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    October 2014
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Family Gives Me Strength – Amber Burg


“Today is another new day.  I can choose to reflect on the things I have lost, or I can choose to reflect on the reasons I still have to be thankful- my family: my godsend of a husband John and my two incredible kids Grace and Johnny.  The love from my family is what gives me strength every day to fight and survivor this disease.  When my four-year-old daughter looks into my eyes and asks me if she is going to get cancer too, I want to tell her with certainty she will not be another statistic.  Since my diagnosis, I have found a new purpose for my life.  I want to be an advocate for young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and to raise awareness that breast cancer does not discriminate when it comes to age.” – Amber Burg

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Upcoming Free Webinars


Webinar Info: 10.10.2014
Topic: Understanding the Role of Biomarkers in the Care and Treatment of People Living with Cancer
1:30PM ET

Register here

Webinar Info: 10.15.2014
Topic: Integrative Oncology Services: Introduction to Naturopathic Medicine
11:30AM/12:30PM CT/ET

Register here.

Description: Join Michelle Smekens, Naturopathic Oncology Provider with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, as she provides a basic overview of naturopathic medicine. In addition, the presentation will address breast cancer risk reduction and and side effect management through supplements, minerals, and lifestyle.

Webinar Info: 10.22.2014 
Topic: The Metastatic Cascade
11:30AM/12:30PM  CT/ET

Register here.

Description: Welch serves as the founding director of the Department of Cancer Biology and director for National Foundation for Cancer Research Center for Metastasis Research for The University of Kansas Medical Center, chair and professor of Cancer Biology at The University of Kansas School of Medicine and is a Kansas Bioscience Authority Eminent Scholar. In addition, Welch is a Susan G. Komen International Scientific Advisory Board Member and his laboratory at The University of Kansas Cancer Center currently receives funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Webinar Info: 10.30.2014
Topic: Update on Early Stage Breast Cancer
1:30PM ET

Register here.

Ask the Exercise Physiologist: Amanda Putnam

In a previous  Survivor Newsletter* we offered survivors the opportunity to ask questions regarding exercise during and post treatment and surgery. We’re fortunate to have Amanda Putnam from Mount Carmel Cardiac Rehabilitation answer some of the questions submitted.

*Sign up for our survivor-only newsletter here.

Q1: Where should I focus my time, cardio or weight lifting?

A1: It is important to do a good balance.  A cancer diagnosis can mean many things: a change in the center of gravity with surgery; weakness due to surgery, treatment side effects or a more sedentary lifestyle during recovery; and many side effects that may involve bone loss, lymphedema and possibly many other things.   It is suggested that we all get 150 min/week of moderate aerobic exercise, less if exercise if more strenuous.  It is important to take into account where you are starting and ease into the exercise as you try to reach this goal.  This does a lot to keep the cardiovascular system healthy, decreases cholesterol and blood pressure, among many other benefits.  It is also very important to maintain muscular strength and endurance, bone mass and balance, all of which can be prompted wth resistance training.  If lymphedema is not an issue, finding a weight that is moderately difficult to lift 10-15x is key.  Do a balance of muscle groups to prevent injury and try to do them three days per week, trying not to work the same groups two days in a row.  If time constraints are an issue, combining many muscle groups in one exercise and doing some intervals of aerobic and weights can be helpful.

Q2: How can I cope with post-chemo muscle fatigue?

A2: Keeping up with everyday activities is important, but adding stretches, light weight workouts and even gentle exercise like Tai Chi or some yoga can keep muscles strong and limber.  Rest and listening to your body is also key, but too much rest can lead to  muscle loss and weakness.  Sacr tissue  from surgery or treatment can also form, so keeping up with range of motion exercise can help to avoid that issue.  Be sure to stay hydrated since dehydration can make muscles feel more fatigued and even cramp.  Proper nutrition with a balance of vitamins and minerals can also affect how the muscles feel.

Q3: Can exercise cause lymphedema?

A3: A short answer: yes, it can.  But, the good news if that we are in the times of continuing advancement in surgery and treatment that is allowing less and less removal or scarring of multiple lymph nodes.  Given that, if you are at risk, it is important to first go to a class that will teach you of the symptoms and prevention of lymphedema and to see if you need a compression garment.  Wearing these during exercise gives the muscle extra pressure to contract against and helps to recirculate some of the fluid that may tend to pool.   Start slow with exercise and go lightly on weights AND low on the repetitions.  It may seem tedious, but advancing repetitions and then weights gradually will allow you to keep track of symptoms and to know at what level they may have occurred.  Avoiding these huge changes all at once also keeps you form getting sore, which can lead to the body sending extra fluid to the muscles (a normal response.)  Pool exercises are ideal since the water elicits a nice even pressure against the body, like a compression garment might.  There are many many women who safely exercise with risk of lymphedema or with developed lymphedema that does stay in control.  Asking a professional who is has knowledge on this topic is also helpful.

Love Gives Me Strength – Robyn Haines


“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27, I was alone when I heard the news. From that moment on, I was never alone. Throughout the next year, my friends, my family, my now-husband took turns using their vacation time and spending their weekends traveling from Ohio to hold my hand during chemo… and the dreaded days to follow. I was a morning TV anchor in Michigan at the time and couldn’t use my arms much after my double mastectomy, so one friend spent an entire week with me, waking at 2 a.m. to dry my hair. Now that’s love! After I was declared cancer free, the love of my life proposed to me! I haven’t been alone since… and I know I never will be.” ~Robyn Haines

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October Volunteer of the Month: Janell Thomas

Janell Thomas

Introducing our October Volunteer of the Month: Janell Thomas!

“It’s always wonderful to meet someone like Janell who truly has a passion of giving back to our community,” said Natalie Guagenti, director of volunteers for Komen Columbus. “She has only been a volunteer for a year, but she’s done so much and used her nursing expertise to educate many women in our community. We’re proud to have her in the Komen family.”

Janell shares with us, in her own words, why she volunteers with Komen Columbus.

What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?

I was inspired to get involved with Komen because I have numerous friends and family that have been affected by breast cancer. I actually have lost two great-grandmothers to the disease. As a nurse I see the effects breast cancer has on patients and their families daily. And as a black woman I see the disproportionate rates we are dying from this disease. I felt that it was my responsibility to do as much as I can to educate as many people as possible about the risk factors, screening and support available in Columbus in an effort to save lives.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?

My favorite part is talking with people in the community. Most of the people I talk to are very concerned and interested in getting screened but have no idea of where to start. Being able to give someone resources and help answer their questions makes me feel like I am making a difference.

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?

The most memorable moment I have experienced was working the WWE event last year. One of the housekeepers came to our table and stated that she had a significant family history of breast cancer. She said that she knew she was at risk but never had a mammogram because she didn’t have a primary care physician or insurance. When I told her there were places that she could still receive a mammogram at no cost, her face lit up. She was very gracious and said that she would be calling the next day to get an appointment. Being able to help someone who was really concerned about their health felt really good. All she needed was a little information to put her on the right path.

When you’re not volunteering for Komen Columbus, what do you like to do?

In my free time I like doing Zumba, I go almost every day. I am also an OSU alum so I try to go to every game I can get to!

Girls Night Out Open House Coming Up Soon

For the sixth year in a row, Epcon Communities is kicking off a month-long of giving with an Open House (for the ladies only!) on Thursday, October 2 at its model home in Powell.

Epcon_CFTC_LargeThumbThe evening will begin at 5 pm and attendees are invited to enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while browsing goodies from Over my Head, Studio 52, Thirty-One Gifts, Mukha Custom Cosmetics, CAbi Clothing and Stella & Dot.

Guests will also be eligible to win any number of raffle prizes including gifts from the vendors and beautiful mums from Real Property Management.

A few scenes from last year's Open House event.

A few scenes from last year’s Open House event.

Bob Rizzo will be playing live music and proceeds from the evening will support Komen Columbus. The event will kick off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to show their dedication to the cause, for the entire month of October, Epcon will donate $1,000 for every condo that goes into contract (up to $10,000) to support our mission.

We hope you’ll be able to join us for this free event. Additional details are available online.

Komen Columbus Interns Making their Mark

This summer, Susan G. Komen Columbus hosted several summer interns, who brought energy and much needed man-power to several of our important mission programs! We are pleased to introduce you to these hard-working interns, who have been instrumental in supporting our mission work, and have also learned valuable skills in public health and non-profit work to supplement their course work.

photo 2Name: G’Kahlin Ford-Noble

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Studies: B.A. Sociology major, public health minor- The Ohio State University

Position: Worship in Pink intern

G’kahlin says, “I have always been a supporter of the Susan G. Komen foundation. My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, and I had no clue there was a Columbus affiliate so when I saw the position I was very excited to learn more about it. After speaking with Julie, and learning about Worship in Pink, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board with this amazing cause and knew it would be nothing less than a great experience.” G’kahlin has helped in the re-design of the Worship in Pink, developed educational materials, recruited participants and supported administration of the program. After graduation, she would like to work at a non-profit, and discover what area to focus on in graduate school.


CaitlinName: Caitlin Waite

Hometown: Moorestown, New Jersey

Studies: B.A. Public Health, The Ohio State University

Position: Education and Wellness Intern

Caitlin says, “I wanted to get experience in wellness and outreach, and Komen Columbus provided me a wonderful opportunity to help the affiliate get involved into the wellness community and spread awareness about breast cancer and early prevention.” Throughout the summer, Caitlin’s projects ranged from researching third-party employee wellness partners to grant application work to working with Komen grantees and health departments. After graduation Caitlin plans to work in community/ corporate wellness. Caitlin will continue her work with us through the fall, focusing on qualitative work.


kim photoName: Kimberly Glover

Hometown: Hollis, New Hampshire

Studies: M.A. Public Health, Epidemiology, The Ohio State University

Position: Community Profile Qualitative Intern

Kim tells us, “I interned at Susan G. Komen in order to gain hands-on experience in the field of public health. I enjoyed learning about the inner workings of setting up focus groups in order to gather qualitative data as well as working with individuals who are passionate about the well-being of Ohioans.”  Kim completed her practicum requirement for her master’s program with us, and loved her work so much, she plans to return to complete her work on focus groups in Marion County this fall. Her work will be included in the 2015 Community Profile.

sarah photoName: Sarah Johns

Hometown: Orrville, Ohio

Studies: B.A. Sociology and Public Health, The Ohio State University

Position: Community Profile Health Systems Analysis Intern

Sarah is involved with a variety of community programs including leading a non-profit to benefit children of Nicaragua, serving as an HIV/AIDS test counselor. Sarah is also currently an intern at the Neighborhood House Inc., an outpatient substance abuse program. Upon graduation, Sarah plans to join the Peace Corps and return to pursue a dual masters degree in public health and policy.

Sarah investigated breast health services located in Komen Columbus’ service area and assisted in analyzing the data for strengths and weaknesses in the local health system. This important work will be a major part of our look into the continuum of care in the 2015 Community Profile. Sarah will continue her work with us through the fall, focusing on qualitative work.

As a steward of funding raised by our supporters, Komen Columbus’s mission work accomplished even more with the help of interns, who also get the opportunity to gain hands on experience in public health work. We thank them for their commitment, hard work, willingness to learn, and great attitudes. Thanks to G’kahlin, Caitlin, Kim and Sarah, our Worship in Pink program will deliver education to more than 14 participating organizations, our Health Systems and Public Policy Analysis gives us great insight into the needs of our community, and our Qualitative investigation is off to a great start!


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