Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Avon Foundation's Response

We receive emails from the Avon Foundation frequently because of being involved in the annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte. This is one we'd like to share with everyone because it's a heated discussion in the news and on our minds...

Avon Foundation for Women Response to New U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Mammography Recommendations

The Avon Foundation for Women strongly supports current mammography screening guidelines that have contributed to a 30% decrease in breast cancer mortality since 1990 when mammography screening became routine.

On November 16, 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended changing current mammography screening guidelines to begin biennial screening in women aged 50, discontinue screening for women over 75 years of age, and no longer promote self breast exam.

The Avon Foundation for Women advocates for empowering women of all ages by ensuring they have access to medical experts with whom to discuss breast health and the knowledge to make informed decisions with their doctors on breast health care, early detection screening for breast cancer, breast cancer risk and risk reduction strategies.
  • The Avon Foundation continues to support the guidelines recommended by expert groups American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and others including that women get to know their own bodies through breast self awareness and immediately report any changes to their doctor, begin annual screening mammography at age 40, and continue annual screening mammography for as long as the woman is in good health.
  • Doctors must take time to conduct individualized risk assessments and provide appropriate guidance to women of all ages. It is more important than ever for women and doctors to have a comprehensive dialogue about the benefits, limitations, and potential harms of mammography, the risks of delaying mammography, and the value of being familiar with ones own body.
  • Educational support, insurance coverage and government programs for early detection must not be jeopardized, as reductions would dramatically influence a woman’s breast health care decisions. The November 18 statement by Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius reiterating that the government’s policies remain unchanged and continue to support current mammography screening guidelines was welcome news to those like the Avon Foundation for Women who were concerned about possible ramifications of the USPSTF recommendations.
  • The lack of access to care for medically vulnerable populations continues to be a priority for the Avon Foundation. One third of all women who qualify for screening are already not being screened due to lack of access and barriers to screening and treatment. Resources to link women to providers include the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund (www.avonbreastcare.org) and Avon Foundation Safety Net hospitals (www.avonfoundation.org/resourceguide).
  • The new USPSTF recommendations address concerns with current mammography technology and the level of scientific understanding about breast cancer disease progression, aggressiveness, and likelihood of metastasis. The Avon Foundation for Women continues its commitment to fund cutting-edge research to develop new tests for more accurate risk assessment, to better determine which women benefit from mammography, ultrasound or MRI screening, and accelerate advances in tumor analysis technology, to better determine the appropriate level of aggressiveness for treatment. Information about Avon Foundation funded grants in these categories can be accessed via this link, or visit the funding webpage for a full grant listing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Winston-Salem Journal

The Focused on a Cure story published by the Salisbury Post was picked up by the Winston-Salem Journal!! Check it out! Click here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween House

Last Friday, IP hosted it's first Halloween House. Chelish Moore Flower transformed the studio into a spooky fun house with spider webs, pumpkins and CANDY! We had over 40 families attend the Halloween House and raised about $2,000 for Focused on a Cure!

Check out IP's staff "in character"...

David as a child in love with his sock monkeys (even the PJs had sock monkey feet!). Karen as '50s Rock 'n' Roll girl. Tara as Suzy Homemaker. Jess as Little Red Riding Hood. Renda as a pirate. Ashley as Jane.

We constructed three custom Halloween sets...

Check on the roaring lion on the first Halloween set.

Then Eva as a cat on the spooky set.
Then, our the all-star football player on the fall set.
The Halloween House was a blast. Everyone had a great time decorating pumpkins, painting faces, eating candy, and helping a good cause at the same time!
Take a look at portraits, candids, and decorating in progress from Friday's Halloween House on IP's facebook fan page.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Move for the Cure

If you're not getting enough exercise, here's a twofer that may provide the motivation you need: Not only do regular workouts cut your risk of breast cancer, but if you do develop the disease, having been active also substantially lowers the chances of the cancer's recurring.

The numbers are impressive: Physical activity reduces your odds of getting breast cancer by up to 30 percent, a review of 62 studies recently reported. As for a better prognosis, in a study of 1,225 women diagnosed with breast cancer (mean age: 56), those who had previously logged an average of at least 3.9 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week were 39 percent less likely to have their cancer return or spread than the women who had been the least active (clocking less than 1.4 hours a week of physical activity).

"Other studies show that it's important to keep moving after a diagnosis, too," says lead author Christin Friedenreich, Ph.D., of Alberta Health Services in Canada. "Exercise can help you avoid gaining weight, which improves your chances of survival."

This article was published in the Good Health section of October's Good Housekeeping.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pretty in Pink with C.C. & Company Salon & Day Spa

Last Friday, C.C. & Company Salon and Day Spa hosted Pretty in Pink. This was an evening of pampering similar to our recent Girls Night Outs, with a catch - Everyone had to wear pink!

It was a blast! All the ladies had their hair styled, their nails painted, their necks massaged, their makeup applied, their bras fitted, and then they were photographed! Karen photographed some beautiful images of the ladies.

Check out some candids from the evening...

Here's a sneak peek at some of the portraits from Pretty in Pink!

Thank you to C.C. & Company for all of your support and donations! You have been a huge part of us acheiving our fundraising goals for Focused on a Cure. And we appreciate all the girls (and Hutch) for all your hard work at fundraising events!
Thank you to Sara Pless (The Bra Lady) for all your hard work and helping ladies find their best fitting undergarments! Thank you to Kristi Deese from Dream Dinners for all the food Friday evening! It's always delicious!!!
Thank you to all the ladies who attended! We raised over $700 Friday night and we're almost to our goal for the Avon Walk!
The portraits will be posted soon on our IP fan page at www.facebook.com/IPbyKG. There will also be directions on how to view ALL the images from that night through our website. Karen is offering a 50% discount off of our studio prices for any portrait orders from Pretty in Pink.
Thanks again! We enjoyed Pretty in Pink and look forward to the next event! And if you haven't been to C.C. & Company Salon & Day Spa, you haven't experienced pampering! Check them out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You Can Help Find a Cure

Scientific studies are a huge part of helping experts understand what causes breast cancer and how to prevent it. And that means researchers are looking for women to participate.

That's why the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation for Women created Love/Avon Army of Women: to gather those who might be interested.

Don't worry - it's not as involved as you might think, and anyone can do it (whether you're completely healthy, are at high risk for breast cancer or are a breast cancer survivor yourself). All you have to do to join is provide some basic info (name, age, city, and state you live in) at armyofwomen.org. You'll then receive e-mail updates announcing new studies that need volunteers.

If you fit the criteria for a specific study and would like to participate, just reply to the e-mail. The opportunities are varied: They range from basic surveys to more invasive procedures. This gives you the chance to decide how much you're comfortable with.

-Abigail L. Cuffey

This is taken from an article in Woman's Day Magazine. (October issue) Check out more breast cancer awareness info at www.womansday.com.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Join the Fight against Breast Cancer at Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery is partnering with NFL icon, Larry Fitzgerald, to fight breast cancer by offering (4) Limited Edition Collectable Larry Fitzgerald gift cards in stores. Larry Fitzgerald was named the 2009 Pro Bowl MVP and is cementing himself as a household name. Fitzgerald set the single postseason record in receiving yards and his performance in the NFC Championship game helped send the Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl.

Fitzgerald, whose mother passed away in 2003 while undergoing treatment for breast cancer, is a passionate advocate for breast cancer research and awareness. His signature long braided hair is an ongoing tribute to her memory.

Cold Stone Creamery will feature Fitzgerald's own Creation, "Heaven Eleven," for a limited time during the promotion. "Heaven Eleven" includes strawberry ice cream, graham cracker pie crust, white chocolate chips, strawberries and bananas. Fitzgerald's pink creation serves as an additional reminder of the fight against breast cancer.

Heaven Eleven's profits will support the National Breast Cancer Foundation (www.nbcf.org).

Take a look at the gift cards.

**Stay tuned to Focused on a Cure's fan page (www.facebook.com/focusedonacure) for more breast cancer info. Our goal is to post some interesting info each day in October!**

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

$10,000 Donation to NorthEast Foundation

Monday was the big day! We met at the entrance to the Breast Imaging Center at CMC-Copperfield to give the $10,000 check to the directors of the program. We had alot of support from some of our survivors and sponsors who attended and wore their FOC shirts!

Adam Cook, the director of the NE Foundation, started with a thank you and a brief update of the NE Foundation's success with their breast health program. He told us some very interesting facts and statistics about healthcare in our community - which has improved since the founding of the NE Foundation!

Here we are with our oversized check! $10,000 to the order of NorthEast Foundation!

Then we moved inside for a tour of the Breast Imaging Center. Paula Galvin showed us around and shared with us about the smallest details of the program. She mentioned that a lot of thought was put into the decor and feel of the lobby. They wanted women to feel like they were waiting in a spa atmosphere to reduce the stress and nerves while waiting. She shared about the "Be a Champion" campaign, where they train and inform mostly men about breast cancer and coping with it. Men can be such a huge part of their wife's battle against breast cancer.

Paula showed us around the facility and explained the process of being examined and consulting with your doctor, etc. She showed off their dressing rooms, where women wait to be taken in for their mammograms. Each dressing room has one of our survivors' prints in it with a successful story of breast cancer. There are journals in each room for women to write their thoughts and feelings, which is inspiring for the next woman to look through.

One thing that really stood out in our minds was a wall of information in the lobby. In the center is an image that the NE Foundation has used as their representation on all their breast cancer pieces. Notice the image is three young women of different races. Paula expressed how that image was strategically chosen because of the word they're trying to spread. You don't have to be older. You don't have to be unhealthy. Breast cancer affects everyone!

We appreciate Paula for taking the time to show us around. We really enjoyed the tour! Thank you to Meredith, Adam, and Paula for attending our event and supporting us along the way! We appreciate all of our sponsors and everyone who attended the event. This year was a success and we hope next year will be even bigger! What do you think we should set our goal at for next year - $15,000? $20,000? Thoughts?
Focused on a Cure isn't idle until then. We've got the Avon Walk fastly approaching in October. Relay for Life in May of 2010. And I'm sure find a few more in between!
Thanks for all your support!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thank You

Dear Karen and IP Staff,

Thank you for your overwhelming support of women who have been touched by breast cancer! The Piggin' Out for Pink event was a wonderful tribute to breast cancer survivors. You made us each feel so special.

I am honored and humbled to be recognized this year as one of the survivors for your Focused on a Cure project. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for the compassion the staff demonstrated during the photo session. Participating in the project has been a truly heartwarming experience.

I wish IP much success as you continue to bring hope to the women of Cabarrus County through Focused on a Cure.

Jackie Linker

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Carolina Plumbing Repair

A dear friend of Karen and Buddy's, Daryl Thomas, owns Carolina Plumbing Repair. His wife, Brooke, has been battling breast cancer recently. She has been through treatment and multiple reconstructive surgeries.

We had an anonymous $100 donation for Piggin Out for Pink and we decided to use it towards tickets for Daryl and Brooke. They attended the event and said they were very impressed with what we've accomplished.

Daryl approached Buddy last week to say that he feels very passionate about our cause because of Brooke's experience and he wants to help. Daryl has offered to donate 5% of Carolina Plumbing Repair's totals. They do residential plumbing repair. So next time you need a plumber, call Daryl at 704.933.6861. He has a huge heart and wants to help!

A Nice Surprise

Leigh stopped by yesterday to pick up portraits from her last family session and, while she was here, she gave us a nice surprise. She had written the sweetest message in a card, accompanied by some homemade cupcakes.

The handwritten message in the card read:

Karen, Renda, and the Irresistible Portraits Gang,

Focused on a Cure's Piggin' Out for Pink was such an awesome event. You have touched so many lives and really made a difference in our community. You have not only raised money for the Breast Health Program and increased community awareness, but you've offered the tremendous hope and encouragement by allowing breast cancer survivors to share their stories.

My family and I were so touched by how much thought and energy went into making the evening so special for everyone. My mom, sister, and I were so happy to be a part of the effort by sharing our stories in words and pictures. We were blown away by our special gift bags which included a copy of the image used in the show - so beautifully framed too. We will wear our t-shirts proudly, as well as our jewelry pins.

Thank you for our wonderful gifts and such royal treatment. Thank you for creating such a memorable evening. I will remember it fondly for a long time to come, as will my family and friends.

May God bless you richly,
Leigh Williams

Thank you for such kind words and the delicious treats! We appreciate you being a part of Focused on a Cure and sharing your story with others.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Feedback...

We received a beautiful, colorful card with "Brilliant!" across the front. We opened it to a message of "Congratulations on a stellar achievement." Along with this message was a heartfelt note that read:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10

Buddy & Karen,

What an awesome event for breast health! It shows you that one person can truly make a difference. Kudos to all of your staff and volunteers. Their passion was palatable. I appreciated everyone's words and testimonies and loved what you said, Karen, about God telling you to share your blessings and truly that happened. How cool to give birth to such a benevolent event that could easily become an annual event that would be bigger and better each year! Thank for all the hard work. You have much to be proud of!


Hey Buddy & Karen,

Just wanted to let you know I though you did a great job Friday night. I was impressed and it's hard to impress me. I'd be glad to help next time!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Piggin' Out for Pink Feedback

We've gotten lots of great personal thank yous and notes from people who attended our first annual event. We wanted to share the feedback with you!

To all the "Pink Gang" at Focused on a Cure,

What an amazing evening you put together! It was professional and yet the heart you carry for the pain and loss these girls experience is amazing. Can't wait til next year!

Vicki Farina

Dear Karen and IP Staff,

We are still talking about the wonderful evening we had with you last Friday night! And, Renda is quite the gifted party-thrower. It was so thoughtful and generous of you to name the CMC-NorthEast Breast Health Program Campaign as the beneficiary to your dinner and fundraiser. Dinner was absolutely delicious and we so enjoyed the Survivor's stories and video presentation. We're very excited about this partnership!

Thank you again for your hospitality.

Warm Regards,
Adam Cook & Meredith Valentine
NorthEast Foundation
Carolinas Medical Center - NorthEast

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"A Proud Mother"

Everytime I look through the images from our Piggin' Out for Pink event, I see something new that touches my heart. I see great people that came to support the cause. I see incredibly brave breast cancer survivors (women and one man) that were there to give back. It seems like, if you're a breast cancer survivor, you automatically bond with other survivors - knowing what each has gone through.

When we started this as a team, we decided if we were going to do this at all, we had to do it right! I think we did it right! Not too shabby for the first try!

I was blown away by the staff of IP. I knew they were good, but they went above and beyond for this cause. They are so caring and passionate about what they want to achieve. They cared as much as anyone could possibly ask for. I am so proud of them! Do I sound like a proud mother?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Piggin' Out for Pink

Last Friday, we held our first annual Focused on a Cure event - Piggin' Out for Pink. The event was held at the Propst Farm in Concord, NC. We have been in intense planning mode for a little over two months to make sure everything flowed as perfect as could be and I'm confident we can say it was a success.

Our goal for the event was to raise $10,000 and we named NorthEast Foundation as the beneficiary. Focused on a Cure is dedicated to local breast cancer research, so we also plan to raise money for our local Avon Walk and Relay for Life as well.

In order to meet our goal, we recruited Sports & More Auctions to help us with our silent auction. They provided some wonderful products that brought in some high bids! We appreciate all their help.

We put together a variety of raffle baskets. We were inspired by the number of creative raffle baskets at the 2009 Cabarrus Relay for Life. We got a great variety of items donated and we raised a lot of money from these so we appreciate everyone who donated little goodies for our baskets!

Clearly Carolina provided a ton of water with custom Focused on a Cure water bottle labels! Special thanks to them!

Chelish Moore of Chelish Moore Flowers was the one and only person we ever considered for decorating and flowers. She's the best at what she does and we knew we wanted this event to be "over the top" as Renda says. She did an AMAZING JOB down to every detail.

Concord Printing provided Piggin' Out for Pink's programs on a beautiful pearl paper, in addition to the tickets for the event. They are wonderful people and we've used them our studio newsletter for years. Definitely recommend them for local printing!

Our survivor portrait display was a hit! H&H provided all our prints on metal this year. It was hung with chain and was an eye catcher! The color pops off the metal and it looked fabulous.

In addition to providing our survivor portrait display, H&H flew out our one and only Ginger (our customer service rep). We were so happy for Ginger to be a part of our first annual event. She's a part of our IP family and it was only right for her to be there! Thanks H&H!

Brandy Haithcox of Sugar & Spice Sweet Treats baked and served all the desserts for the event! How cute is this cake?! She's very talented. Everything was delicious!!!

Punchy's catered our bar-b-que dinner. It was delicious as well! We are very grateful for their generosity. They gave us GREAT deal on the food for 200+ people and we can't say thank you enough!

Chloeann Durham is one of our 2009 survivors. She has two very talented children with phenomenal voices! Trenton and Chloe graced us with the beautiful voices during dinner. We heard them for the first time at Relay for Life. We knew we had to have them as a part of Focused on a Cure!

Divina Cook and Jane Jacobs both shared their inspiring stories with everyone Friday evening. Each of them told how they got through the battle against cancer and how life is different since their diagnosis.

Divina seemed to handle her challenges and bad news with humor. She spoke of her daughter throwing a party the night they shaved Divina's head. They shaved it down the middle, then tried combovers. Laughing seemed to get Divina through the tough times, where as Jane seemed to hold on to the future of her children. As a single mother to her two daughters, she knew she had no choice but to survive for her daughters' sake.

We thank both ladies for sharing their stories and experiences. It must take unbelievable courage to get in front of so many people and talk about the most difficult time of your life. But they both did it with such style and grace. We appreciate them both!

We showed a documentary film that we created in June with six of our survivors. The survivors sat with their families as they told their honest emotions and thoughts of their battle against breast cancer. It was amazing to watch and so enlightening.
This wouldn't have been possible without KA Studios. They volunteered their time to film the survivors and then to produce it. You'll never know how much we appreciate this film.
We hope to have the film on our fan page soon, so that those of you who weren't able to come to the event can view it. It's amazing. Be sure to have some tissues close by.
You can tell by the intensity on Janet's face that she felt the emotions in the film.
Here's the Sloop family watching the film together. We hope they realize how much their participation in this film meant to us.

After the tears were shed, it was time to tear up the dance floor with Too Much Sylvia. Of course, Renda was the one to break the ice... before she jumped on stage to steal the mic! We're used to it!

Tara's the same. There's no stopping her! Needless to say, the band was great and everyone seemed to have a GREAT time!
We had to have a group shot before the end of the night. Too Much Sylvia, IP, and Ginger!

You can view ALL the images from Friday night on our facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/focusedonacure.
Thank you to everyone who came to the event. We're setting our goals higher for next year, so you won't want to miss out on it. Thank you to everyone who made donations, even though they couldn't make it that evening. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to help the event flow nicely!
And most of all thank you to our sponsors! We couldn't have done it without you.
Thank you to ...
C.C. & Company - Girls Night Out donation
Chelish Moore Flowers - Decorations
Clearly Carolina - Water
Concord Printing - Programs & Tickets
H&H Color Lab - Metal Survivor Display
KA Studios - Documentary Film
Party Reflections - Tent
Proofcast - Website
Punchy's Diner - Dinner
Sugar & Spice - Desserts
Sun Drop Bottling Co. - Drinks
RL Imprints - T-shirts
Too Much Sylvia - Entertainment
Thank you to our sponsors with monetary donations...
Cabarrus Dance Academy
Designs by Stephanie Anne
Gio's Tire & Wheel Service
Tina S. Merhoff, DDS, PA
B.E. Kluttz Lumber
Brother's Tire
Club at Irish Creek
Dream Dinners
Gary's Bar-B-Q
Hope's Bridal Boutique
Hurt & Associates
K-Town Cars
Live Well Charlotte
Mirror Mirror Hair Design
Progressive Builders
South Ridge Veterinary Hospital
Sports and More Auctions
Steve Cook Nationwide Insurance
Wayne's Tire Service, Inc.
Whitaker Plumbing Inc.
Save the best for last...
We have to give our praises to God for blessing us with Focused on a Cure. We never imagined that we could have come this far in our first year. He has blessed us beyond belief. He laid this on our hearts and it's our job to make it the best we can. It is with his grace and your support that we will continue to progress towards a day when cancer no longer exists.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thank you!

We received a nice surprise today!!! A PINK arrangement... to fit the occasion!

The arrangement came with a little note that read:

To my Irresistible Portraits family -
Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me and my family. You are truly amazing and I am so blessed that God has put all of you into my life. Piggin' Out for Pink was wonderful! I am in awe of what you do and how you use it to help others. I am so honored to be a part of this! I love you guys!
-Laura Blackwell

We love you too! It was truly a blessing that we crossed paths at Relay for Life... (all because of Miss Scarlet!) You are so glad that you could be such a huge part of Focused on a Cure. We appreciate all your hard work at collecting raffle items and selling tickets! Keep spreading awareness! God bless you and your beautiful family!
-Everyone at IP

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Girls Night Out at C.C. & Company

Last Friday, we partnered with C.C. & Company for a Girls Night Out! The salon and spa hosted the event and volunteered their time and facility to help us raise money for Focused on a Cure.

For $20, each lady received a hair style, a mini manicure, make up, a neck massage, one underarm hair removal treatment, and 10% off any retail products. The Bra Lady, Accent Your Life with Style, Cherry Picked Creations, and other vendors joined us for the evening, offering their products and services, with a percentage going back to our foundation. Dream Dinners provided dinner for everyone... which was DELICIOUS!

C.C. & Company gave raffle items about every 30 minutes. This lady won a beautiful pink ribbon bracelet.

At one point, there was over 100 cars parked in the salon parking lot and neighoring parking lots. CRAZY!!!!
Although they were outnumbered, we had the help of a few men.

Can you say "FULL HOUSE?"

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to C.C. & Company for their generosity. We raised $1,585 for Focused on a Cure in one night! That's AMAZING! We appreciate everything you've done for Focused on a Cure.
If you haven't been to C.C. & Company before, you're missing out. They have the friendliest staff and they're all GREAT at what they do. Their facility is gorgeous and we promise you won't be disappointed.
Check out their website at www.ccandcompanysalonspa.com.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Relay for Life Wrap Up Celebration

Renda attended the 2009 Relay for Life Wrap up Celebration on behalf of our Focused on a Cure team - Digital Divas. The event summarized all the money that was raised by Cabarrus County and honored the teams involved.

The yummy thank you cake...

Relay was promoting other events that are coming up in the near future - Bark for Life, Making Strides, etc. You can find info about all those events at www.relayforlife.org.

Some teams won different awards, such as Best Rookie Team, Best Decorated Campsite (... which will be OURS next year...), Best On-Site Fundraiser, Last Tent Standing, Best Decorated Luminaria, etc.

"Thank you for helping us TAKE OUT cancer!!".... such a cute idea!

Cabarrus County's Relay for Life was such a success! We're looking forward to next year!