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 for the Cure®, the organization Nancy started in her honor. Komen for the Cure is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1 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 122 local Affiliate offices. At the heart of each Affiliate is a person or group of people who, like Susan, wanted to make a difference.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is an organization dedicated to saving lives and ending breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures. The Colorado Springs Affiliate is one of a network of 125 Affiliates globally that support this vision.
The Colorado Springs Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure was founded in 1994 through the tireless efforts of Mitzi Fideler, now a 21 year breast cancer survivor. Fideler had just retired when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She never wasted time figuring out why she was stricken, rather she used her energy and zest for life to fight the disease and spread the word that it is beatable.
After attending the Aspen Race for the Cure® in 1992, Fideler was determined to bring the Race for the Cure® to Colorado Springs. She and her close friend, Carol Kelly, met with John Stapleton and Chris Anderson from the Gazette newspaper to seek sponsorship resources necessary to get the Colorado Springs Affiliate off the ground. John and Chris enthusiastically supported the efforts to make Susan G. Komen of Colorado Springs a reality.
Together Mitzi, Carol, John, Chris and a small group of passionate volunteers made the first Race for the Cure happen on August 26, 1995 at North Monument Valley Park. The organizers were told by the Colorado Springs racing community and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to expect no more than 500 participants. Through hard work and great passion for the Cause, the team welcomed more than 1,500 people for the first race and raised $103,000 to fight breast cancer. Until they moved to California, Chris and his wife Althea remained involved with the Colorado Springs Race for the Cure® for many years and they continued to raise money to fight this terrible disease. Carol Kelley, unfortunately lost her battle with breast cancer in 2005, but was able to see the Affiliate established and participate in the inaugural Race for the Cure® in Colorado Springs. She participated in the Race every year until 2004.
September 11, 2011 marked the 17th year of the Race for the Cure® in Colorado Springs with nearly 8,000 participants and more than $450,000 raised. Since the first Race, the Colorado Springs Affiliate has raised more than $6 million through fundraising, donations, and special events. Approximately $4.8 million in grant awards have been distributed throughout El Paso, Pueblo, and Teller counties from money raised by the Susan G. Komen Colorado Springs Affiliate.
Each year the Colorado Springs Affiliate, a 501 (c) 3 organization, awards grants to non profit organizations that provide breast health/breast cancer screening, treatment support, and education to the medically uninsured, underinsured, or at-risk populations in El Paso, Pueblo, and Teller counties. The Colorado Springs Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is proud to distribute 75% of the net proceeds from fundraising to this 3-county service area with the remaining 25% of funds raised going to support breast cancer research through the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.
To ensure all funds raised have the greatest impact, the Colorado Springs Affiliate conducts a bi-annual community profile to establish funding priorities that address identified breast health needs in the community. A request for proposals is publicized on the Affiliate website and through various community and media outlets. Community representatives, local breast health professionals, and breast cancer survivors evaluate the merit of all proposals based on an objective grant review process to determine those that best serve the community's identified needs and then selects the most qualified applicants for funding.
The Board of Directors and staff for Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Colorado Springs firmly believe in the value of volunteer involvement throughout the organization. Community volunteers and supporters enable the Affiliate to fulfill the mission and reach organizational goals while keeping operation costs low, thus maximizing dollars raised. Volunteers help with fundraising, special events, assist in the office, serve as spokespersons for the Affiliate, share their expertise as members of the Board of Directors and committees, and serve as advocates. Komen volunteers help to strengthen the organization’s existing programs, add new programs, procure funds and resources, add specialized skills and talents, and increase public awareness.
To learn more about the Colorado Springs Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, go to www.komensecolorado.org.