This December, we’re proud to recognize Hana Bieliauskas, a Komen communications and Race volunteer who co-organizes the “Pink It Up” effort around the Race every year. Hana recently organized the “Hot Pink Happy Hour,” a benefit concert with the Hot Pink Racers, and she remains a dedicated and reliable volunteer year-round.
What inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
I have to thank the late Elizabeth Edwards, actually. I had a reporting internship in Washington, D.C., during my junior year at Ohio University and had the opportunity to see Elizabeth speak at a campaign event I was covering. I vividly remember Elizabeth addressing the fact that she had breast cancer, and the need to find a cure, but what really stuck out to me was her solid determination to not be defined by the disease and to keep on fighting through it. After attending the event, I looked up more information about breast cancer, and that’s when I found Komen. I participated in my first Race for the Cure in D.C. and was struck by the number of women in pink who walked and ran alongside me- many of whom either had breast cancer or were survivors. I remember thinking, They could easily be me, or my mom, my grandma, aunts, cousins or best friends. I want to keep helping to find a cure so that, one day soon, no one has to see any women in their life battle breast cancer. The incredible strength of those women, and of Elizabeth, prompted me to look into how to get involved with Komen when I moved back to Columbus- and I am so glad I did.
What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
The Columbus affiliate is truly an inspirational organization- and I really think that only those who are involved in it can recognize just how amazing it is. The Komen staff and my fellow volunteers I’ve had the privilege of working with on the Race Planning Committee are some of the most dedicated, passionate people I have ever met. For the past two years, my good friend Ashley Shipley and I have headed Pink It Up for the race. We encourage businesses located on the race course to decorate in pink and use social media to build support for the race and fight against breast cancer (if you’re on Twitter, you may be familiar with the hashtag #pinkitup). We may also be caught zooming around downtown on golf carts around 4 a.m. on Race Day, chalking pink ribbons on the streets. I have loved being involved in an organization that brings so many people together and makes such a huge impact on so many lives. Together, as Komen volunteers, we turn Columbus pink in May and watch as thousands of people converge on downtown to fight a deadly disease that must be stopped. It’s a humbling and inspiring sight you’re not likely to forget. I am so thankful for the chance to be a part of making it happen.
Can you share anything about what you might have planned for Pink It Up this year?
We have plenty of ideas up our sleeves for the race in May! I can tell you that, because the race course will be different this year, you can also expect changes to the pink decorations. What will not change is our goal is to make each year pinker than the one before it. We’re hoping the Columbus community will join us again in making that happen this year!
When you’re not volunteering for us, what are you up to?
I’m a PR girl by day. I work in the Columbus office of CMA, a public relations firm based in Kansas City, where I’m involved in developing and implementing social media strategies for clients- which also means I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter (and therefore often find myself thinking in less than 140 characters). I have a serious travel addiction that I fully support, so I can often be found boarding a plane- I believe I’ve visited 18 states this year! I also enjoy running and exploring Columbus, which is a city I’ve really enjoyed getting to know during the past few years I’ve lived here.
We’re very thankful to have Hana’s creativity, motivation and enthusiasm and appreciate all that she’s contributed to the Columbus Affiliate. Congrats, Hana!