Meet Darlene’s Challenge on Race Day

Darlene Matthews is a force to be reckoned with. Sit down in one of her salon chairs and in addition to a hair-cut and style, you’ll get an education on breast health. As a 13-year breast cancer survivor, Darlene maintains a positive attitude and informs hundreds of women, particularly those in the African American community about their breast health and the importance of early detection.

Darlene celebrating survivorship at the 2012 Survivor Ceremony.
Darlene celebrating survivorship at the 2012 Survivor Ceremony.

“I give of my time and talents to make sure that 250 individuals every year are registered for Team Beauty All Over for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I am excited to say that I have the largest African American Team for the Columbus Race. Each year my team has grown and continues to grow as a result of my creative costumes to help celebrate survivors and remember those who are no longer with us.”

Darlene’s team, with close to 300 members expected this year, will all sport pink afro wigs on Race day and have all been asked by Darlene to try and raise at least $100 each.

“I am acutely aware of the statistics of how breast cancer affects those in the African-American community and I champion the cause to educate, inform, encourage and give hope. My salon, Beauty All Over, serves as a safe haven for women who are going through cancer treatment to come and select a wig to help them to feel beautiful. I share my story of survival as a catalyst for encouragement to let others know that attitude is half the battle in finding a cure.”

Darlene and her grand-niece at the 2011 Race for the Cure.
Darlene and her great-niece at the 2011 Race for the Cure.

Since joining the Board of Directors of Komen Columbus in 2012, Darlene has taken her role as a breast cancer ambassador all the more seriously.

“In 2013, I was honored to be selected to serve as Honorary Chair of the Race for the Cure, helping to promote the annual event and attending health and volunteer fairs to increase registration. I work hard to increase my team fundraising and I approach many local businesses for sponsorship to cover the cost of registration for those who cannot afford it. I have spent months, weeks and days reaching out to members of the community to join my team. I believe that by increasing awareness of the Race for the Cure and the importance of fundraising, I am positively changing the lives of so many who may place their health last on the priority list.”

Darlene can speak first-hand to the importance of raising funds for Komen Columbus.

“After my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, I benefited greatly from the resources offered through Komen. I took advantage of the Komen-sponsored programs to rebuild my self-esteem and because I was unable to work, Komen funding was needed to help pay for my medications. I was also provided the opportunity to meet with a nutritionist and psychologists to ensure that I got back on track, mind, body and spirit. All of these things were as a result of the fundraising by individuals for Susan G. Komen. I am a living witness that all funds raised in Columbus stay in Columbus to assist people JUST LIKE ME! I can honestly say that without the resources of Komen I am not certain where I would be today! I am forever grateful and indebted to Susan G. Komen and all of those who raise money to fight and beat this disease!”

As Darlene says, ”every dollar makes a difference and I know firsthand how vital the programs Komen Columbus funds are to the community. I raise money and awareness of Komen and agreed to join the Board of Directors, because I want my daughter and my nieces to know that I have done all that I can to find a cure for this disease. My aunt died of breast cancer and when I was diagnosed, I was determined to fight and raise money to ensure that this issue would not impact my daughter and my nieces as it did me.”

Join Darlene at the Race and register today. Better yet, meet her challenge and raise $100 to fund vital community health programs!