Her dedication and passion for helping others comes from personal experience as a breast cancer survivor. She’s always ready to help, offer a hug and listen to other survivors share their stories and struggles.
“She was instrumental in helping with the Race this year,” said Becca Thomas, events and marketing director at Komen Columbus, “Tammy organized the Survivor Ceremony, lining up speakers and spending hours revising the script, coordinating with everyone involved and ensuring things went smoothly on Race day. She also helped us secure vital donations for our First Aid and award ceremony.”
Even though her job keeps her busy and on the road, she still finds time to be an active member on the Komen Columbus Board of Directors, a position she’s held since 2008. She started volunteering with Komen Columbus in 2007 and even won our affiliate’s Outstanding New Volunteer award that same year. She was the Committed to the Cure chair in 2009 and named our Honorary Race Chair in 2011. Tammy has also been Komen Columbus’s Top 100 Fundraisers for the last 5 years.
Read more about Tammy and read, in her own words, why giving back to our community is a priority for her.
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
I did the race for many years and then, 7 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had been a nurse for many years, had all the resources you could need and a network of both friends, family and professionals to help me and it was still hard to know how to do the right thing. I knew then that I needed to be involved in helping women who didn’t have the advantages that I had – either financial, access to care or healthcare information or support. Komen provided all of those in some way so I started working on the education committee providing education at businesses and health fairs. I only have one son but I have five nieces and a sister. I wanted to be sure I did all I could so they don’t have to go through breast cancer.
What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
I have met the most amazing people! The volunteers, staff and board are all amazing people it’s been my privilege to get to know. I also find that when you are out at an event and you have a moment with a survivor and you can give them a few minutes to tell their story or you can provide those few minutes to someone who is worried – it’s priceless.
What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?
Every Race for the Cure is memorable to me, but certainly the first time you do one in a pink shirt with no hair – that one stands out! It was the 2006 Race for the Cure and I participated one day after my second chemotherapy treatment. I am doing well and am not really emotional about my breast cancer any more – until race day. Seeing women of every walk of life in pink shirts just reminds us that this disease touches everyone. Seeing elderly survivors always makes me smile, really young women always make me cry, and the power of a group of women in pink always makes me feel inspired and hopeful. It always reminds me how far I have come, how unbelievably lucky I have been and how great my life really is (even though I forget sometimes!). I don’t know how you can go to a Race and not be moved and I encourage everyone I know to attend one. It will remind you of these same things even if you’re not a breast cancer survivor.
When you’re not volunteering for Komen Columbus, what do you like to do?
I have been blessed with a very large circle of friends – I still have friends I see on a regular basis from high school, college, different jobs and such. I spend most of my free time with friends and family having meals, cooking out, going to festivals, OSU games and generally having fun. I love the water so I’m looking forward to swimming this summer. I travel a lot and I love meeting people all over the world, seeing new places and finding out about our country