The first-ever More Than Pink Walk is just three days away! It takes place this Sunday at Eastland Mall in Evansville.
Eyewitness News Shelley Kirk talks with Komen Evansville Tri-State Executive Director Sheila Seiler and Komen Community Services Manager Cheryl Voight about the upcoming event as well as a new program that Komen offers.
Shelley Kirk: We are just three days away from a big event in the Tri-State. The first ever “More Than Pink Walk” takes place Sunday morning. It’s replacing the Race for the Cure, but it keeps the same objective, supporting the fight against breast cancer. And joining me now to talk about all this is Komen Evansville Tri-State Executive Director Sheila Seiler and Komen Community Services Manager Cheryl Voight. Thank you both for being here with us, we appreciate that so much. Part of the proceeds from the More Than Pink Walk will go to help folks right here in the Tri-State and there’s a new program that Komen offers that really helps people in some cases where they need it most. Tell us about this new program Cheryl.
Cheryl Voight: Absolutely! It’s a new program and we’re very happy to have this pilot program for the entire Susan G. Komen across the nation. It’s called Komen Cares, we got to name it because we care. And we’re providing care to patients currently in treatment that might be struggling paying their utility bills; we had kind of a hot summer, some of the electric bills have gone up so, we work with some of the electric companies. We don’t want someone going through chemotherapy to have their power turned off. So, we’re able to help them pay their utilities, if they’re short on funds for gasoline to put in their car and get to treatment so, we’re able to help them with gas cards, groceries, eating healthy as we all know can be very expensive. It’s so important while you’re going through chemotherapy. And we talk to patients about that and even help them with that grocery list, sometimes. Just so they’re eating healthy and getting those important nutrients so their body can heal with that treatment.
Shelley Kirk: But this is very important because even if you have insurance, treatment can be very expensive. And we have heard stories about people having to choose paying their utility bill or paying for treatment.
Sheila Seiler: We’ve actually heard stories about women who forgo treatment, postponing it, or canceling it altogether because they just didn’t have the funds to make the co-pays and still keep their lights on. This program will hopefully help them continue their treatment so, they’ll have the outcome we want anyone with breast cancer.
Shelly Kirk: And this has been going on for a couple months, right?
Cheryl Voight: We just started it in June.
Shelley Kirk: So, what kind of impact are you having with it?
Cheryl Voight: It’s been amazing. We’ve had calls from patients who say this call couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re building relationships with our nurse navigators, patient navigators, social workers, with our doctors who know we’re trying to help the patients and if they’re not getting to their treatment – we’re having those conversations – we’re saving lives every single day.
Shelley Kirk: And that’s what Komen does for sure. Now, if someone hears about this and goes, oh I know someone who needs to call you, going through treatment having to make these decisions, how do they get in touch with you and how do they become a part of this program?
Cheryl Voight: They can call our office, but more than likely if they speak with their nurse navigator, because they have the application and they can help them fill it out, complete it and send it directly to us. And then we review it and make sure they meet the qualifications and then we can start whatever they’re requiring.
Shelley Kirk: Perfect. Now, this comes at a great time because we’re going to be talking a lot about that this Sunday morning at the More Than Pink Walk. Are we going to be highlighting this? I mean we’re going to be highlighting all of the services that Komen does.
Sheila Seiler: We are going to be talking about each of the services that Komen does. And we’ll be talking about that during the opening ceremony. So, everybody will get to hear it. Everybody will receive one of these Komen wraps and they represent different things that Komen does throughout the year. So, our opening ceremony will be very interactive this year. Everybody will participate. When you pick up your wrap, it will be pink and during the ceremony they will ask you to turn it around and find out what color you have. And there will be things you’ll do with it throughout the ceremony.25% of what we raise goes straight to research. And even only donating 25% to research, Komen is still the largest private funder of research. We’re second only to the United States Government.
Shelley Kirk: And it’s important for people to know that every major advancement in breast cancer treatment has been touched by Komen – funded by Komen.
Sheila Seiler: Yes, absolutely! And then 75% of what we raise here stays here. And it provides for these services like Komen Care. But it also provides for free mammograms and diagnostic testing and surgery and treatment. So, we are saving lives every day.
Shelley Kirk: Folks at home can be a part of this by coming out on Sunday at Eastland Mall. What time do they need to be there?
Sheila Seiler: Activities open at 8 a.m. the opening ceremony will start at 9:30 a.m.
Shelley Kirk: You can go to the Komen website, or our website to find more information. If you’re not registered yet, come out that morning and register because what you’re doing that day will make a difference right here in the Tri-State.
Registration is $20 for adults and $10 for anyone under 17.
(This story was originally published on September 26, 2019)