Combatting Cancer

An interview with Brenda Maxon

A local not-for-profit that has donated over $4.4 million into this community is celebrating. The world’s largest breast cancer organization is Observing its 24th annual Race for the Cure in February. The Susan G. Komen El Paso affiliate opened its doors in 1993 and The Art Avenue sat down with affiliate director Brenda Maxon, who has been with the organization for eight years, to find out what’s in store for this year and why this organization is
so important to El Paso.

Brenda Maxon

Brenda Maxon

How did you become involved with the Susan G. Komen El Paso Affiliate?
In 2007, I started a race team to rally around friends and family members fighting breast cancer. I felt an incredible sense of camaraderie and excitement at race—and seeing all of the survivors and their family members join together in celebration was an indescribable feeling. I was hooked. I started volunteering with the affiliate and learned more about the Komen mission and the promise between two sisters that became Susan G. Komen.

I can only imagine the people you have met and the stories you have been told. Is there one specific event that has impacted you more so than others?
That’s such a tough question! I have met many incredible people through my years with Komen—from survivors and their families to volunteers and sponsors. Each and every one holds a special place in my heart and many have become close friends. Unfortunately, due to HIPPA laws, I rarely meet people who have been helped locally through Komen funds, but when I do it is always extremely emotional for me.

 Why is this race so important this year?
75% of all funds raised by Komen El Paso remain in El Paso to fund breast cancer screening, treatment and education programs for the medically underserved in the community. 25% of funds raised support the Komen Award and Research Grant Program.

Since inception in 1993, Komen El Paso has invested over $4.4 million in our community for the provision of breast cancer education, screening and treatment resources for underserved men and women in El Paso. The more money we raise through [the] race, the more funds we have to grant back into our community. We typically receive $350,000-$750,000 in grant funding requests every year.

These are the reasons race is so important to our community.

There are so many other races and non-profits competing for dollars and sponsors, how do you compete?
The Komen El Paso Race for the Cure is one of the oldest races in our community. We are fortunate to have the support of many local partners and companies who understand the difference Komen El Paso has made in El Paso and will continue to make in the future.

Why it is so vital for this affiliate to remain in existence?
Perhaps the most effective answer to this question is to provide you with an email I received in November:

“My name is Phoebe* and I was in contact with you last year about a very large mass in my right breast. I was scared and had no idea where to start looking for help. You helped me tremendously by giving me names of places that dealt with that sort of situation. I went to a gynecologist who checked me out and referred me to the right doctors. I was put on an aggressive chemo treatment and had a bilateral mastectomy.  I finished off my treatments with six weeks of radiation. I am happy to inform you that at this very moment, there is no cancer in my body. Thanks for caring about a total stranger who was scared and felt very alone. Without ever meeting me, you saved my life. I will never forget you and for the rest of my life, I will thank God for sending one of his angels here on Earth to help me.”

The bottom line is that Komen El Paso helps save lives. We provide resources and funding to empower women in the fight against breast cancer.

*The real name was changed to respect the privacy of the individual and in order to be in compliance with HIPPA.

We understand that the race route has changed this year. Is it still the same length?
Yes, we decided to move back to Cohen Stadium, which was home to Race for the Cure for many years. Cohen Stadium has easy access for survivors and participants and is a great venue for the sponsor expo and survivor celebration. The expo takes place on the field, providing a cohesive atmosphere to the event.  The race is a 5K (3.1 miles) with a one mile turnaround. There is a competitive run (timed), as well as a non-competitive run/walk. We anticipate 6,500 paid participants and normally have an additional 2,000-3,000 supporters come to celebrate a loved one.

Is there anything new we should be expecting from this year’s race besides a new location?
We expect to have a lot of food trucks this year, more sponsor booths to interact with race participants and supporters, and some surprises along the race route.

Who have been top supporters of the race?
Mattress Firm is the local presenting sponsor of the 2016 Susan G. Komen El Paso Race for the Cure.

How important are sponsors and the volunteers to this race?
Race sponsors and partners have been vitally important to the continued success of Komen El Paso. They provide everything from money to hold the race to advertising and food.

Komen El Paso has been blessed with many committed volunteers during the last 24 years, all of whom make the production of Race for the Cure and other events possible.

www.komenelpaso.org

by mail: Mail signed registration form by February 19, 2016 to:
Komen El Paso
1700 Murchison, Suite 207
El Paso, Texas  79902.

For information on sponsorships,
email Brenda Maxon:
bmaxon@komenelpaso.org

For information on volunteering: emailelpaso@komenelpaso.org

For any questions, feel free to call 915.533.4433

Pricing
Competitive – $35 / Race Day $40
Non-Competitive – $30 / Race Day $35
Kids for the Cure® – $15
Sleep in for the Cure® – $35