Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is the world’s largest breast cancer organization and the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer with more than $2.2 billion invested to date. Upper Cumberland Susan G. Komen for the Cure started in 2006 and is an Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The Upper Cumberland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® serves a 14-county area in Middle Tennessee known as the Upper Cumberland region. It includes Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, and White counties. From 2007-2012, $530,000+ has been awarded by the Upper Cumberland Affiliate in community grants to local nonprofit organizations for breast cancer education, screening, and treatment support programs. The Komen Upper Cumberland Affiliate raises funds through events like the annual Susan G. Komen Upper Cumberland Race for the Cure® and annual golf tournament, Tee it up for the Cure®. Seventy-five percent of net proceeds from events stays in each Affiliate area to fund local health programs, and 25 percent goes to research.
Since its inception in 2006, the Affiliate has made a lasting impact in the medical community of the Upper Cumberland region. The Affiliate advocated with the two largest hospitals in the region, Cookeville Regional Medical Center and Cumberland Medical Center, to implement the position of breast cancer nurse navigators. The Affiliate has granted many educational conference grants to educate and certify numerous breast health medical professionals. The Affiliate partners with local health care providers to offer breast health educational material and conducted a Breast Cancer 101 class for educators. The Affiliate is a strong partner in the medical community of the Upper Cumberland region.
The Affiliate has a region-wide strong community outreach presence. The Affiliate has formed a survivor support group called “Bosom Buddies” and a Speakers Bureau that presents breast health presentations to local civic groups, churches, health fairs, and workplaces. The Affiliate is always looking for creative ways to offer breast health education and involve community members as partners in ending breast cancer.
The Affiliate is part of an Advocacy Alliance with the other Komen Affiliates in Tennessee. There are six Affiliates in Tennessee: Greater Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Upper Cumberland, and Tri-Cities. The Alliance meets annually in Nashville and is ready to act on matters of breast health public policy. The Tennessee Affiliates also collaborate on the successful state-wide Komen license plate campaign. Each Komen plate purchased generates a donation to the Affiliate serving the registrants area determined by zip code.