Charity Spotlight: Ten Million Steps Equals $350K for Komen OC

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Book Divas team walked at the Back Bay to support Susan G. Komen OC

Susan G. Komen Orange County, the second largest Komen affiliate in the country, hosted its second annual MORE THAN PINK Walk on Sept. 26.

For many years, the walk has traditionally been held in Fashion Island, but like many charity events this year, the walk was spread virtually throughout Orange County neighborhoods.

Nearly 2,000 Orange County residents came together to “walk where they are” while celebrating the lives of their loved ones who have been affected by breast cancer. While donations will continue through October, the community has already taken more than 10 million steps and helped raised over $350,000 so far to fund lifesaving research and access to care for those battling breast cancer.

The event kicked off at 9 a.m. with the virtual MORE THAN PINK OC Morning Show, which included a warmup from OrangeTheory Fitness and highlighted inspiring stories of resilience from survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer.

Participants then began their walk in their own neighborhoods and communities, tracking their steps and engaging in challenges using the Susan G. Komen MORE THAN PINK Walk Mobile App.

Breast cancer survivor Rebecca Hultquist, (center) walks with family members Jeannie DeHart and Steve DeHart near the Pacific Life building in Fashion Island

“Despite going virtual this year, the community has stepped up in a way that we could not have imagined,” said Komen Orange County CEO Megan Klink. “The support from our community is proof that our mission to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer, is one at the heart of many Orange County residents. Orange County can help us as we continue our fight against breast cancer this Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October by donating online and learning more about early detection and prevention, advocacy, and research at komenoc.org.”

The signature fundraising event pivoted to a virtual platform to ensure participants and their families were protected against the novel coronavirus, especially those who are living with breast cancer. The impact of COVID-19, including rising unemployment, quarantines, and an overburdened healthcare system are causing the perfect storm for breast cancer patients who have questions or need care.

Recca Hultquist, 15 year breast cancer survivor

Funds raised through the Virtual MORE THAN PINK Walk will address urgent needs in the local breast cancer community, including:

  • Patient navigation to reduce systemic, programmatic and social barriers to breast care and services, resulting in improved outcomes for women in Orange County
  • Financial assistance for cost of living expenses for those in active treatment
  • Advocacy for transformative health policies and improved access to affordable, high-quality breast health and cancer care services
  • Breast cancer screening for uninsured or underinsured women in need
  • Virtual educational experiences facilitated by experts to provide critical, timely information related to breast health and COVID19 and addressing questions and concerns on how to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Lifesaving research and clinical trials to discover new treatments
  • Operational Support in partnership with local breast health organizations to help meet higher demands they are seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

While the Walk is now over, the fundraising is not. Komen Orange County will continue encouraging the community to raise funds to support its vision to one day see a world without breast cancer through the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The nonprofit’s goal is to raise $500,000, which will directly pour into the Orange County community by funding lifesaving research, ensuring access to care for all, providing community events and support to all affected by breast cancer and by taking action for breast cancer patients, including those living with metastatic breast cancer.

The 2020 Komen Orange County MORE THAN PINK Walk was presented by Bank of America and Walgreens, with sponsors including The Allergan Foundation, ABC7, Kaiser Permanente, Fashion Island, Ingram Micro, Mentor Worldwide, Natrelle, Cox Communications, and The District at Tustin Legacy.

To learn more about the Walk and how to support Komen Orange County throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please visit www.komenoc.org/walk.

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026.

Komen was founded in 1982 by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Komen Orange County is working to better the lives of those that face breast cancer in the local community. Through events like the Komen Orange County MORE THAN PINK Walk, Komen Orange County has invested more than $42 million in community breast health programs and has helped contribute to the more than $920 million invested globally in research. For more information, visit www.komenoc.org.

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