Komen Foundation offers help to Katrina victims

KNOXVILLE – The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation will offer up to $1 million in assistance to breast health facilities affected by Hurricane Katrina. Rebuilding is a priority, but the Foundation also plans to provide assistance to patients displaced by the disaster.

Komen recently announced its largest investment in breast cancer research to date. 202 research grants were awarded as part of the foundation’s Award and Research Grant Program. The monies awarded totaled more than $45.1 million, a 40 percent increase over last year’s budget.

The funding goes to both national and international research facilities that investigate related cell biology, breast cancer causes, risk reduction measures, early detection strategies, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, scientific model systems, and cancer control.

“The ability to make our largest research investment to date is directly attributable to the successful efforts of our more than 100 Komen Affiliates across the country,” said Rebecca Garcia, Ph.D., Vice President of Health Sciences for the Komen Foundation. “They are instrumental in raising the money needed to fund research addressing the ‘here and now’ breast health needs of specific population groups, such as ethnic minorities or the medically underserved, as well as research that provides hope for the future.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Established by President Bill Clinton in 1993, the designation has helped to raise awareness of the disease and to encourage women to make an appointment for mammography, a life-saving procedure that can enable women to detect breast lumps long before they can be felt. In 2005, National Mammography Day will be celebrated on October 21.

After losing her 36-year-old sister Suzy to breast cancer in 1980, Nancy Brinker founded Komen. Her tireless efforts have helped to create a network of 118 U.S. and international affiliates. Tennessee has four affiliates: Chattanooga , Knoxville , Memphis/Mid-South, and Greater Nashville. More than 75,000 volunteers participate nationwide.

Nancy also initiated the Komen Race for the Cure ® Series with a single race in Dallas , Texas , in 1983. The annual event has grown to become the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world. More than 100 races will give women and those who love them an opportunity to celebrate breast cancer survivors and remember those who have lost the battle against the disease. Events are listed nationwide and in several other countries as well.

While Chattanooga and Nashville held their 5K events in September, the Knoxville and Memphis Race for the Cure ® are both planned for October 22. Sponsored by numerous corporate supporters, these local races draw large crowds of both participants and spectators. Knoxville expects more than 10,000 participants at its ninth annual race.

For further information, log on to www.komen.org where you can locate your local affiliate and get more information regarding breast cancer, the Race for the Cure ® , and volunteer opportunities to help in the fight against breast cancer. To find a facility in your area, you can call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER.

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