Category Archives: Susan G. Komen

So close to $100,000!

The walk is 2 weeks away.  It’s hard to believe another year has gone by but it has, and we are almost there. We’ve raised nearly $100,000 for the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day.  And I am so incredibly proud of my hard-working 3-Day teammates for planning fundraisers, training, buying lots of gear and working so hard to win this battle. 

Ta Ta ladies bartending at Lily's Seafood.

This is a big huge thank you message to my team, my supporters, my blog readers and the ones who I spam with countless emails about my fundraising and other activities.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and helping me reach my goals.  I am touched beyond belief each day at the generosity of all of you.

boocooing for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure

We are 25 days away from the start of the 3-Day.  It’s hard to believe it’s almost here–a year of fund raising, training, picking out shirts and getting ready for the big event with my team of over 45 members.  As of today, Ta Ta Breast Cancer has raised nearly $90,000 and we are shooting for our $125,000 goal.  We’ve had more fundraisers than I can count and nearly 1,200 individual donations to our team.  I’m very impressed with this group and extremely proud to be team captain.

Next week, we have a brand new fund raising opportunity.  It’s one more way for my team members or any other walkers to reach their goals.  My newest client boocoo auctions is conducting 2 hour auctions for 7 days straight starting this Sunday 7/25 at 8pm.  It’s a pretty easy concept.  Bid on some super cool items.  If you are the winning bidder, select your charity and the entire amount you pay for your item will be donated to your charity.    Better yet, see if any of your friends are in the market for an Ipad, a flat screen tv or a new sound system.  Take a look at all the great items available and mark your calendars.

Vote for FORCE in the Chase Community Giving Challenge

If you regularly read my blog, you know that I am very passionate about a lot of organizations, but there are two in particular that are nearest and dearest to my heart.  One is Susan G. Komen–the organization dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer. 

The other organization is quite a bit smaller and in the shadow of the biggies but no less important.  It’s called FORCE and their mission is to improve the lives of people affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  It was started by a wonderful woman who cares deeply about this cause and who works tirelessly to make a difference in our community.  FORCE has helped me, but more importantly I’ve seen the masses of women who have come to challenging crossroads in their lives and have persevered with the support of FORCE.  I’ve sat in local meetings and watched women tearfully talk about how alone they felt before they discovered the support of FORCE. 

FORCE has some important roles in our community.  First and foremost, FORCE has the ability, through local outreach coordinators all over the country, to provide support on an individual and group level to women who are navigating the complex world of hereditary cancer.  In addition to the local support groups, the message boards provide a safe-haven for women to come together.  And the toll-free 1-800 number is a place for people to turn when they don’t know where else to go.

Second, FORCE advocates for the hereditary cancer community–taking on issues such as GINA to make sure our rights are protected and we cannot be discrimated against for our genetic make-up.

And last, FORCE helps raise awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer so that women can learn of a cancer causing genetic mutation, take preventative measures and avoid a cancer diagnosis. 

Have I convinced you enough how much I care about and love this organization?  If I have, please take a few seconds to vote for FORCE in the Chase Community Giving Challenge.  If you have another few seconds to spare, post it on your Facebook page, tweet it and share it with your friends. We have the opportunity to win a grand prize of $250,000, one of 4 runner up prizes of $100,000 or one of 195 $20,000 prizes.  With your help, we can make this a reality.

Ta Ta Breast Cancer in action

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is still 4 months away but we are in heavy planning and fundraising mode. Very soon we’ll be entering training mode.

So much exciting news to report. We now have 48 team members–nearly double the size of last years team and we are shooting for $125,000. We’re still growing too and until Midnight CT on 4/23, you can save $25 off the registration when you use GOTEAM in the promotion code. So come on…Join us…We promise you an experience to remember.

In other news, we have tons of great ways for you (if you don’t want to walk) to help our team.

Getitpersonalized is offering a great Mother’s Day promotion. Stop by Sunday April 25 from 12-4 or Tuesday April 27 from 12-5, get your photo taken or bring in an existing photo, pick out your gift and they’ll have your personalized photo gift ready for you before Mother’s Day. Gifts start at $15. Be sure to mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and 20% will come back to our team.

Shop for a cause at AISH in Oak Park on May 6 from 6pm-9pm. Great shirts for kids and adults, jewelry and personalized notecards.

Join us for drinks, dessert and singing with Lisa Soble Siegmann on May 16 from 7pm-10pm at the JCC Teen Center–a little bit of camp in the heart of West Bloomfield. The cost is $36 per person and $50 per couple and every dollar gets donated back to the 3-Day.

Join us for our annual fundraiser at 24 Seconds in Berkley, Michigan Monday June 21 5:00-9:30 for all you can eat pizza, salad, turkey roll ups, veggie roll ups, chips and salsa plus mac and cheese, chicken tenders and french fries for the kids. $13 for adults, $7 for kids.

We hope to see you at our 2nd annual 3-Day 4th fest July 2 from 6:30-11:30 for great food, raffles, auction and fun.

As spring approaches, In home Window and Carpet Cleaning will donate a percentage to Ta Ta Breast Cancer (and they do a great job). Be sure to mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer when you book your appointment.

For some great pampering, visit TD Nails in Berkley on Mondays or Tuesdays and mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and a portion of your service will come back to our team.

If you can’t make it to any of our great fundraisers and still want to support our team, visit our team page and choose any one of our 48 team members to make a donation. We all have to make $2,300 and we appreciate every penny you can donate.

Thank you for helping Ta Ta Breast Cancer say goodbye to breast cancer forever.

Ta Ta Breast Cancer is working it…

The sun is shining and even though we are still at the beginning of February, my mind keeps wandering to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. My team is kicking it into high gear with some great fundraising, and I’m so proud of all of their ideas and energy. I’m feeling confident that we’ll end this year with a nice round $125,000 and thinking how much good this money can do in this fight. I now, sadly, know 5 women who are battling stage 4 breast cancer and all I can think about is how desperately I want them to live, long, full, enjoyable lives. Our only hope is research and the way to get there is by raising money. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m raising bucks, and I’m not stopping. Why? Because one friend in her 30s is seeing tremendous results on a Parp Inhibitor trial. And another friend in her 20s is starting a clinical trial shortly in hopes of seeing major disease reduction. All of these women need newer and better drugs to continue to fight this disease and that’s exactly what the money we raise helps fund.

My biggest fundraiser of the year is quickly approaching, and if you live in Michigan, I’d love to see you join us. We are seeing Spring Awakening at the Fisher Theater on Thursday April 29 at 8:00. For each ticket sold, $24 goes directly to Susan G. Komen and helps one of my teammates closer to their $2,300 goal.  And you pay the face value of the ticket.  It’s a win-win for all. If you are interested in joining us, you can RSVP on my event page or get in contact with me directly. If you can’t make the show but wish to donate or even walk, you can visit our team page.   And stay tuned for lots more exciting fundraisers before August. 

Help us save lives. Help us fight this disease. Help us end breast cancer.

Taking Action–Addressing the New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Last week I had the opportunity to join a great group of women on a panel to talk about the new breast cancer screening guidelines put out by the USPTF.  I sat at the table with Senator Gilda Jacobs, Dr. Ruth Lerman—a breast care specialist and 3 time breast cancer survivor—and Dr. Karen Hunt, Breast Imaging Site Director at Henry Ford Hospital.  The event was hosted by the Cancer Thrivers Network  for Jewish Women and moderated by another young breast cancer survivor and member of the Cancer Thrivers Network, Elizabeth Schiff Barash.  We all brought our unique point of views and expertise to the panel and I’m so thankful to the thrivers for putting this panel together so quickly.

The December 21 panel, with moderator Elizabeth Schiff Barash, Thrivers Michelle Passon and Patti Nemer and JFS Community Outreach Officer, Ellen Yashinsky Chute

It’s been 6 weeks since the USPTF released their new guidelines.  I often wonder if they envisioned the uproar and discussion their release would create.  It took the online communities through the blogosphere, news sites and social networks minutes to start posting opposition and opinions on the new guidelines.  There was no need to wait and hear more from them.  Their guidelines, as they released them on that November day, were clear.  If you were under 50 without knowledge of a family history, your best bet was to hope that the big “C” didn’t strike.  Because if it did, you would have no way of knowing until it was staring you in the face and was perhaps too late.  No mammograms, no need for breast self-exams and no clinical breast exams.  Talk about anxiety that unnecessary biopsies create, how about the anxiety of the woman that discovers stage 4 breast cancer when her cancer should have/could have been discovered earlier?  

We’ve spent 25 years educating women on the importance of routine mammograms beginning at age 40 and we’ve spent even longer touting the importance of breast self-exams.  Just recently, Deborah Wasserman Schultz introduced the EARLY Act which is designed to educate even younger women—specifically women under 40 about the importance of early detection.  Early detection of breast cancer saves lives and no one can deny that fact. 

So why do we have these new guidelines?  And what do they mean? Will laws change?  Will insurance companies change coverage? Will women start pushing their mammograms later and later? Will we no longer learn how to do a breast self-exam?  Will doctors continue to do clinical breast exams or will those go away?  I’m sure any of these scenarios are possible but for me, the scariest, is that women will actually listen to these guidelines.  Maybe not at first but when the chatter quiets down, people may start to push their screenings later and later.  They may start to ignore years of advice to check their breasts.  And guess what, more women will die of breast cancer. 

So where does this take me?  Clearly I disagree with the guidelines.  And yes I’m angry, borderline furious, but I see this as an opportunity to start a conversation and make a difference.  We can make sure that the women in our life understand that mammograms, breast self-exams and clinical breast exams are just as important today as they were on November 16.  We can sign petitions put out by FORCE and Susan G. Komen to make our voices heard and make sure all women have access to mammograms beginning at age 40. We can push for better diagnostic tools to detect cancer even earlier, and we can advocate for our own health by doing breast self-exams, getting proper clinical breast exams and continuing on with our yearly screenings.

Another big win for Ta Ta Breast Cancer and Brogan & Partners

Awhile ago, I posted about Ta Ta Breast Cancer’s big win at the D show. Well the logo pulled out another big win at the International Graphis Awards—yep, that’s right international award for Ta Ta Breast Cancer. I’m especially proud that the logo was created by my good friend and colleague, Dave Ryan. Dave’s created great work for my clients for many years and snagged awards along the way but this one was near and dear to my heart. So a big thank you to Dave and Brogan & Partners for pulling out one more big win.

Let the Breast Cancer 3-Day fundraising begin

We seem to be kicking into high gear in the fundraising area pretty quickly which is great news since we’ve got a team of 30 members so far for the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the cure—all with a $2,300 goal.

Our big 2009 fundraiser

Here’s what we’ve got planned:

We’ll be wrapping gifts at Borders at 13 mile and Southfield Rd. on December 4, 5 and 11th from 10a-2p. Stop by and say hello, grab some gifts and let the lovely ladies (and one man) of Ta Ta Breast Cancer wrap them for you. Hope to see you there.

Also, on December 5th, print out a flyer and drop into Catching Fireflies for some great holiday shopping. 12% of whatever you purchase will benefit our team.

As always, you can visit TD nails on Mondays or Tuesdays, mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and our team will benefit with 10% of your purchase.

Needs your carpets, tile or grout professionally cleaned; call In-home Window Cleaning at 248-623-5858. Schedule a free estimate. If you hire them, make sure to mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and 15% will come back to our team.

And you can always do your holiday shopping online by registering as a member of our shopping portal. The great news is you get cash back and Ta Ta Breast Cancer benefits too.

Stay tuned for announcements about some other great fundraisers in the spring including a mother/daughter event at Salon Pavlina in Farmington Hills and our big theater fundraiser-Spring Awakening winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2007. We’re hoping to raise $125,000 this year.

Got any other thoughts or ideas for us or want to join our team, leave a comment or get in touch.

Heading into Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In my last post, I wrote that it had been a long interesting week.  On Wednesday, just one day before the start of breast cancer awareness month, I had the opportunity to hear Nancy Brinker speak at the Mothers Daughters Sisters and Friends luncheon benefiting the Francee and Benson Ford Jr. Breast Care and Wellness Center at Henry Ford Hospital.  Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Nancy Brinker has become one of my personal heros.  27 years ago, she promised her dying sister she would do everything she could to end breast cancer.  And apparently when Nancy Brinker sets her mind on something, she doesn’t give up.  2007KomenLogo

Hearing her speak gave me a sense of hope and filled an intense sadness I felt just one day earlier.  Susan G. Komen is the organization that has funded the research to keep so many women alive.  Susan G. Komen is the organization that changed breast cancer from a deep dark secret to an everyday conversation.  And because of Susan G. Komen, during the month of October, we are surrounded by pink to honor and recognize those that continue to fight.    I am proud to be involved with this organization and so happy I had the opportunity to hear Nancy in person.  What a great way to head into October.

Thank you Nancy for inspiring us, leading us, and never settling for anything less than a world without breast cancer.

100 things to share about cancer in honor of my 100th blog post.

In honor of my 100th blog post, I’ve started a list of 100 things to share about cancer. I actually thought a lot about this list.  I didn’t want to bore with you with lots of useless facts.  Haven’t found 100 organizations that I love and while I’ve met lots of cool people through my journey, I can’t think of 100 to highlight.  This is a combination list and includes really cool organization, some interesting facts and statistics, great doctors, some cool people I’ve met along the way and anything else random I can share with you. I hope you find some of the links and facts within this post helpful.  Please note: I am not a doctor–just a survivor involved in the breast cancer world.   

I’ll start with really cool organizations. Some I know pretty intimately and some I just know on the surface. Regardless, they are all worth checking out and have some pretty great people involved.

BRCA and other hereditary cancer facts

  • About 10-15% of cancers are hereditary.
  • A BRCA mutation can give you up to an 87% lifetime risk of breast cancer.
  • Ashkenazi Jews have a 1 in 40 chance of having a BRCA mutation.
  • The general population has a 1 in 400 chance of having a BRCA mutation.
  • Family history on your father’s side is equally as important as family history on your mother’s side.
  • If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you should talk with a genetic counselor to assess your risk.
  • Triple negative breast cancer is common among women with a BRCA 1 mutation.
  • Estrogen positive breast cancer is common among women with a BRCA 2 mutation.
  • Men with a BRCA 1 mutation have roughly a 6% lifetime risk of breast cancer.
  • Men with a BRCA 2 mutation have roughly a 7% lifetime risk of breast cancer.
  • Bilateral mastectomy is the best way to avoid breast cancer in women with a BRCA mutation.

Random Breast Cancer facts and tidbits

  • Each year 10,000 women under age 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • As of 2008, there are 2.5 million women in the US who have survived breast cancer.
  • There will be an estimated 192,000 cases of breast cancer in the United States this year.
  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer is very frequently misdiagnosed. See other less common breast cancer symptoms below.
  • If you feel a lump, it’s best to have it removed or biopsied rather than waiting and seeing.
  • Women under 40 have very dense breasts.
  • Abnormalities in breast tissue are difficult to detect through mammograms when women have dense breasts.
  • Monthly self breast exams are very important.
  • There are many types of breast cancers.
  • Breast cancers in women under 40 tend to be more aggressive and have a worse prognosis.
  • There are other ways to cut your risks of breast cancer if you are at high risk — like the drug Tamoxifen.
  • Susan G. Komen spent 100 million dollars on breast cancer research in 2008.
  • Every major advancement in breast cancer research has been touched by a Susan G. Komen grant.
  • Women can get breast cancer in their 20s and often these cancers go undiagnosed.
  • Doctors can test lymph nodes for cancer by first doing a sentinal node biopsy.

There are lots of other breast cancer symptoms other than a lump

  • Swelling of all or part of your breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain or nipple turning inward
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of your nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge
  • Lump in your underarm

Breast cancer reconstruction options – lots of great ones

  • Immediate reconstruction with tissue expanders
  • DIEP Flap
  • One Step
  • Tram
  • Nipple Sparing
  • Lat Flap

Really cool people I’ve met through my breast cancer experience

  • Lori Buckfire – check out a hilarious blog from a very inspiring person
  • Pam Lucken – a survivor I met after she was diagnosed, now a good friend
  • Patti Nemer – knows everyone in the Michigan Breast Cancer community
  • Valerie Fraser – Inflammatory Breast Cancer Survivor and big advocate in the breast cancer community
  • Jonny Imerman – testicular cancer survivor and founder of Imerman’s Angels
  • Missy Mazorati-Bergman – another wonderful breast cancer survivor who walked around with the boldest bald head ever for 6 months
  • Laurie Alpers – survivor friend who got very involved with FORCE early on and now walks with me on Ta Ta Breast Cancer
  • Whitney Ducaine – my genetics counselor who helped me start the first Southeast Michigan outreach group for FORCE
  • Lindsay Avner – founder of Be Bright Pink
  • Sue Friedman – Executive Director and Founder of FORCE
  • Joanna Rudnick – Producer of documentary In the Family
  • The women of Ta Ta Breast Cancer — both my new friends and old friends
  • The walkers, crew and staff of the Breast Cancer 3-Day who devote so much to finding a cure for this disease
  • My new FORCE family including all the wonderful genetics counselors in Southeast Michigan
  • The women and men I met at the FORCE conference in Orlando
  • Lots of really inspiring advocates I met at the Susan G. Komen Advocate Training
  • The women battling cancer everyday and reminding me why I need to keep fighting

Fun websites to buy  cancer gear

 Great doctors

  • Dr. Alvin Schoenberger – greatest OBGYN ever who was very aggressive in making sure we took action with my lump
  • Dr. Jeffrey Margolis – brilliant Oncologist who treated me
  • Dr. Daniel Sherbert – super nice and extremely talented Plastic Surgeon
  • Dr. William Kestenberg – performed my biopsy, results on Thursday night, scheduled all my tests throughout the weekend so I didn’t have to wait the weekend to learn that the cancer had not spread
  • Dr. Scott Schell – my breast surgeon
  • Dr. Ruth Lerman – follows me for yearly breast exams, also a breast cancer survivor
  • Dr. Dana Zakalik – Oncologist very involved in cancer genetics and helped start our local FORCE group
  • Dr. Laura Freedman – Radiation Oncologist and personal friend who was always willing to talk to me
  • Dr. Melissa Davidson – my trusted sister-in-law also a physician who  reviewed my pathology report and all my test results and spent lots of time helping me navigate
  • Dr. Scott Davidson – my brother-in-law who spent lots of time on the phone with me following my diagnosis and during my treatment

Easy ways to raise money

  • No need to plan an elaborate black tie dinner, a backyard party with all the food donated and an auction can generate lots of good income without requiring a big donation.
  • Promote your favorite places and ask them to make a donation in return.  TD nails has donated several hundred dollars to the Breast Cancer 3-Day just by having people mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer. 
  • Have a bar night — we promoted our 24 Seconds fundraiser via Facebook and a small amount of email and raised over $1,000 without any out of pocket cost
  • Theater nights — we promote and buy as many tickets as we need — raised over $3,000 for Annie

Some Great Books

Great Movies

As I was developing this list, I realized that I have a ton of great people reading my blog who could provide some additional input into my list of 100 so I’ve left room in the list–I have about 10 left.   Any organizations you love, doctors you trust, must-read books, new things you’ve learned, tidbits that we can all share.  The more we can help eachother out, the better we can fight.  So go ahead and post a comment, help me complete my list of 100.

Additions to the list

Thanks Molly, Patty, Kim, Laurie and Alyssa for adding some great sites and tips to check out by posting a comment.  Keep em coming….

  • Sister’s Hope – Recommended by the Pink Fund
  • eraceibc.com – A site devoted to Inflammatory Breast Cancer
  • thebcmall.com
  • Unbeatable – a musical about breast cancer.  I need to know when they are coming to Detroit.  Looks pretty darn funny.  Check out the description I pulled from their website and the very cute image.3417805339_54165a1dda

UNBEATABLE! juxtaposes the gravity of a cancer diagnosis with optimism, hopefulness and a keen sense of humor. The message of UNBEATABLE! is universal and applies to anyone who goes through life at full speed, without realizing that in the end, it is the people we love in our lives, not the “to do” lists, that deserve our time and attention.

Laurie’s Additions

  • Dr. Julio Sosa – Plastic Surgeon
  • Shades of Pink Foundation – non-profit to help women with financial issues after a breast cancer diagnosis
  • Dr. Pamela Benitiz – Breast Surgeon

Another suggestion from a trusted source…

Dr. Gail Parker – therapist in Southeast Michigan available to provide support to people with BRCA Mutations

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