Guest Blog Post: Why More 20-somethings Should Give Their Time to Non-profits

Happy New Year everyone! We’d like to introduce you to Molly McKnight, Vice President of the Komen Greater Cincinnati Board, Previvor and Blogger. We read Molly’s blog post and just knew we had to share it here, so enjoy! (You can follow Molly over on her blog: The Molly Effect)

Over the weekend I discussed with some friends to do my next blog post on Fireball (lol), but figured something a little more uplifting/detoxifying is probably better-suited for all of our New Year’s resolutions still intact.

Like I listed last week, I had a lot of accomplishments and learning’s over the last year. Which was awesome! All in all, my resolution last year was to at the end of the day, in no matter what context of a goal I was hoping to reach, to have the end result “well with my soul.” Doing well, doing good and living life to its fullest makes my soul happy. Molly and friends

One of the biggest ways I accomplished this was by devoting more of my time and energy to a non-profit. I joined Komen’s Board of Directors, sat on committees and attended more meetings than normal, to really get involved more with this group, and to feel personally involved in the change this organization makes in people’s lives.

A lot of friends in the mid-twenty-somethings crowd think they’re either too young to get involved, don’t have enough experience, knowledge, monetary giving ability, whatever. But that is absolutely false. I believe even more so that your twenties are a great time to give your time. Giving can lead to an overwhelming sense of receiving, and doesn’t that sound better than falling into a quarter-life crisis? Here’s what to remember when debating if you can devote more time to non-profits and causes bigger than you:

You have free time
Whether you’d like it or not, “free time” is much more abundant when you’re young in the workforce. Even if you’re working more hours a week than a normal post-grad, chances are you have more time than you think that you could be donating to a cause that means something to you. Instead of binging on your latest Netflix obsession after work every night this week, you could look into volunteer opportunities available to you. The reward can be just as great as your favorite show’s season finale!

It’s an escape for your normal 9-5
The whole Monday-Friday, 9-5 ordeal can be tiring, and sometimes draining. A great way to escape the post-grad career blues can be found through volunteering. After a tough day in the office, going to help those in need is sure to be rewarding and uplifting. Get through the long work weeks by having something outside the office to look forward to. And it’s always a plus if your company gives you volunteer hours or credit for giving your time!

You get to use your talents in a new environment
For me, I was a journalism major and now work in marketing. So I jump at opportunities that allow me to use talents I already have like event planning, media planning and advertising initiatives. Things I work on in my real-life job, but can also help with outside the office. It’s a great way to get experience that can help the non-profit you’re working with, and add to your career resume as fun, rewarding jobs you’ve helped complete, outside of work hours (which is sure to look fantastic to potential employers in your next interview!)

Time can be just as valuable as money
Non-profits always need money. There’s always a goal to raise more money because in the end, that means being able to help more people, animals, whatever the cause may be. But a great thing to remember in our younger years when money isn’t always overflowing, is that our time can be just as valuable. Giving a few hours on the weekend to help volunteer at a local charity event, attending committee meetings for a cause close to your heart; these all can be ways where donating doesn’t have to mean money.

Doing good feels good
This is the best and easiest explanation. Doing good for others feels so, so good. Nothing is better than helping those in need, and especially when you feel like you really, personally helped. Whether it’s handing out lunches in a soup kitchen, helping write the organization’s monthly newsletter, or any aspect of volunteering that you can give, you’re destined to leave a better person than you came. When looking for New Year’s resolutions, is there an outcome any better than that?

Go out and do good in the world, team! I know you can.


(If you are looking to volunteer or get involved with Komen, please contact Jen at We need volunteers all through the year, and especially during Race time.)

Guest Blog: Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Awareness Day

Today, October 13th, is Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Awareness Day. Please welcome our guest blogger, Jen Anderson, as she shares her story and thoughts on our blog today. 

I’m lonely a lot.

I have Stage IV breast cancer.  Most people have no idea what that means, so I have to clarify and explain every single time I share this information with someone new.  It’s exhausting, and I (over)share with my friends and family by way of my blog so that I spend as little time as possible dealing with cancer outside of the oncology office as I can.  I have metastatic cancer tumors in multiple places in my body which means I am terminal.  That’s the sentence I’ve developed when I need someone to understand, and I have found the terrible bluntness to be necessary to overcome all of the preconceived notions that exist about breast cancer.

Do you know when I often feel the most lonely?  It’s at the breast cancer events. The rallies, the walks, the survivor celebrations, the speeches, the balloons.  At the first event I went to as a Stage IV person, I had two choices for how to sign in at the event:

  • In memory of… : Um, no thanks.  I’m not dead.
  • Cancer free for ____ years! : Um, I’m not cancer-free.  Furthermore, no oncologist I know would ever tell any patient they are cancer-free.  So why is the breast cancer organization giving me (and the rest of the attendants) this bizarre false hope?

I can’t describe the crushing sadness that came over me as I stood at that table.
“I don’t belong.”
“No one cares about metastatic patients.”
“I am invisible in a space where I thought I would be the face of the disease.”

When we think of breast cancer survivors, we think of mostly older women wearing pink with perfectly restored breasts cheerleading, beaming, smiling about the number of years since their last treatment.

That picture is so far off from reality it brings tears to my eyes.  That is not what breast cancer looks like.

On one level Pinktober, pink ribbons, and the success of the breast cancer awareness campaigns that have been so prevalent in the past decades are endearing because we know there are dollars and attention given to breast cancer. There is much to be said about the inattention and lack of funding for other cancers, but that is another topic for another blog.  We’re talking about the breast cancer community today and how it egregiously underserves its most needy population.

You should know there is a throng of strong and vulnerable cancer thrivers who are living with cancer.  Their plight–our plight–is consciously or unconsciously hidden, smothered, or ignored by our peers.  It’s so, so, so lonely.  I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer at age 32, and Stage IV breast cancer at age 33.  At the time of diagnosis I had minimal family history and was in excellent health otherwise.  I am — in my opinion — the poster child for whom breast cancer organizations should be looking to serve.  Some organizations succeed in making me feel loved, empowered, and strong.  Others, unfortunately, make me feel angry, manipulated, used, and hurt.

Hashtags and social awareness campaigns such as #Don’tIgnoreStageIV, #MetsMonday, and #BCKills have evolved as an attempt to address the disconnect, and have varying levels of impact depending on the advocacy within diverse communities across the nation.  As part of my personal philosophy, I truly believe that the intentions of all people working for a charitable organization is to do the right thing.  I’m pretty good about giving the benefit of the doubt to anyone and everyone and overlooking oversights to focus on the positive contributions. However, when Peggy Isenogle of Komen Cincinnati approached me about creating a symposium to give Stage IV a stronger voice within the breast cancer community, I think I actually clapped and gave her a standing ovation while jumping up and down.  It’s that exciting to me.

It feels like a game-changer for me that someone who has time, energy and influence to extoll the contributions of Stage IV patients is willing to engage in that conversation.  I have so many ideas about how to serve the sick and the healthy men and women living with metastatic disease.  Stage IV patients are the ones who are the most intimately acquainted with breast cancer and all its facets and nuances.  Our needs are great.  This is an opportunity to match the heart: the desire to impact positive change in dealing with breast cancer with the patient who has experienced the very worst form of the disease.

This conversation could do much to address the loneliness experienced by every Stage IV breast cancer patient I know, myself included.

If you are interested in being a part of the conversation to change the perception and priorities for the breast cancer community with a stronger focus on those with metastatic disease, please contact Peggy Isenogle at: We are planning for anyone interested in continuing this important discussion to join us for an evening of conversation and sharing on Tuesday November 10th at 6:00pm at the affiliate office.

Brad, Jen, Maren & Greta

Team Tuesday: Meet Team momEE

This week’s Team Tuesday spotlight is on Team momEE!

This is Team momEE’s third year participating in the Race. We spoke with Justin, the Team Captain and asked him to share his story on why he’s joined the Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati Race for the Cure as a team captain and why their team has raced the last few years.

What does Team momEE stand for?
Team momEE, was derived from “mom” (representing my wife) and the E’s for Emory and Evelyn our daughters.

From Justin:
“My wife, Ashley was diagnosed three years ago with breast cancer when she was  26 weeks pregnant with our twin daughters. She started chemo right away and gave birth to them at 34 weeks.

Needless to say our lives changed rather quickly during that span. After multiple chemo and radiation treatments Ashley had a double mastectomy with a full reconstruction completed within about a year. For two years everything was going well until she experienced back pain causing another MD visit and testing which revealed the cancer had spread to her bones in multiple areas.

Ashley recently finished her second bout of chemo and is currently doing okay, enjoying chasing around our now two and a half year old girls. Obviously, she is such an inspiration and a positive person. She has really been the glue to keep our family going through this experience.

This will be our third time participating in the Race and we walk for her number one but also for all those survivors and families that have gone or go through what we do every day. We also want to assist in finding a cure for this terrible disease as we have recently come to find out her cancer was caused by a genetic mutation and likely could be passed on to our girls. My wife is so selfless that she worries more about finding a potential cure for our daughters then finding one to assist her in her battle.

We currently reside in Amelia but have people joining us for the race from the West Side, North Side, Columbus, and Dayton. We are truly blessed to have many family members and friends walking with us this year. It truly is a testament to how Ashley has effected so many and how much love is in our lives.

We look forward to the Race as it brings together so many people fighting for a common cause, a cause  and a cure we truly believe is attainable!

Team momEE

Team momEE

Thank you Justin and Team momEE for your endless support and for sharing your story.

Please feel free to email and tell us who are you Racing for?

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to register today! You can form a team or join an existing team!

Stories of Inspiration – Volunteer Manager with Big Heart

Our volunteer’s hearts are PINK and their caring has no limit!
Are you a leader, a thinker, or a doer?

Friday night, August 28, 2015

Volunteer ImageVolunteers play a vital role in the Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati Race for the Cure®. The success of the Race depends heavily on the support we receive from more than a hundred volunteers in the months leading up to the Race and on Race Day. Their passion and commitment is what makes our Race successful. Today, thanks to more than 100,000 survivors and volunteers/activists, Susan G. Komen® is the world’s largest, most progressive grassroots organization fighting breast cancer.

Many volunteer opportunities are still available, click on the link below for more details and to sign up.

If you have any questions please contact Jennifer Berigan or 513-671-9100 ext. 207

Jennifer Berigan, Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati – Staff
Manager of Special Events and Volunteers.

I started with the Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati Affiliate on February 8, 2006 (on what would have been my mother’s 57th birthday). I hopped on a plane (which is HUGE – I do not like to fly) that day for a Komen Leadership conference in Arkansas – I was blown away by this organizations passion, determination and drive to find a cure. I know my mom is proud of me for joining the Komen team especially, since she passed away May 28, 2005. I started my career as the Community Outreach and Events Manager- this was a perfect fit for me. My background, prior to having kids, was teaching. So the thought of going out into the community and educating people about breast health awareness was an exciting new adventure for me.

I have been with the Greater Cincinnati Affiliate for almost 10 years. The 2015 Race for the Cure will be my 10th race – WOW! My roles have changed throughout my time here and I have learned so much about how this organization operates.  I am currently the Special Events and Volunteers Manager, again, this is a perfect fit for me because I love to teach/ train volunteers to become amazing Komen Ambassadors in our 21 county community.

I encourage you to read our grants page online and learn more about where every dollar is spent. 75% of all funds raised stays here locally and 25% goes to national research. Through our 2015-2016 community grants, Komen Greater Cincinnati is investing $366,170 in education, diagnosis, treatment and support programs here in the Greater Cincinnati area provided by 8 local organizations that serve uninsured or underinsured residents in our service area. Additionally, $150,000 was awarded to Sponsored Research of Joan Garrett, PhD at the University of Cincinnati. Since it was founded in 1997, Komen Greater Cincinnati has invested more than $10.3 million in local breast health agencies and organizations

So, why do I work for Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati as the Special Events and Volunteer Manager? Because I believe in the Komen mission and I love to teach. I am passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer not only because I lost my mom, and many friends have been touch by this horrible disease but because I have two beautiful daughters and my wish for them is to:

(Me and my daughters) Kylee + Ella = my INSPIRATION!

(Me and my daughters) Kylee + Ella = my INSPIRATION!


Stories of Inspiration – The Breast Cancer Couple

Patty Stump and Mike Shroder look like your average married couple. They are parents, grandparents, restaurant owners and best friends. But they have one thing in common that most couples do not: they are both breast cancer survivors. Patty shares their inspirational story in today’s post.

“Mike and I share a lot of the same things that most married couples share except for ONE….. breast cancer! Most people are not aware that MEN can get ps and msbreast cancer too! Yes it is true! While the occurrence is much less the survival rate for men is much lower. I believe the reason is 2 fold. One is because men don’t look for it like women do, the other is when breast cancer occurs in men the tissue is so close to the chest wall it moves into the body very quickly so by the time it is realized it is in later stages.

Mike was diagnosed in 2006. I personally had NEVER known any other man that has had breast cancer. I soon discovered, while it is unusual, there are quite a few other men out there that are fighting the same fight. That is: fighting a disease typically know as a women’s disease.

Cancervive photo of PS MS

Patty and Mike

I was diagnosed in 2007 one year and 1 week after Mike and then again in 2011. Both times were very early stages and we both received excellent treatment from the doctors at UC Cancer Institute’s Comprehensive Breast Center.

Since our diagnosis we have felt it very important to let men know that they can also get breast cancer and that early detection for women can lead to a positive outcome, depending on the type and stage of cancer.

Because it is very rare for a couple to both have breast cancer, we have had the privilege to be a part of many special events. We have been honored to have won the Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati Promise of One Award. We were the Red’s Bat Couple on Mother’s Day “Batting Out Breast Cancer”. It was the 1st time a man had been nominated in the entire Major League and we won. We have been asked to be interviewed many times on most of the local TV stations sharing our unusual story of the “Couple With Breast Cancer.”

61946_166129203397976_4213519_nPatty and Mike have participated in the Race for the Cure with their families and friends for many years now and it’s always a joy to see them at the Race. Join them and hundreds of other survivors at the 2015 Race for the Cure, Friday night August 28th at Smale Riverfront Park. #CincyRFTC

team 2012

Patty and Mike’s team: Team CANcervive

Stories of Inspiration – Volunteer Spreads Hope

Race season is in full swing! If you didn’t know, our 18th Annual Race for the Cure is Friday night, August 28th. We’d like to highlight some inspirational stories over the next few weeks. We hope they inspire you to register, volunteer or make a difference in someones life.

Our first post is written by Donna Traylor, an avid volunteer and mother of breast cancer survivor and Komen Cincinnati staff member Melissa. Enjoy!

“Why do I volunteer for Susan G. Komen?  I volunteer because I want to support the fundraising efforts of Susan G. Komen events, which provide early detection programs and funding for breast cancer research.

Why do I want to do that you ask? I do it for my daughter, and for all the other men and women that are affected by breast cancer. They all deserve to have hope,

Melissa crossing the finish line as a survivor in 2013

Melissa crossing the finish line as a survivor

HOPE that one day there will be a cure. I became involved with Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati four years ago, shortly after my 25 year old daughter was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. I felt like I needed to do something, something that made me feel like I could make a difference. Volunteering is so easy, fun, and most of all, it’s very rewarding. A few hours of my time a year, is the least I can do.

I volunteer at the Greater Cincinnati Race for the Cure and at the Komen 3-Day 60

Jeff and Donna Traylor Proud Volunteers

Jeff and Donna – Proud Volunteers

mile walk in Atlanta. It always brings tears to my eyes when I hear a walker say “thank you”. I used to wonder why are they thanking me for volunteering? But now I understand why they say that, if it weren’t for volunteers like myself, there wouldn’t be a Race for the Cure or a 3-day 60 mile walk, there would be less of a chance for HOPE, for a CURE.

If breast cancer has touched the life of someone you love, you will understand why I’m so passionate about volunteering for this wonderful organization. When it’s your daughter or your loved one, you want do anything you can to make a difference and to help find a cure and that’s why I volunteer.”


If you are interested in volunteering at this year’s Race for the Cure, please contact Jennifer Berigan at or click here to check out the volunteer listings on our website.

Register Today

2015-16 Community Health Programs Announced

The Greater Cincinnati Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is pleased to announce our 2015-16 Community Health Programs. This year, with the assistance of generous donations from the community, the Affiliate was able to award over $366,170.00 dollars to breast health programs in the Greater Cincinnati area. These important safety net, navigation, and emergency assistance programs target women in our community. Additionally, $150,000.00 was awarded to Sponsored Research of Joan Garrett, PhD at the University of Cincinnati for a total local investment of over $516,170.00!

Community Safety Net Programs:

Adams County Regional Medical Center – Adams County Regional Medical Center (ACRMC) helps alleviate the costs of diagnostic services and co-pays for breast health services in the Adams, Brown, and Highland County area. Women who qualify under specific financial criteria set by the provider who are also in need of additional care beyond a screening mammography will be able to access these services provided by ACRMC.

Center for Appalachia Research in Cancer Education (CARE) – CARE’s Project Hoffnung (Hope) was developed to meet two goals: to provide education about breast health, and to link women with breast cancer screening services. This program strives to continue established community-based screening and education programs in Adams, Highland, and Switzerland Counties for Amish and Mennonite women. The proposed program uses the foundation of trust we currently have established over 14 years within the communities and combines a sound process and impact evaluation plan with strong community-based partnerships from the Amish and Mennonite settlements. This initiative represents an ideal collaboration between agency-based and community-led organizations in order to maximize resources and disseminate breast health services more widely in this underserved community.

Dearborn County Hospital – The DCH Safety Net Program will provide diagnostic procedures (mammography, ultrasound, and biopsy) and surgical consults for medically appropriate clients with no insurance, high deductible/high co-pay insurance or those who fall in the gap between Medicaid/HIP and the Marketplace, especially those in rural areas including Ohio and Switzerland Counties. Also, to provide a very limited number of screening mammograms for these individuals, especially those not eligible for an Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust screening due to residency /lack of availability. Having this funding available will allow patients to pursue/receive needed care in a timely manner providing for the best possible clinical outcomes. Clients with an abnormal screening mammogram/documented breast abnormality will work with the Nurse Navigator to coordinate timely advanced diagnostics including as appropriate, surgical consults and biopsies. Clients diagnosed with a cancer/breast abnormality will continue to work with the Navigator for coordination of treatment and follow-up. Clients will also be referred to the DCH Certified State Navigator/ Social Worker for help in applying for assistance/insurance. The project will be evaluated by the number of clients served by each modality and the number of breast cancers detected. Low income/at risk clients will be more likely to receive needed diagnostics and/or treatment on a timely basis, without nonmedical delays, allowing for the best possible clinical outcomes.

Mercy Health-Anderson – The purpose of this Safety Net Project is to provide diagnostic breast health services for women with financial need who do not qualify for other assistance programs. The program provides a ―safety net for low and moderate income newly-screened women in order to remove the financial barrier that keeps them from seeking follow-up and/or treatment. A nurse navigator will promote the program among referring organizations and help women receive timely follow-up procedures such as diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds. The likely impact will be timely scheduling of follow-up procedures and an increased number of early stage diagnosed cancers in a timely fashion. There is no comparable program for women who are underinsured or whose income is up to 300% of the poverty guidelines.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare – St. Elizabeth Healthcare helps alleviate the costs of service for women who do not qualify for insurance plans to cover screening mammography and diagnostic services primarily in the Northern Kentucky area. Women who qualify under specific financial criteria set by the provider who are also in need of additional care beyond a screening mammography will be able to access these services provided by St. Elizabeth Healthcare. In addition to five counties in Northern Kentucky, the program will be able to assist in some specific services in Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland counties in southeastern Indiana.

YWCA of Greater Cincinnati – The YWCA’s Hispanic and Minority Breast Health Outreach Program (BHOP) markets, implements, and provides mammograms for women in these underserved communities. The Hispanic and Minority BHOP provide education and on-site registration for women in the Greater Cincinnati area. The Hispanic and Minority BHOP coordinate and promote with local mammography providers sites specifically targeted to ethnic minority women. The Hispanic and Minority BHOP also assist minority women with financial questions, as well as guidance on the entire process.   Women in need of financial assistance will be enrolled in funding programs. Further, the YWCA Hispanic and Minority BHOP provide educational outreach in the community.

Patient Assistance Programs and Support Resources

Cancer Family Care – Our Center for Individual & Family Counseling (I&F) provides services to women with breast cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. I&F help breast cancer patients and their families cope with the overwhelming psychosocial distress, anxiety, and depression associated with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Key activities include providing in-person counseling as well as Coping Connections telephone hotline support to breast cancer patients and their loved ones regardless of socioeconomic status (participants pay on a sliding scale); those unable to afford services receive them at no charge). These programs are evaluated regularly using process and impact evaluation measures to ensure delivery methods are working. Studies conducted by leading oncologists and medical organizations have shown that programs like I&F that help cancer patients deal with the psychosocial effects brought on by cancer decrease stress and boost the immune system, which can have beneficial impacts on recovery. On average, 85% of I&F participants note an improvement in their ability to manage and cope with their cancer regardless of the course of the disease (this is meaningful because patients do experience setbacks during participation). When cancer patients improve their ability to cope, they feel less stressed and more energized, and far more likely to follow their course of treatment. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Cancer Support Community – The goal of Community of Hope is to connect, support and empower women throughout the stages of breast cancer – in order to improve quality of life and enhance the recovery process. Backed by evidence that the best cancer care includes social and emotional support; Cancer Support Community is advancing innovations that are becoming the standard in complete integrated cancer care. The program’s activities include one weekly support group for women with breast cancer (Stages 1, 2, 3), the Breast Cancer Survivors and FORCE networking groups, the Young Survival Coalition, a Breast Cancer Post-treatment group and YCat yoga. These groups provide support and education to women throughout the stages of their breast cancer journey, and bring together women with similar needs and concerns. We anticipate that Community of Hope will serve approximately 145 women in the Greater Cincinnati region. All programming at CSC is continually evaluated to ensure participant satisfaction and best use of resources. Program enrollment, retention and attendance are tracked; and impact evaluations are completed by all participants during and after program involvement. The history of our breast cancer programming indicates that participants will experience increased feelings of hope, lowered depression and will feel a connection to other women in similar situations.

Navigation Services:

Dearborn County Hospital – The Nurse Navigator/FNP is essential for the provision of comprehensive coordination of care encompassing advanced diagnostic, treatment and/or reconstructive procedures for clients with an abnormal screening or abnormal screening/diagnostic mammograms. The Navigator/FNP also provides education, reference and support for clients, families and the public. Special emphasis is placed on assisting underserved women.

The Nurse Navigator/FNP will ensure that clients receive timely and appropriate advanced clinical care, related follow-up and social services to help facilitate the best possible patient outcomes.

 Emergency Aid Program: Breast Cancer Patient Financial Assistance

Cancer Family Care – These supplemental dollars for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer expands the financial assistance and service offerings. Women with an established financial need may contact Cancer Family Care to access these one-time only dollars to assists in identified expenses unrelated to treatment, but critical in the overall rehabilitative care of women with a diagnosis. Women in the Affiliate’s 21-county service area may be eligible for these dollars.