On August 1 at 12pm, Susan G. Komen of Orange County celebrated the first ever Circle of Promise Day in California, along with the other six California affiliates. Approximately two hundred people in Orange County took a pledge to encourage women most disproportionately affected by death from breast cancer and late stage diagnosis of breast cancer–African-American women, women of color, young women, and all women–to get breast cancer screenings and be more proactive about their breast health. Each attendee promised to reach out to 10 women over the next month to join in their “Circle of Promise”.

The pledge was led by Dr. Portia Jackson, Strategy & Implementation Consultant for the Circle of Promise Initiative in Orange County, and Lisa Wolter, CEO of Susan G. Komen of Orange County. Members of the Orange County Komen African-American Women’s Breast Health partnership, NCNW, OC Heritage Council, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Friendship Baptist Church, and Second Baptist Church, and other local organizations were on hand to take the pledge. Dr. DeVera Heard, was recognized during the Survivor’s MasCUREade Celebration with the 2015 Komen Outstanding Breast Health Advocate Award for her dedication to breast health education in the African-American community.

Circle of Promise Day is the result of a collaborative effort with the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) that also commemorates the birthday of Henrietta Lacks. Ms. Lack’s “immortal” HeLa cells have been instrumental in medical research in the discovery and advances of life saving cancer treatments, as well as treating and curing other life threatening diseases.

The Circle of Promise is Komen’s statewide initiative to addresses breast cancer disparities at the system, community, and individual levels, specifically reaching African American women. The goal of the initiative is to empower African American women with the knowledge and resources to enter and move through a quality, culturally competent and coordinated system of breast health care. Launched by the seven California Affiliates of Susan G. Komen, it is funded in part by a grant from Anthem Blue Cross Foundation.

The Initiative —the first of its kind in Susan G. Komen® history—will enable the Komen Affiliates to coordinate, work with, and learn from African American community leaders to build partnerships and relationships in order to address barriers to access and deliver program elements including community organizing, direct education, screening and navigation services, and targeted marketing and awareness.