she is.)

Hope is so many kinds of fabulous that I cannot count them all. No matter what time of day I see her – announced or unannounced – she is fashionably attired (envision slim pants, crisp white dress shirts, cute flats and cheetah print accessories), with perfect hair / nails / makeup, and mentally sharper than I ever will be. Politics, fashion, celebrities, current events…she knows and has opinions on all of it. Hope FaceTimes on her iPad. Last we visited, she was planning a prank on her family. She was debating whether her Face Time disguise should be Barack Obama (she is a fervent Democrat), Sophia Loren, or Elvis – by wearing a mask she already owns.

I may have voted for the fabulous octogenarian Ms. Loren but I want to BE Hope Deen!

What I love most about Hope is that she will say exactly what she is thinking and half the time you never see it coming. For example, regarding a certain political scandal…”People just need to stop being so naïve!” (It was actually delightfully spicier than that but I can’t blog it here. Love her!)

This openness includes a wonderful willingness to tell her life stories. Hope noticed my pink ribbon car bling and we started chatting about breast cancer one day. She was so dismayed to learn I am a survivor (“but you’re too young!” – bless you Miss Hope). Then she told me her story.

Hope is the mother of three wonderful sons. When the boys were very little, she felt a lump in a breast and consulted her doctor. After referrals to specialists, Hope learned that the mass could indeed could be cancer. The standard of care at that time was to remove the lump under general anesthesia and biopsy it while the patient was still unconscious. If cancerous, a radical mastectomy would be performed and as Hope put it “my lady parts would be removed too.”

Miss Hope’s story of waking up and trying to determine if she was intact just stunned me. I knew breast cancer wasn’t spoken about much before the 1980’s, but I never followed that through…how the lack of awareness, low patient empowerment and limited scientific knowledge impacted the actual patient experience. Wow.

Yes dealing with breast cancer was hard, but I had the luxury of so many options for care (lumpectomy, single mastectomy, double mastectomy…if mastectomy, whether to reconstruct…and if so, how). I made my own decisions supported by doctors and other breast cancer professionals who, to a person, treated me with kindness and as a peer. They respected that I was educated about my disease. My own dad read every word in Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book. Thank you Susan G Komen for bringing breast cancer into the light!

Hope’s lump was benign…but the memory of that 50-plus-year-ago incident stayed with her. When she told me the story, she recalled every detail as if it were yesterday.

From fifty years ago to now to fifty years in the future…where will this journey take us? It’s up to us. My dream is that breast cancer will be taught in medical and history books right next to scurvy, and future generations of little girls will never grow up to associate their favorite color with a disease.

Let’s do everything we can this year to support the Race for the Cure with renewed purpose and urgency.

The cure IS out there. It’s past time we found it.

Marybeth

Marybeth Cornwell Head Shot Pink Jacket

*Our Guest Blogger, Marybeth Cornwell is the Honorary Survivor Chair for the 17th Annual Komen Ozark Race for the Cure.  Marybeth is the Senior Vice President of Home for Walmart United States and just celebrated her three year cancerversary.

Meet Our Featured Survivor, Jennifer!

Each week leading up to the Komen Ozark’s 16th Annual Race for the Cure, we will be highlighting a different local survivor.  Each survivor has an important story and message to tell; whether it is early detection, giving back or becoming an advocate for the cause we are so thankful for the women who are giving us an insight into their journeys. 

The Journey of Jennifer GarnerImage

A journey is an act of traveling from one place to another, usually taking a long time. I call the last seven months of my life just that – a journey.   It has been full of bumps, curves and detours. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets have frequented me along the way. I have found amazing people and developed friendships and relationships that I would never trade for anything. I have laughed, I have cried and I have prayed.

My journey began in June 2013 when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer. Like most people, I was stunned. Being only 36 years old, I had not yet had a mammogram. By miracle, I found the tumor myself. The thought of where I would be if I had not found it is unbearable to think about.

Part of my journey has involved developing a relationship with the local Susan G. Komen affiliate. They have been a light in the darkness of my journey. Their support and presence in the daily fight against breast cancer has been daily encouragement. They are committed to education and community awareness.

Most importantly for me, they have shown me that my fight never ends. After chemotherapy, I felt empty.   There was a huge void in my life. I felt like I was no longer fighting. I missed the routine, sharing time with other cancer patients and the feeling that I was fighting. Being involved and volunteering with Susan G Komen helps fills that void. It allows the fight to continue.  It keeps the hope alive. I am committed to help spread awareness, education and support.

After searching for the “End of Road” sign, I have discovered that there is no such thing. This journey never ends. It changes directions, but never ends. I know that the road behind and in front of me has already been paved. I cannot change it, I can only embrace it. I am simply just the traveler on this journey.