Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $800 million in research and provided more than $1.6 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life.

Komen Colorado South Affiliate history

Carol Kelly, Nancy Brinker, Mitzi Fideler
Susan G. Komen® is an organization dedicated to saving lives and ending breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.   The Colorado South Affiliate is one of a network of 120 Affiliates globally that support this vision.

Our Affiliate was founded in 1994 through the tireless efforts of Mitzi Fideler, now a 25-year breast cancer survivor. Fideler had just retired when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She never wasted time figuring out why she was stricken; rather, she used her energy and zest for life to fight the disease and spread the word that it is beatable.

After attending the Aspen Race for the Cure® in 1992, Fideler was determined to bring the Race for the Cure® to Colorado Springs.  She and her close friend Carol Kelly met with John Stapleton and Chris Anderson from the Gazette newspaper to seek the sponsorship resources necessary to get the Colorado Springs Affiliate off the ground.  John and Chris enthusiastically supported the efforts to make Susan G. Komen of Colorado Springs a reality.

Together Mitzi, Carol, John, Chris and a small group of passionate volunteers made the first Race for the Cure happen on August 26, 1995, at North Monument Valley Park.   The organizers were told by the Colorado Springs racing community and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to expect no more than 500 participants.  Through hard work and great passion for this cause, the team welcomed more than 1,500 people to the first Race and raised $103,000 to fight breast cancer.  Until they moved to California, Chris and his wife Althea remained involved with the Colorado Springs Race for the Cure® for many years and they continued to raise money to fight this terrible disease.  Carol Kelley, unfortunately, lost her battle with breast cancer in 2005, but was able to see the Affiliate established and participate in the inaugural Race for the Cure® in Colorado Springs.  She participated in the Race every year until 2004.

September 7, 2014, marked the 20th year of the Race for the Cure® in Colorado Springs. In 2014 the Affiliate name changed to Komen Colorado South to reflect our expanded service area. Since the first Race, our Affiliate has raised more than $6 million through fundraising, donations, and special events.  Approximately $5.4 million in grant awards have been distributed throughout El Paso, Pueblo, and Teller counties from money raised by the Susan G. Komen Colorado South Affiliate. We hope to provide grants in the near future to our extended counties of Alamosa, Baca, Bent, Chaffee, Costilla, Crowley, Fremont, Huerfano, Las Animas, Otero, and Prowers.

Each year the Colorado South Affiliate, a 501 (c) 3 organization, awards grants to non-profit organizations that provide breast health/breast cancer screening, treatment support, and education to the medically uninsured, underinsured, or at-risk populations.  The Colorado South Affiliate of Susan G. Komen is proud to distribute 75% of the net proceeds from fundraising to this 14-county service area with the remaining 25% of funds raised going to support breast cancer research through the national Susan G. Komen organization.

To ensure all funds raised have the greatest impact, the Colorado South Affiliate conducts a bi-annual community profile to establish funding priorities that address identified breast health needs in the community. A request for proposals is publicized on the Affiliate website and through various community and media outlets.  Community representatives, local breast health professionals, and breast cancer survivors evaluate the merit of all proposals based on an objective grant review process to determine those that best serve the community’s identified needs and then select the most qualified applicants for funding.

The Board of Directors and staff for Susan G. Komen Colorado South firmly believe in the value of volunteer involvement throughout the organization. Community volunteers and supporters enable the Affiliate to fulfill the mission and reach organizational goals while keeping operation costs low, thus maximizing dollars raised. Volunteers help with fundraising, special events, assist in the office, serve as spokespersons for the Affiliate, share their expertise as members of the Board of Directors and committees, and serve as advocates. Komen volunteers help to strengthen the organization’s existing programs, add new programs, procure funds and resources, add specialized skills and talents, and increase public awareness.

To learn more about the Colorado South Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, go to www.komencoloradosouth.org.