History & Impact
Susan G. Komen fought breast cancer with her heart, body, and soul. Throughout her diagnosis, treatments, and endless days in the hospital, she spent her time thinking of ways to make life better for other women battling breast cancer instead of worrying about her own situation. Moved by Susan’s compassion for others and commitment to making a difference, Nancy G. Brinker promised her sister that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer.
Though Susan lost her battle with the disease, her legacy lives on through the work of Susan G. Komen, the organization Nancy started in her honor. Komen is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $3 billion since its inception in 1982. Komen’s promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.
Across the country, that promise is upheld by a network of 60+ local affiliate offices. At the heart of each Affiliate is a person or group of people who, like Susan, wanted to make a difference. To see how Susan G. Komen is impacting the nation and the world Click Here!
Local History | Greater Kansas City
Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City began with a Race for the Cure event in 1994 organized by three inexperienced, headstrong women who relocated to Kansas City from Washington, DC with a “can do” attitude. In those days, a small core of committed women kept files in their homes and cars, had all Race phone calls on an answering machine in a spare bedroom and treated Komen as their second job. It was truly a grassroots effort.
The need for management grew increasingly evident over the years. Thus, the first Board of Directors was formed and an office was generously donated in 1999. Previously, Komen Kansas City served 10 counties in Kansas and 7 counties in Missouri, a full-time staff plus nearly 200+ active volunteers serving on various committees. The annual Race for the Cure has grown to be one of the largest nonprofit run/walks in the Greater Kansas City community with more than 5,000 in attendance annually.
With the help of passionate volunteers, a dedicated board and staff members, Komen Kansas City raised more than $16.7 million to support breast cancer education, screening, and treatment as well as more than $4.2 Million to the most promising breast cancer research programs. During this time more than $10 million in research grants have come back to the service area, including grants to the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Local History | Wichita
Kansas Affiliate story
The Komen Wichita Race for the Cure ® was started in 1990 by the Junior League of Wichita. The Wichita Race was the first Komen co-ed Race and the 4th in Komen’s history. The race was held the first weekend in April on the beautiful grounds of Pizza Hut International and the course ran through the Forest Hills housing addition. The 1990 Race was the largest first-year road race in Kansas history with over 1,400 participants. The Komen Free Mammography Program was started with the first year’s proceeds and continues today. The fund has provided more than 44,000 free mammograms in the state of Kansas. The Komen Free Mammography Program was the first such program for Komen nationally and served as a model program for many cities as they established their own Komen Race for the Cure Events.
In 1993, the newly established Susan G. Komen For The Cure Kansas Affiliate assumed control for the race from the Junior League of Wichita. In 1995, the Race was moved to the present location at Towne East Mall, with the course running through the tiny city of Eastborough. The event was moved to the fall to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) and to hopefully avoid cold spring showers.
The former affiliate has become much more than just a Race. Komen Kansas previously served 95 counties. In the last 30 years, the Affiliate has raised more than $6 million to invest in research, education, outreach, and screening services.