By Todd Cohen
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — In the seven years it has sponsored a Race for the Cure, the N.C. Triad affiliate of the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has raised $3.5 million to support its mission of eradicating breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening and treatment.
After paying expenses, which the Komen Foundation says may not exceed 25 percent of the funds it raises, and after giving some of the funds it raises to the foundation for national research projects, the local affiliate has made $1.6 million in local grants.
But with one in eight women in the United States expected to get breast cancer during her lifetime, one woman diagnosed with breast cancer ever three minutes, and one woman dying from breast cancer every 13 minutes, needs still are outpacing resources.
Men also are at risk of breast cancer, with 1,720 men this year expected to be diagnosed with the disease and 460 expected to die from it.
This year, the local Komen affiliate made nearly $400,000 in grants, or nearly $100,000 less than was requested by local groups that provide mammography screening, mentoring and other support services for women with breast cancer and breast-cancer survivors.
So this year, the local Komen affiliate hosted its Inaugural Pink Tie Ball, a gala event that netted $200,000.
“We need events like the Pink Tie Ball to further support our mission,” says Angie Murphrey, a community volunteer and member of the board of directors of the local Komen affiliate.
The gala, held Oct. 14 at The Embassy Suites in Winston-Salem, featured a dinner, a silent auction, dancing and cocktails.
Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., professor of surgery and chairman of the department of surgery at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and chairman of the Komen Foundation, spoke at the event.
Honorary chairpersons of the event were Mariana and Nido Qubein, president of High Point University.
Presenting sponsors were Mercedez-Benz of Winston-Salem and Mercedez-Benz of Greensboro.
The local affiliate, one of four in North Carolina, serves eight counties – Alamance, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin – and soon will add Randolph and Wilkes counties.
The affiliate also recently hired Chasity Hinken, its first staff member, as executive assistant, and next year plans to hire an executive director, Murphrey says.
“Over the last seven years, we were the work of volunteers completely,” she says. “We have staff a member there five days a week, eight hours a day, for people to volunteer and get information they need.”
While the group is known for the Race for the Cure, Murphrey says, “we really are an organization 12 months a year, and that’s what we want to be. We want to be there for the community.”
Murphrey, who chaired the race event last year, says she has a personal stake in helping to fight the disease.
Her grandmother died of breast cancer, she says, and she has two young daughters of her own.
“We will not rest until we find a cure,” she says.
For information, call 336-721-0037.