Determined to save lives and end breast cancer forever, the Oregon and Southwest Washington Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure has awarded nearly $2 million in grants this year to fund research, as well as to aid tens of thousands of medically underserved women and men in local Oregon and Southwest Washington communities. Funding for these programs comes from the annual Komen Portland Race for the Cure®, individual giving, corporate partners and other area fund raisers.Sunni Svejcar of Burns, right. (Submitted photo)

In order to ensure it is funding programs that address the specific unmet breast cancer needs of communities throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, the Affiliate works with local health care professionals and community leaders to conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment.  This community profile, a standard practice of all Komen Affiliates, is then used to establish a local grant application and review process consistent with the organization’s standards and mission.

Twenty-three organizations throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, including Harney District Hospital,  have been awarded a total of $534,967 in Community and Transportation Grants, which will help provide services to more than 24,000 men and women who are medically underserved due to challenges such as language and cultural barriers, financial difficulties and transportation issues. Support services are also provided to women going through treatment and survivors. Community Grants were given to organizations that support diverse demographics including Native American, Asian, Hispanic and Russian communities, as well as rural communities.

Harney County has an above average breast cancer mortality rate for Oregon.  Harney District Hospital works to provide support for survivors and breast health/early detection education to the women of Harney County. With the help of the Komen grant, support for breast cancer survivors will be provided through monthly support group meetings, team participation in the Komen Portland Race for the Cure, and the Breast Cancer Issues Conference. Educating the citizens of Harney County on the importance of early breast cancer screening and providing them with support and access to breast health services is critical in order to reduce deaths from breast cancer.

“The medically underserved population of Oregon and Southwest Washington is considerable during these tough economic times and Komen Community Partners make it possible to reach those most in need,” said Christine McDonald, Executive Director, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Oregon and Southwest Washington Affiliate.  “Our Community Partners make it possible for us to effectively communicate the message of early detection, support, and hope to the communities that we serve throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. These organizations are to be celebrated for their outstanding work in the fight against breast cancer.”

More than 180,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States this year, and the Pacific Northwest is among the highest rates of breast cancer in the country. Early detection is critically important. Women have a 98 percent five-year survival rate when breast cancer is found in its earliest stages in contrast to women with a late stage diagnosis (when the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body) who have a 26 percent five-year survival rate. Early detection saves lives.

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