PRMA Support Spotlight: Susan G. Komen – San Antonio
For our Support Spotlight this week we are joined by the local Susan G. Komen organization in San Antonio.
How did the local chapter of Susan G. Komen get started?
Yes, absolutely, I am so happy to be with you here, Courtney. I know it is a crazy time for everyone, but being able to share all of the great things that are happening in the community and what you guys are doing for your patients is definitely inspiring. My name is Elise, and I am the executive director at Susan G. Komen in San Antonio. We started our local affiliate in 1997 by a group of local survivors who lived in the community, and recognized that there was great need in our city and county in terms of more support and education, especially with our high uninsured population. So, they applied to the national headquarters of Susan G. Komen to bring a local affiliate here, and start our very first Race for the Cure in ’97. We have been around since then, over 22 years! With money that we raise, staying in the local community that go towards giving the uninsured access to local care including the very important screening and treatment assistance.
Can you go into more detail about the Komen walk and how it has transitioned over the years to meet the needs of the local community?
Absolutely, so a lot of folks recognize us for our signature Race for the Cure event, which has been happening for over 20 years. This year, it was supposed to be this Saturday May the 9th, where we were going to unveil our inaugural More Than Pink Walk. We actually have moved this to September 26th to make sure there is enough time to make it a safer event and for when things die down a little bit with infection rates and that kind of thing. But one of the exciting things that is to come with these new More Than Pink Walks is that you will see and be able to experience more of the work that you are funding when you participate in a More Than Pink Walk. We have always been known for research and screening. A lot of folks don’t realize that we are actually involved in public policy and advocacy work. We do our own community profile in the county where we look at the most vulnerable zip codes in our city to determine where our care needs to be concentrated the most. So we have distilled our mission down into 4 key pillars with are Research, Community, Care and Action. You will see an area specific to each of those pillars at the walk. You will learn more about where we are funding research that is looking at the deadliest types of breast cancers. You will learn a little bit more about the laws that we were able to pass during the last Texas legislative session. You will learn about the screening, and the number of rides that folks have provided, and enabled us to provide to those who don’t have cars with their support of the walk. We are excited to show people, and engage them in a different way, get them more closely connected to the work that they are funding at the walk. The races have been wonderful, and they were great for the competitive, you know it is in the name “Race for the Cure”, in changing to the More Than Pink Walk, we are symbolizing that we walk together, that we will finish together, and that we are standing side by side each other in support of folks that are going through this disease. So we are really excited about what this is going to look like in the fall!
Can you break down how you guys help the local breast cancer community specifically for women in need? What kind of services do you offer them?
Absolutely! So we have a national helpline that folks can call 1-877-GOKOMEN for any questions related to care. We have a localized treatment assistance program, where folks who have breast cancer now, who have a diagnosis and are in need, can get direct access to a limited financial grant. This can help them with food, with gas, transportation, or medical supplies. We also have programs that are helping for preventative screening mammograms – these have kind of been put on pause from recommendations from the medical community, so as not to expose people to a healthcare system that is a little bit overburdened at this time. But we still have programs that can help with the diagnostic testing if you do have lumps or something that is concerning, we want you to know that you don’t have to stay home just because of the pandemic. There are programs that can help you get diagnostic testing. We still have programs that are able to help with transportation. So we run the whole gambit of programs and support systems for folks that have been diagnosed or are trying to make sure that they don’t have breast cancer. Even the aftercare, folks still need wigs and scarves’ and we have programs that can help with that.
We love that you have that support for those women, especially because the need was there before. But even more so now because of the financial hardship that is going to come from Coronavirus, this is going to be even more of a need in a more highlighted area of support that you guys can support the local community.
Unfortunately the need is getting greater, our community had a lot of need before this, with the rising number of unemployed and folks losing their insurance status. These programs are more important now than ever.
To learn more about Susan G. Komen – San Antonio visit their website HERE.
Susan G. Komen – San Antonio is an amazing local organization focused on providing the local breast cancer community financial assistance, needed research funding and legislation advocacy.