Giving Back

Behind the Pink: Susan G. Komen of North Jersey

d3747d9322a95dca0aad_DSC_0004.jpg
Kristin Wenger, Vice President, Susan G. Komen North Jersey Board of Trustees. Credits: Jonathan Sym
32a159bbc0b77822e666_DSC_0007.jpg
Kelly Witkowski, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen North Jersey Credits: Jonathan Sym
d3747d9322a95dca0aad_DSC_0004.jpg

SUMMIT, NJ – When Kristin Wenger learned she had breast cancer, her first reaction was denial.

Wenger, vice president of Susan G. Komen North Jersey's board of trustees, didn’t come from a family with a history of cancer. She felt healthy. She felt breast cancer was something that happened to other people.

“When I was diagnosed in 2004, I was totally overwhelmed,” said Wenger “Not having been sick much of my life and to suddenly be diagnosed with cancer was shocking.”

Sign Up for E-News

Wenger’s initial reaction to noticing a lump in her breast was to pretend it was nothing. She said she waited a week before going to a doctor. And her reaction, when she was diagnosed, was, “Let’s get this out of my body,” she said.

Thinking back on those days, Wenger said she now realizes she didn’t know her options. A friend convinced her to contact someone at Komen North Jersey and, when she did, Wenger found a caring and knowledgeable voice, someone who provided her with guidance, choices and support, she said. 

Wenger eventually chose surgery. She said she will never forget how grateful she felt when, upon her return home, she got a call from Komen. Her counselor wanted to check on her. 

“She had no idea I was having surgery that day, it was so coincidental,” said Wenger, who still gets emotional when she recounts the story. “For someone to take the time to call me was ...” She was at a loss for words.

Wenger wanted to give back.  She participated in Komen races, volunteered at its offices in Princeton and eventually joined the board.

In doing so, Wenger became an important part of the world’s largest breast cancer advocacy group and the largest non-profit funder of breast cancer research in the United States. The organization says it has invested more than $2.8 billion in research and community programs since 1982.

“The most important thing we can do … is education,” said Kelly Witkowski, who, in October became the executive director of Susan G. Komen North Jersey. “We want to reach out to our communities to let them know what Komen is doing, what resources are we offer and most importantly raise awareness of breast cancer and breast health.”

Since 1997, Komen North Jersey has invested more than $16 million in local community breast health programs in nine northern New Jersey counties and contributed more than $7 million in global research, said Witkowski.

Additionally, Komen North Jersey provides community health programs, grants and funds life-saving research, she said, noting that up to 75 percent of all money raised is spent locally. The balance supports Komen’s national research programs.

From its offices in Summit, Komen North Jersey serves Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.

Its efforts provide hope and a way for people to stand up against a disease that, each year, kills about 425,000 women around the world and about 40,000 in the United States.

In the U.S., one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to Komen. It says there are 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer and 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women with no family history of the disease. 

Although their chance of contracting breast cancer is far less than it is for women, men are not immune, warns the organization.  A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about one in 1,000.

Despite all the attention, expanded screening programs and funding, breast cancer incidence and mortality have not changed significantly. Even with the increase in early detection the benefits have been marginal. 

But breast cancer advocacy, such as that being provided by Susan G. Komen North Jersey, has helped change the breast cancer research agenda, drug approval processes, the health care system and legislation.

For more information on Komen North Jersey, please visit www.komennorthjersey.org.

TAPinto.net is the official media sponsor for Susan. G. Komen North Jersey's PINK TIE AFFAIR event.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

Vets4Warriors Gives Struggling Veterans a Lifeline

February 18, 2018

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran who’s currently enlisted as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US ...

South Brunswick: Volunteer Soccer Coach Charged With Possessing And Distributing Child Pornography

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – A volunteer youth soccer coach and former Sunday school teacher is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, officials said Thursday.

FBI agents and local law enforcement arrested Waldo Milla-Guerra, 49, at his Kendall Park home Thursday morning after executing a search warrant, officials said.

Milla-Guerra, a volunteer soccer coach with the ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...

Giving Back: Learn How to Help Victims of Sexual Violence

February 22, 2018

Every year since 1984, trained volunteers with the Union County Rape Crisis Center have helped victims of sexual violence through the emotional, medical and legal aftermath of trauma. New volunteers are welcome to join the next series of training classes beginning on Thursday, March 22.

No previous experience in crisis counseling is necessary.

“Over the years our Rape Crisis Center ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, March 4, 3:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Staatskapelle Weimar

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 7, 2:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Arts & Entertainment

East Brunswick Public Library Holds South Asian Community Day of Wellness

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ— On Saturday, March 3, Cancer Support Community Central NJ Jersey (CSCCNJ) will be hosting a Day of Wellness at the East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center, ). This program is part of CSCCNJ’s South Asian outreach initiative, which is made possible by the Shri Krishna Nidhi (SKN) Foundation.

The Day of Wellness is being offered at no ...

Library Hosts Program On Joint Replacement Surgery

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital partner to present the special medical program “Considering Total Joint Replacement in 2018” at the library on Tuesday, March 6 at 7 pm.

Lead by board certified orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Kayiaros, the program gives a brief overview of arthritis of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

EBPD: Safeguarding Students, Staff, and Residents in the Public Schools

February 20, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The East Brunswick Police Department, in cooperation with the East Brunswick Board of Education, will be assisting the school security staff by providing police officers at our township public schools. It is the goal of the East Brunswick Police Department and the East Brunswick Board of Education to safeguard our students, staff and residents at our schools on a daily basis ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...