Cake Pop Girls and London Bridge Trading Company are at it again!

Raising funds for breast cancer one cake pop at a time!

13645266_10154364982623221_164915351073569207_nHannah, Ava, and Leah made a goal of raising more each year than the previous year, and boy did they make that goal! These young heroes (and possible entrepreneurs) have been raising money for breast cancer for Komen Tidewater for over 4 years now!

In June, they took orders from a website they built for homemade/ handmade chocolate and vanilla cake pops! Little did they know that they would sell 220 cake pops!

They raised $410 for Komen Tidewater in 2016, but again because of the generous matching from local business, London Bridge Trading, that $410 turned into $820!

IMG_6259These girls have a personal connection to cancer. Ava and Hannah lost their grandmother to breast cancer after a 12 year battle, and Leah’s grandmother has battled cancer also. They started fundraising in honor of these important women in their lives.

We want to thank this wonderful and caring group of young women and their parents for their hard work! Their fundraising will help us put money back into our community in the form of grants for local breast health programs, diagnostics, education, and screenings.

Huge thanks to London Bridge Trading for supporting these girls AGAIN in their fundraising efforts!

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Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Organization Praises Congressional Action That Preserves Cancer Research Dollars


 — The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization today praised Senate leaders for swift action to preserve federal funding of biomedical research – including breast cancer research – conducted through the Department of Defense (DOD).

The bipartisan amendment, led by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss), passed the Senate on a 66-32 vote this afternoon. Its passage blocked an effort that would have prohibited biomedical research funding at DOD unless the research met narrowly defined criteria related to military relevance. This included funding for the DOD’s Breast Cancer Research Program.

“Passage of this amendment today ensures that critical, innovative cancer research will continue,” said Dr. Judy Salerno, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization. “We are extremely grateful to Senators Durbin and Cochran, and to those senators who voted for its passage. Investment in biomedical research must remain an unwavering national priority if we hope to continue the progress we are making to find the cures.”

Since its inception in 1992, the Breast Cancer Research Program at DOD has awarded more than $3.2 billion to more than 6,500 research grants aimed at identifying how and why breast cancer develops, factors that increase risk, and more advanced ways to detect and treat the disease.

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Action needed to protect breast cancer research funding



This week, the U.S. Senate will debate the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA). Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) has filed an amendment that would repeal Section 756 and 898 of the NDAA. These onerous sections would prohibit funding for medical research at the Department of Defense (DOD) unless such research meets narrowly defined criteria related to military relevance. The passage of this amendment would preserve critical, innovative research conducted through the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), which benefits millions impacted by breast cancer and makes grant awards through a distinctive partnership between consumers and scientists.

Fill out the form here (or get more information) to tell your Senators to vote “Yes” on the Durbin Amendment.


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Spotlight on Science: Genetics and Side Effects – Dr. Bryan Schneider


One of the most promising new trends in cancer science is the search for personalized medicines – finding treatments that are right for individual patients and identifying those that might not work based on a patient’s genetic makeup and medical history.  In 2009, Komen provided $6 million in research funding to an Indiana

Dr. Bryan Schneider QuoteUniversity team looking for gene tic markers that could predict which patients would respond to a new experimental drug. Soon, the research from this Komen Promise Grant opened promising new doors about genetics and treatment side effects.

The team was led by Indiana University’s Bryan Schneider, M.D. (one of our Komen Scholars) and David Flockhart, M.D., Ph.D., along with patient advocate Mary Lou Smith, Esq., co-founder of Research Advocacy Network. We spoke to Dr. Schneider about this grant to learn more.

Komen: Dr. Schneider, thanks so much for your time and for the important work you do in the fight against breast cancer.  Could you walk us through the ins and outs of your Komen Promise Grant?

Schneider: Of course. The main goal was to deliver better personalized medicine. We did this by leveraging two large randomized trials (involving about 5,000 patients from around the globe), comparing an experimental drug (bevacizumab, or Avastin) to standard treatment with chemotherapy.

Our goal was to use genetic data that we collected from patients to identify those individuals who would benefit from treatment. Along the way, we realized that we also ended up with a great deal of detailed information about the side effects patients suffered from – regardless of which drug they were given.

Komen: How can this study change medicine now?

Schneider: I think we, as researchers, do a great job of determining which drugs will work for which patients, but often overlook serious treatment effects, such as peripheral neuropathy or congestive heart failure. I can tell you from my own experience that some patients fear the word “chemo” more than the word “cancer.” If we can understand who is at increased risk for these life-altering side effects, it could impact how patients receive therapy, or if maybe an alternative therapy or foregoing therapy altogether is a better option.

For now, the most important takeaway is that we will be able to tailor our therapies not just to those we think will benefit, but also to avoid therapies in patients we think may suffer.

Komen: What did you learn about specific side effects?

Schneider: Well, we learned a great deal about this one common side effect called peripheral neuropathy, or inflammation of the nerves. It results in a number of symptoms like numbness or tingling, and it can make seemingly simple tasks (like brushing your teeth) really challenging. And even worse – it can be irreversible.

Our study revealed one biomarker in particular in patients who were more likely to develop this side effect, which could be extremely important information when patients are making treatment decisions.

We also found that African-Americans are much more likely to experience neuropathy. We actually found a gene specific to this population that could indicate which individuals are at increased risk – again, vital information for treatment decisions.

Another serious side effect we discovered a great deal about was congestive heart failure. It’s more rare, but absolutely terrible if it does happen. We were able to identify a biomarker that indicates increased risk of this side effect as well.

Komen: You clearly had patients’ needs at the center of your work. Can you tell us about the role patient advocates played in this study?

Schneider: Having patient advocates on the grant is an amazing asset. They not only help develop the project aims, but keep us grounded about what matters to patients. For example, our initial goal was to identify who might benefit from bevacizumab. Unfortunately, we found that this particular drug probably won’t be important for breast cancer. But, our patient advocates pointed out that we could still use the amazing genetic and treatment data we had gathered to ask other important and meaningful questions, such as who might suffer the most from treatment side effects, and get valuable information for patients.

Komen:  What do you want people to walk away knowing about Komen and this Promise Grant?

Schneider:  None of this work would have happened without Komen’s funding. Komen is one of the few organizations that recognize that it’s not all about discoveries at the molecular level.  The more important question is:  how will we take these findings and make it relevant to patients?  Komen has been amazing at supporting work like this Promise Grant which is directly focused on making an impact in patients’ lives.

As far as what’s next – honestly, we have a long way to go.  I wish we could say we’ve cured cancer and minimized all side effects, but we still have more work to do in terms of understanding how these biomarkers affect treatment regimens, and how we can take this to the patient and into clinics.

Until we get there, we’ll continue to need support from organizations like Komen and individuals everywhere who help make this work possible.

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Local Youth Fundraising Spotlight

We are honored to introduce you to Hannah, Ava, and Leah. These young ladies have raised money for Komen Tidewater for over 3 years now!

2013-08-15 11.36.20It started with duct tape purses and wallets one year, bottle top magnets the next, and now this year they have raised $200 by selling cake pops and lemonade in their neighborhood, but hang on!  Because of the generous matching of $200 from local business, London Bridge Trading, that $200 turned into $400!

These girls have a personal connection to cancer. Ava and Hannah lost their grandmother to breast cancer after a 12 year battle, and Leah’s grandmother has battled cancer also. They started fundraising in honor of these important women in their lives.

We want to thank this wonderful and caring group of young women for their hard work! Their fundraising will help us put money back into our community in the form of grants for local breast health programs, diagnostics, education, and screenings.

Hannah, Ava and Leah 3

IMG_4106Stay tuned for their plans for 2016! They have made a goal of raising more each year than the previous year!

Also, many thanks to London Bridge Trading for supporting these girls in their fundraising efforts!







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The Cancer Moonshot: Ready, Willing and Able

President Obama’s announcement of a cancer “Moonshot” – with Vice President Joe Biden at the controls – is sending positive shockwaves through the cancer community today. It is the right initiative, at the right time, with the right leader – and a test of our collective will to confront a disease that affects every American, directly or indirectly, over the course of our lifetimes.


Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden greet a breast cancer patient at a Susan G. Komen-sponsored Washington, D.C., breast cancer program in 2014. Komen President and CEO Dr. Judy Salerno looks on (left).

The vice president and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who lost their son Beau to brain cancer last year, know all too well the enormous impact that cancer can have on the lives of families in this country. But the Bidens are not newcomers to cancer advocacy. We know them at Susan G. Komen as longtime passionate advocates for breast cancer research and health outreach, and especially for programs to provide access to quality cancer care for low-income, uninsured and medically underserved people.

The vice president’s compassion is palpable and authentic, and will translate, we know, into meaningful programs that will give all people a fighting chance at surviving cancer.

We saw the vice president’s hand in the record levels of cancer research funding approved by Congress last year. The 6.6 percent increase was the first significant hike in federal cancer research funding in more than a decade and a step toward reversing a backward slide in federal biomedical research investment in real-dollar terms. This is important, because only the U.S. government has the resources to undertake innovative, high-risk science. Without this research, our fight against cancer and other diseases will not only take longer, but could stagnate.

We agree with the vice president that cancer organizations and institutions have an obligation to advance the research by pooling our expertise and working together to bring the benefits of the science to patients as quickly as possible – especially those patients suffering from aggressive and metastatic forms of cancer. They need the benefit of clinical trials and advanced treatments that will prolong lives while we seek cures.

Many organizations are already sharing information and pooling programs, mindful of the urgency to reduce the intolerable social and economic costs of cancer, which were estimated in 2009 at $216 billion annually.

The human cost – of loved ones lost or suffering – cannot be estimated.

This is why the cancer community is willing, it is able, and it is more than ready to run this last mile in mankind’s long journey against a cunning killer. The vice president has already begun reaching out to those who can make this difference.

And just as our society rallied to achieve a moon landing 50 years ago, we are also willing to do our part to, as the President so eloquently put it, “make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

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Breast Cancer in Men

Men can get breast cancer. Men don’t think of themselves as having breasts. For them, it’s their chest or their pecs, so it comes as a surprise to most men to find out they are at risk of breast cancer. The fact is men do have breast tissue. Although rare, they can get breast cancer.  Click here for addditional information.

In the U.S., about 2,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men and more than 400 men will die from breast cancer each year. You may be at risk. We don’t know what causes breast cancer or who will get it, but we do know that there are some things that may put a man at higher risk. Simply getting older puts you at risk. Talk to your doctor to find out what else may put you at risk.


It’s a good idea to:

  • Find out if you have a family history of breast cancer or a gene mutation.
  • Talk to your doctor about any medical problems you may have, such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, gynecomastia or a chronic liver disorder.
  • Talk with your doctor if you are overweight or obese. Even if you have more than one risk factor, you may never get breast cancer. And some men, who have no risk factors, may still get it. Don’t ignore it!
  • Most men don’t know they can get breast cancer.
  • You may ignore the warning signs that tell you something is wrong.
    • You may not tell your doctor what you are feeling because you are embarrassed or worried. • You may wait too long to get help. The key to beating cancer is finding it early and getting treated right away

ABOVE:  Meet Survivor Wayne Dornan, and read about his breast cancer journey, and a his book How I Survived Breast Cancer.

Here’s what to look for:  Talk to your doctor if you have any of these warning signs.  Don’t wait.  Be sure to call if:

  • You feel a lump, a hard knot or swelling in your chest area.
  • The skin on your chest dimples or puckers.
  • Your nipple pulls in toward your chest wall.
  • You see any redness or scaling on your nipple.
  • There is a discharge coming from your nipple.

If you don’t have a doctor, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital.  Click here for more information.

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Pink Camellias for the Cure! They Knew!


Jim and Wendy emailed us last week and told us a wonderful story of how they began to realize that their pink camellias started to bloom October 1, and began wilting at the end of October. They though it was perfect timing for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Coincidence? We think not!

When we asked if they had a connection to breast cancer they said they did. Their close neighbor, who was diagnosed years ago, died leaving 3 children. One of the surviving daughters applied for and received a Susan G. Komen college scholarship. This really impressed Jim and Wendy, since they knew without the scholarship the daughter would have never been able attend college.

They believe there is no measure for what Komen does for communities. We agree!

Thanks for sharing Jim and Wendy!


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Living with metastatic breast cancer

What is metastatic breast cancer?

Metastatic breast cancer (also called advanced or stage IV breast cancer) is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes in the underarm area) to other parts of the body.

In the U.S., few women have metastatic disease when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer (less than five percent of diagnoses).1 More commonly, metastatic breast cancer arises months or years after a woman has completed treatment for early or locally advanced (stage I, II or III) breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer returning and metastasizing varies from person to person.

People diagnosed with metastatic disease face very different challenges than people diagnosed with early breast cancer. Here, we discuss treatment, prognosis and some of the emotional and practical aspects of living with metastatic breast cancer.

Can metastatic breast cancer be treated?

Although metastatic breast cancer is not currently considered curable, it may be able to be treated. Some people may live many years with metastatic breast cancer as a long-term chronic condition. And, as treatment for both early-stage and metastatic breast cancer continues to improve, so does survival.

If breast cancer metastasizes, it most often spreads to the bones, liver, lungs or brain. When breast cancer spreads to another part of the body, it’s still breast cancer and treated with breast cancer therapies. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the lungs is still breast cancer (not lung cancer) and is treated with breast cancer drugs, rather than drugs for a cancer that began in the lungs.

What are the goals of treatment?

The goals of treating metastatic breast cancer are to control tumor growth and prolong life while also maintaining quality of life.

Treatment is highly personalized and depends upon the characteristics of breast cancer and the side effects a person is willing to accept or able to tolerate. Not only does one person’s cancer differ from another’s, but personal choices also guide treatment more than with early-stage breast cancers. Some treatments have side effects that impact quality of life, and the potential benefits of these treatments may be greater for some people than others. Together with her/his oncologist, a person with metastatic breast cancer can find the balance of treatment and quality of life that is right for her/him.

How is metastatic breast cancer treated?

Treatment plans are guided by many factors, including:

  • Characteristics of the cancer cells (such as estrogen receptor statusand HER2/neu status)
  • Where the cancer has spread
  • Symptoms
  • Past breast cancer treatments

The most common treatments for metastatic breast cancer include:

For people who have metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the bones, there are drugs that can be added to help improve bone strength and prevent fractures.

Radiation therapy is less commonly used, but can be used to treat some areas in the body where the cancer has spread and causes symptoms or pain. This depends on the location of the metastases and whether the metastases cause any symptoms. For example, radiation therapy may be used to ease the pain of cancer that has spread to the bone.

Surgery is not commonly used for metastatic breast cancer since it has not been shown to improve survival.


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PART FIVE: One Woman’s Journey

Trina Marie Keel-Saunders

trinfamFirst Day of Radiation

-28 TREATMENTS-Monday thru Friday

-REGION TREATED: Left Supraclavicular region-from 10/23/14-11/25/14

-REGION TREATED: Left Chest Wall-from 10/23/14-12/2/14

Last Day of Radiation: 12/2/2014

Began Hormone Therapy

I began taking Anastrazole (ARIMIDEX)-ARIMIDEX is approved for adjuvant treatment (treatment following surgery with or without radiation) of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer.

My results showed that basically my cancer was feeding off of my Estrogen and Progesterone.



I went under for part #1 of my reconstruction, Dr. John Mancoll reconstructed my left breast using the DIEP FLAP procedure using my right side. Having 3 kids stretched my skin so I was a good candidate for this procedure.   I think of it as I am getting a new pair of breasts and a tummy tuck. I had a tissue expander in my right breast until my next scheduled surgery which was scheduled for 9/21/2015.

Overall, being diagnosed with breast cancer, I have had my share of ups and downs, (which I still do) asking myself why did this happen to me, and having the feeling that I look like a monster because of my body because of all the scars. I also feel breast cancer has been a blessing as do other women I have met from having breast cancer.

trinframeSome stories are different than mine, but we all have the same thoughts, feelings, etc. I have learned to love myself more each day that passes. I have learned to NOT LET THE LITTLE THINGS BOTHER ME, to LIVE MY LIFE, CHERISH EVERY SECOND OF MY LIFE WITH MY HUSBAND AND CHILDREN. I LOVE that I have inspired others and I will continue to be an advocate for breast cancer.

Join me and Trina’s Troops, October 10, 2015 at Race for the Cure!

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