When Darlene Matthews glides into the Komen Columbus office, you can’t help but smile. Her energy, enthusiasm and friendly demeanor are infectious and luckily, we get to see Darlene often. It could be for the monthly board of directors meetings she attends, or to pick up more educational materials to distribute at her salon. Many times Darlene comes in with a donation she’s collected for Komen Columbus or during Race time, to drop off dozens of Race registration forms for her annual Race team.
Darlene is not just an incredible advocate for breast health in her community, but a nearly 11-year breast cancer survivor and a former Komen Columbus Volunteer of the Month. She’s a mother, a small business owner and this year we’re proud to announce she’s the 2013 Honorary Chair for the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure.
This past year Darlene celebrated ten years of being cancer free. Rather than sit back and enjoy her good health, Darlene organized a Race for the Cure team of 176 members and provided all members with a special team t-shirt, pink afro wig and tutu. She joined the Komen Columbus Community Health Advisor program and has provided nearly 500 women with breast health information. She joined the Board of Directors and helped attract attendees and volunteers for our inaugural Pink Tie Ball. She continues to talk about breast health with every woman who sits in the chairs at her Beauty All Over salon in the North Linden area and she works hard to ensure no one in need of a mammogram goes without one.
Darlene’s passion for spreading awareness about breast cancer and getting African American men and women in her community involved runs deep.
“After my own surgery in 2001, I had a hard time bouncing back and feeling like myself again. My doctor directed me to the Breast Cancer Survivorship Program, which is a fitness and nutrition program run at Mount Carmel because of a grant provided by Komen Columbus. That program helped me feel better and get back on track and I’ll never forget that,” Darlene said. “Now more than ever it’s important that we as a community start to give back for programs like these and so many others that help women in need.”
To help ensure no woman or man going through treatment ever feels like Darlene did, she makes regular phone calls to those going through treatment. She welcomes anyone and everyone to join her Race team, even fundraising to cover the registration cost of those going through treatment at the time of the Race.
This year she’ll be working harder than ever to fundraise for Komen Columbus as she’ll encourage each of her team members (and her goal is 250 members this year,) to raise at least $100 each.
“I’ve been there. I know the need and I know the worry and I know the relief I felt when Komen stepped in to help.”
You’ll hear more from Darlene as we get closer to the Race for the Cure on May 18, 2013.
Make plans now to join her on Race day and watch for a registration announcement in early January.