Al Malzewski – 3 Miles of Men Chair

In last year’s blog post, I said cancer has a way of changing things. This past year has proven to me that even the fear of cancer can change things almost as much.

Two years ago, in late October 2012, my mother-in-law AND her sister both saw suspicious spots on their mammograms on the very same day. In an instant, my family went from one of normal risk for breast cancer to one of much higher risk. For me, my wife, and our two young daughters, the impact was dramatic, and life altering. I support the Arkansas Race for the Cure because 25 percent of all Race proceeds goes to fund national breast cancer research. The other 75 percent goes to help educate and provide mammograms and screening right here in Arkansas. From that research, a tremendous amount has been learned about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which is now a part of my family, and a huge concern for the future. This past year, my wife earned the label of previvor. Just like Angelina Jolie did in February 2013 when she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene, my wife chose to have preventative surgery to reduce her risk of getting best cancer from 87 percent to less than 5 percent. It was an incredibly difficult decision, but her courage and determination to stand up to breast cancer has been extremely inspiring and brave. I hope that we can find a cure for breast cancer before my two young daughters ever have to look in the mirror and decide to stand up to breast cancer and fight for their lives.

I got involved with the 3 Miles of Men committee five years ago because the Arkansas Race for the Cure is an amazing event with an enormous impact on the state. Six races later, it has never disappointed!

On Race morning I will be at the 3 Miles of Men headquarters near the Capitol Smokehouse and Grill. On this amazing morning, 35,000 participants will cheer and support each and every survivor, celebrate and energize their battles against breast cancer, and encourage their family and friends who support and honor them each and every day. As members of 3 Miles of Men, guys will be cheering along the race route as well as running and walking with the tens of thousands of women who come downtown year after year. As an added bonus, all 3 Miles of Men participants can bring along a registered race guest with them to our special Tailgate Party at Diamond Bear Brewery on Thursday, Sept. 25 from 5-7pm. Join us for free beverages and Larry’s pizza, as well as music, lots of great prizes to giveaway, and lots of fun – all part of your 3 Miles of Men registration!

Please join me and the rest of Arkansas for this very special event, and help us find a cure! Register today at KomenArkansas.org and show your support. I’m going to move. be moved. Will you?

Al Malzewski
Chair of the 3 Miles of Men

Pasta Party

Obviously, the Race for the Cure is what this is all about. Race day and the RACE itself. But, I want to spend a little time telling you about some of the events surrounding the Race that the Komen Arkansas Affiliate is responsible for bringing to life. After you’ve registered for the Race, consider some of these events that are BIG FUN.
I’ll devote this post to my personal favorite (it also happens to be the one I’ve helped put on the past several years).
I submit that more FUN cannot be had for $25 than the Pasta Party. It takes place the night before the Race and, this year, has moved back to its original home in the Rivermarket Pavilions. It is not an exaggeration to say that the chicken spaghetti that Brenda Majors makes is THE best on the planet. Not only have I now stopped even making the dish myownself, I admitted to my MOTHER that the Pasta Party version puts hers to shame. Brenda cooks up a couple of other options, including one for vegetarians. If you choose to have an adult beverage with your pasta, you can have all the beer and wine you’d like. (Assuming you don’t act out beyond the limits of the law and respect of others. )
And, we’re just getting started! Famed local band The Rockets play our event EVERY year, and they’ve done so since Race/Pasta Party number 1! We leave room for those who so choose to shake what their mama gave ‘em along to the tunes. Where else can you get a live band, dancing, dinner, and unlimited drinks for $25??
Another fun thing about the Pasta Party is the silent auction. As with every fundraising activity we host, ALL proceeds go to the Komen Arkansas Affiliate. We have some really special auction items this year. It’s worth coming out to score one of these items or activities. A few examples of what has been kindly donated include: a scotch tasting by John Mills (value $650), a custom handbag and clutch, tour of the P. Allen Smith farm, paintings, spa certificates, Botox, and birthday parties. We’re so fortunate that local businesses have been willing to give us such a fabulous list of pretties!
If you’ve decided that you and your friends HAVE to check out the Pasta Party this year, there are multiple ways to get your ticket. When registering for the Race online, you an add a Pasta Party ticket. It will come in the mail with your t-shirt. If it’s after September 18 (last day to register online and receive your shirt by mail), stop by the Race Space. Starting on September 19th, we’ll be open for business on Pleasant Ridge Road (across from Santo Coyote)! Come register there and get your t-shirt and Pasta Party ticket on the spot. OR, you may pay your $25 at the door.
I hope to see lots of you at the Pasta Party this year! You’re going to LOVE it!

Ashley
Race Chair 2014

T-shirts are here!

I can’t believe it, but we are in our warehouse space and the Race t-shirts arrived THIS MORNING! We’ll post a photo of them on Facebook, and I’ll be wearing it on Channel 7’s Daybreak tomorrow morning. I can’t wait for you to see them!
When will you get yours, you ask? If you have already registered, you’ll probably get it in just a handful of days. Our first group will go out NEXT WEEK! If you haven’t registered, be sure to do so soon. The earlier you register, the earlier you can show off your shirt!
Don’t forget to come party with us on Sunday afternoon. We’ll be at the Promenade at Chenal from 2-4 on the 24th. There will be music, food, and fun. The little train will be running for the kids, and you can register for ONLY $20. This is the only time we offer a discount on registration each year, so don’t miss out! I hope to see everyone there! Wear your party pants!

Love,
Ashley
2014 Race Chair

You betta’ CHECK yourself, before you wreck yourself!

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Ladies!  Did you know there is new and more extensive information available on doing your own self breast checks?  There is!  It can be found at komenarkansas.org.  And did you know that you do not have to be 40, or even 30, to have breast cancer?  You don’t.  Just ask Devon Hale and Lindsey Hale Bender, this year’s Honorary Survivors.  We KNOW that finding breast cancer early leads to a 99% survival rate for five years.  So, why aren’t we getting our annual mammograms?  Why aren’t we taking a few minutes to learn how to check ourselves, and then doing it regularly?

We have lots of great excuses.  I don’t have time, I can’t get away from work, I don’t have a babysitter for the kids, I can’t afford it, I’m afraid of what I’ll find,  I can always do it next month, I’ll wait until my next dentist appointment, the moon isn’t in the right phase . . . . . .  We can always think of an excuse.  But are the excuses worth the risk of not doing it?  ALL women (and not just women) are at risk.  ALL OF US.  Breast cancer knows no ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic boundaries.  But, with regular checks and mammograms, we’ll find it early.  And we’ll have a 99% chance or surviving it.  

I’m writing this particular blog post because I’ve been volunteering with Komen for 8 years, but I only recently started checking myself regularly.  My grandmother had breast cancer for pete’s sake!  And I had a breast biopsy (benign) when I was 25.  Plus, I’m volunteering for Susan stinking Komen and raising money for breast cancer research!  What was I waiting for?!  If I wasn’t informed enough to do it, how many people are??  

Now, I know what is normal for me.  I know how to check for changes in my own breasts.  And I feel more confident in, not only my health, but my ability to take charge and take care of myownself.  And, I want to say out loud that, I wasn’t doing it either.  I talked about it.  But I didn’t DO it.  Please don’t risk your health any longer.  Learn how to check yourownself at komenarkansas.org.  And get your mammograms.  Every year!  I mean, do you know where breast cancer would stand if we paid as much attention to our breasts as men pay to them?!  I can assure you we’d be finding it early!  And we’d be SURVIVING!  

You’re all princesses,

Ashley – Race Chair 2014

Allow me to introduce myself

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In my first blog post, I said I would tell you more about myself.  So, in case you’re curious about how I ended up being the 2014 Race Chair, here goes.

I joined the Race Committee eight years ago as a volunteer on Ann Brown’s Pasta Party committee. Ann was my boss at work, but that didn’t stop her from telling me what to do outside of work sometimes, too!  Errin Dean was Race Chair that year, and I was really touched by the story of her involvement with Komen.  

Two years later, I found myself heading up the Pasta Party committee.  Despite the fact that Ann, my mentor at work and in Komen volunteering, became Race Chair, it never occurred to me that I one day would.  I loved the Pasta Party.  And it became a family affair for us.  Days before the event, my parents swooped into town.  My Dad didn’t leave my side for two days, helping with anything I needed.  He’s really the best assistant ever.  And, I couldn’t have been doing Pasta Party work for two straight days if my Momma hadn’t been willing to keep my babies the entire time.  Two different years, there were 6 and 8 week old babies with whom to contend.  On Pasta Party day, my husband left his incredibly busy work to be my second assistant until well after the party ended.  My efforts would not have been possible, and certainly not continued through the years, if it weren’t for these three people.  And, as you can see in this photo of my parents right after the Race one year, I wasn’t always easy on them. 

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I am not a breast cancer survivor.  My grandmother was, prior to passing away from other causes.  Another woman who taught me a few things (whether she knows it or not), is a survivor.  Jo Ann Anderson has absolutely the best attitude, about life and tennis playing, that a person could have.  She taught me that you can have fun playing even if you lose on the court.  And, that you can speak your mind but still be a caring person.  She’s simply good stuff.  And a person I’ll always admire.  I do this for them.  And because I hope that, before my daughter needs to do self breast checks, there will be a cure.  And in hopes that my sisters and I are not faced with the battle Errin Dean fought alongside her sister.  I do not imagine I would have the strength and grace she displays when sharing her story.

I’m still convinced Ellen Kreth called the wrong number when she asked me if I would be willing to serve as Race Chair.  But I’m SO thankful she did!  It has been quite a ride so far, and I am having trouble believing we are something like 54 days away from the 2014 Race for the Cure.  I hope to see you all there on October 4, to celebrate the women who have survived, those who lost their fight, and those whose future fight might affect us.  We must continue to MOVE.  BE MOVED, and keep working toward a cure!  

Wear your invisible crown today (or your real one)!  You’re all princesses to me!

Ashley – 2014 Race Chair

The THEME for this year . . .

Y’all!  I thought we were saving the Race theme for this year to announce at our annual press conference.  Then, I saw it on Facebook!  So, I wanted to make MY official announcement here.  Because here, I can explain how I described my feelings about the race.  And how Thoma Thoma turned those into our THEME.  Here you go . . .
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Chairing the Pasta Party for so many years, I was one of few on the Race Committee who got to experience the race like everyone else.  I didn’t “work” that morning.  I came downtown with my family and friends, just like all of you.  And I’ve always found the experience intensely moving.  Whether you are a survivor, or have no family history of breast cancer, being downtown is powerful.  It is 40,000 people (many of whom are women) coming together in support.  When you sign up, you think you are supporting a charity.  A good cause.  But on Race morning, you are supporting people.  You are there with the survivors and their families.  They are easy to pick out, in their pink shirts. Some of them wear signs saying they are 20 year survivors, and some are bald and you know they are in the midst of their fight.  And you see the people who are fighting along side them.  They hold her hand, or their group dresses the same.  They wear a shirt with her name, or they just walk alongside her.  You know she isn’t fighting alone.  And you hope that, God forbid you find yourself in her shoes, you will also have people fighting with you.

The energy generated surrounding this event is palpable.  Anyone exposed to it cannot help but BE MOVED.  MOVE. speaks to the action and foresight  that will inspire the work that remains to be done.  In 20 years, Arkansas has come a long way.  But there is much work to be done.  And we need to keep moving, keep working, and keep fighting.

Ashley Hurst – Race Chair 2014

Registration is OPEN!

I’m Ashley Hurst. As this year’s Race Chair, I’d like to be the first to officially welcome you to Race season! For me, Race season begins when we can start to sign up to support this great cause. When we get to register to be in downtown Little Rock, on a Saturday morning in October, and feel the incomparable energy that our Race for the Cure generates. It’s one of the most amazing and emotional things I’ve ever experienced, and I hope you’ll be there with me on October 4, 2014.

I’m going to share lots of new things with all of you in the weeks to come. I’ll introduce myself further, tell you about my family, share the theme for this Race, and fill you in on the exciting changes for this year. I’ll share photos and logos and all kinds of fun stuff.

For today, I want to encourage you to register. I can’t show you this year’s RACE SHIRT YET, but I can tell you it’s a completely new design. I can also say that mailing out of Race packets will begin in late August. Register by then to be one of the first in the state of Arkansas to get your shirt!

Ashley Hurst – 2014 Race Chair