What is #GivingTuesdayNow?

#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity, set to take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. It’s a day when we can all come together and give back in all ways, no matter who or where we are.

Why Give to Komen Orange County?

Meet Veronica

Veronica was helped by Susan G. Komen Orange County. Today you can make an impact on the life of women and men like Veronica in our communities by making a donation now.

Your local gift can save lives and make a difference. 

At 26 years old, I was not prepared for a breast cancer diagnosis and all the things that come along with it.  Neither was my mom. My future was full of promise.

I was less than one year away from graduation from Cal State, Fullerton when I noticed that my nipple was inverted.  My mother was not worried because her sister had the same breast (abnormality).  A few months later I felt a lump near the areola on the same breast.  Now I was scared.

I was uninsured at the time, so I went to the only place that I knew might be able to help uninsured women like me, Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood then referred me to Breastlink and that’s where Susan G. Komen stepped in and helped pay for my first ultrasound and needle biopsy. At the time, I did not know it was Susan G. Komen until I went into the offices a few months later seeking help for my mom and I.

The diagnosis was bad news. “You have breast cancer” translated into Her2 positive breast cancer that had spread into my lymph nodes.

I was told that I needed chemotherapy and that the treatment would damage my fertility. And, I would lose my hair. I hadn’t even thought about having kids yet. And at 26, I sure wasn’t ready to accept myself without hair!

I kept asking myself ‘where do I start?’  My insurance at my job hadn’t kicked in yet and I didn’t qualify for MediCal. I went from being a normal college student, to fighting for my life with the immense stress of how to pay for it all

My life became scheduling appointments, understanding the medical choices, filling out the paperwork, adjusting to a new diet and explaining everything to my parents. After my treatments started I realized my whole life was changing forever because of breast cancer.

Emotionally I was struggling. I wasn’t coping very well. Neither was my Mom. It was hard for me to be the one to say to her, ‘Everything is going to be OK, Mom’ because I knew it wasn’t going to be OK.  And, I could not handle the weight of her sorrow and my own emotional distress caused by my breast cancer treatments. I could not console her.

I was getting good at asking for help. So I took my doctor’s advice and called Susan G. Komen Orange County.  Before I knew it, my mom and I were warmly welcomed at Komen for our first Spanish-speaking comfort support group with other Latina breast cancer survivors, called Cafecitos Hope.

That was the day I realized how my diagnostic procedures were paid. It was Susan G. Komen Orange County who had silently stepped in and paid for my first ultrasound and needle biopsy that diagnosed my cancer all those months ago. It was Komen that offered me a free wig when my hair was falling out. It was Komen that referred me to free local mental health services. And, it was Komen helping my mother learn to cope with her sorrow.

Cancer doesn’t hold for anyone, it doesn’t wait. And it doesn’t matter if you have life goals. While I had to stop everything and fight for my life, I learned to be strong for myself and for my family. I am still fighting as my treatment didn’t completely work. I am now on radiation and a clinical trial which again speaks volumes to the work that Komen does in funding research. It all comes full circle as I participle in the Race for the Cure in September 2016 wearing my pink shirt and more inspired than ever from the women around me to continue fighting! Without Susan G. Komen Orange County, I wouldn’t be here.

I never knew I was a fighter until I had cancer. I am More Than Pink.

Your gift today to the Komen California Response Fund will answer urgent needs, ensuring those facing breast cancer diagnosis can access vital services, including:

Patient navigation for enhanced patient experience and reduce systemic, programmatic and social barriers to breast care and services, resulting in improved outcomes for women in Orange County

Financial assistance to support cost of living expenses for those in active treatment

Breast cancer screening preparation for the coming surge of routine mammograms and screenings that are currently postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 for uninsured or underinsured women in need

Virtual educational experiences facilitated by experts to provide critical, timely information related to breast health and COVID-19, and addressing questions and concerns on how to cope with stress and anxiety 

Virtual Safe Community Space for survivors, those living with metastatic breast cancer and caregivers to share their stories, build connections and support during this time

Advocacy for transformative health policies and improved access to affordable, high-quality breast health and cancer care services

Lifesaving research and clinical trials to discover new treatments

Operational Support in partnership with local breast health organizations to help meet higher demands they are seeing during COVID-19 pandemic

The Komen California Response Fund will be helping patients, survivors, caregivers, and families who urgently need support now more than ever.

You can help Komen California Affiliates answer the needs in your local breast cancer community.

Donations of up to $300 are tax-deductable under the new CARES Act for individual charitable giving.

I have learned that we can further educate each other.  We can continue to help people survivor this disease. Thank you everyone for being here today and for being More Than Pink!

With gratitude,

Veronica, Thriver and Forever Fighter