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New ad campaign and Komen race raise awareness of, funds to fight breast cancer

October 14th, 2013 9:05 am by Leigh Ann Laube

New ad campaign and Komen race raise awareness of, funds to fight breast cancer

The staff at Wellmont Oncology were among those who participated in the “Do You Tutu?” ad campaign backed by Susan G. Komen Tri-Cities. Courtesy of Wellmont.

Do you tutu? It’s a purposely ambiguous question that drew a lot of attention to billboards and bumper stickers throughout the Tri-Cities in September.

If you knew that Susan G. Komen Tri-Cities was behind the campaign, you knew what it was really asking was “Do you support Komen’s mission and promise?” and “Do you support breast cancer survivors and the Komen Tri-Cities Race for the Cure?”

The Do You Tutu? campaign was started by a Komen affiliate in Florida and was brought to the Tri-Cities in response to past Race for the Cure participants who showed up to run or walk in pink tutus. The campaign asked simply that you don a pink tutu and pose for the camera to support the launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the 2013 Race for the Cure.

“It’s a fun way to talk about a serious subject,” said Cheryl Youland, Komen Tri-Cities executive director. “I suspect that we are going to have a lot of tutus at the race this year.”

Susan G. Komen’s biggest fund-raiser is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Race for the Cure Tri-Cities will be held beginning at 3 p.m., Oct. 20, at Memorial Park across from J. Fred Johnson Stadium in Kingsport.

“This is our signature fund-raiser,” Youland said. “This is where we raise the money to do what we do.”

What Komen Tri-Cities does is donate up to 75 percent of its net income to fund grants to local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast cancer health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs for medically under-served women in the 23 counties it serves in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and North Carolina.

The remaining 25 percent supports the national Komen Grants Program which, in August, announced $4.5 million in new research grants specifically aimed at understanding the role that the environment may play in breast cancer development. The grants are part of Komen’s $42 million 2013 research portfolio, which includes nearly $4 million in new funding to researchers at two North Carolina institutions and $750,000 in new funding to researchers at Vanderbilt U n i v e r s i t y.

The new environment grants will build on research that Komen has already funded to more fully understand the role of toxins and other environmental factors that may contribute to breast c a n c e r.

“Komen funded almost $5 million in new research grants this year at tri-state institutions, bringing our total investment in research here to more than $58 million since 1982. Komen’s approach is to fund research along the entire cancer continuum. We’re looking for scientifically proven ways to prevent the disease, detect it earlier and treat it more effectively, especially metastatic forms of the disease,” said Ava Danner, a regional support manager at Komen’s Dallas, Texas, headquarters.

“We also want to understand and eliminate barriers to care that make breast cancer outcomes worse in women of color and the medically under-served. The granting we’re doing in the three states reflects our approach. We’re funding environmental grants at Duke, and treatment and early detection research at Vanderbilt, Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We’re especially pleased that we’re funding Phase III of the Carolinas Breast Cancer Study, which is looking at how treatment decisions, access to care, and financial or geographic barriers affect breast cancer outcomes in African

The Tri-Cities Race for the Cure festivities will begin at 11 a.m. The Kids’ Dash is set for 1 p.m., with the Kids’ Mile for the Cure at 1:30 p.m. A survivor celebration will be held at 2 p.m., with the 5K start at 3 p.m. Awards will be given for top male and female masters; top male and female grand masters; top three overall male and female breast cancer survivors; and top three male and female finishers in each age division.

Online registration for the Race for the Cure is available at . Deadline for online registration is 11 p.m., Oct. 15. Mail-in registrations must be received by Oct. 15. Registration will also be available on the day of the race.

For more information about Komen Tri-Cities, Race for the Cure and race fees, call 765-9313 or visit

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