OCEAN CITY – On April 22, 2012 Susan G. Komen will be holding its Race for the Cure for the first time in Ocean City.
During a press conference on Tuesday morning, Komen officials and Mayor Rick Meehan expressed their excitement in having the event held here in town.
Susan G. Komen of Maryland Executive Director and Emcee Robin Prothro said that Komen Maryland will celebrate its 20th year in 2012. She added that the organization is the only in the world that is solely devoted to the ratification of breast cancer.
“We are really proud of the work we have done all over the state of Maryland,” Prothro said.
She said that since its inception Komen of Maryland has given over $35 million to the state of Maryland directly in support of screening, treatment and programs. Over the last two years, more than $2.5 million has been specifically to the Eastern Shore.
“Having the Race for the Cure on the Eastern Shore will allow us to reach people very specifically and directly on the Eastern Shore as well as we hope to bring people from all over the state to this wonderful vacation land,” Prothro said.
Komen of Maryland will also be having a Race for the Cure in Hunt Valley on Sunday, Oct. 23 of this year.
Mayor Rick Meehan said that it is an honor that Ocean City was chosen as a location for the Race for the Cure.
“The fact that you will be able to hold this event on the Boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean … will make this a particularly desirable location,” the mayor said.
Meehan said that what the Komen organization has done to raise the funds to combat the disease and ratification of the disease goes beyond the words of thank you. He added that Ocean City businesses are excited to be part of such a great cause.
“It is an honor for Ocean City to be part of such a strong national movement to fight breast cancer,” Meehan said. “We look forward to you being here in April of 2012. We look forward to supporting your efforts and we look to that day as well.”
“The welcome that we have had in Ocean City really has been enthusiastic and we have been well received,” Prothro added. “It’s been wonderful and it was a very tough competition. We did look all over the Eastern Shore and everybody wanted us which was wonderful but obviously Ocean City won out.”
Dr. Susan Forlifer of Comprehensive Breast Health in Easton is a breast surgeon. According to Prothro, she has been involved with the grant side of the organization for a number of years and in 2009 she was one of the organization’s esteemed recipients of the Promise of One award is given to only two individuals a year.
“I think this is a wonderful destination because it is going to be on the Boardwalk, but you’re only going to be able to host it for 10 years because I think we will be able to find a cure by then,” Forlifer said.
She explained that it is a goal of the Komen of Maryland to provide easy access to state-of-the-art care on this side of the bay.
“We found it sometimes took six weeks from the time a woman found a lump until she had a diagnosis and was on the road to treatment,” Forlifer said.
Komen of Maryland has also realized that it is difficult for woman on the shore who has had a diagnosis to receive counseling, surgery or follow-ups because the closest care provided is in Baltimore or Washington D.C.
“We realized quickly that if you build it they will come doesn’t apply quite so easily to rural areas because of the distances people have to travel, the lack of information, and the lack of specialists,” Forlifer said.
She said the Eastern Shore is a special place and fortunately Komen of Maryland seems to agree. In the mid-shore, Komen applied to receive grants to do outreach specifically to under-insured and the African American and Latina populations reaching out through churches, social groups, senior centers, libraries and work places.
She added that approximately 1,200 women have been helped to get screening and care using the Komen grants establishing a pattern the organization hopes to continue throughout their lives.
“Komen Maryland has also helped to get women clinical trials which are the front line of breast cancer research available in our rural counties,” Forlifer said. “The lower shore has also had grants ongoing that provide for screening and help women with breast cancer during their surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.”
Forlifer said she has been involved with breast cancer since 1976 and at that time screening was poor, detection was late and every woman with breast cancer had a mastectomy. Now, 83 percent of breast cancer in the Easton area is picked up as an early stage cancer.
“Komen of Maryland is dedicated to saving the women and men diagnosed with breast cancer, they are great fundraisers, and they are great administrators … and that’s why bringing the new Race for the Cure to Ocean City to raise money and awareness on the shore is so exciting,” Forlifer said.