“How I pay it forward!”


Toba Essig
In July of 2010 I was diagnosed with stage 3 ductal carcinoma and inflammatory breast cancer, just 2 weeks before we would take our oldest son off to college. I had an appointment with the wonderful doctors at Huntsman and the next day I had my first chemo treatment, just one of many to come. It was a long road to recovery with many surgeries and complications, but now 4 years later I am very happy to say I am healthy and cancer free.

I first became familiar with Susan G. Komen in 2011 when I participated in my first Race for the Cure. I was overcome after finishing the Race and could not get over the number of people who were supporting such an amazing organization, from the walkers to the workers. I knew I had to be involved. Last year I chaired the auction part of the first Pink Friday–Party to Save the Girls! fundraising Gala. I just love the people who work for and volunteer for such an amazing organization. I want to do all I can to continue to support and inform people affected in any way by this horrible disease.




Margaret Moore
My first encounter with the Race for The Cure was back in 1991 or 1992. We were living in Portland Oregon, and I was so impressed with all the strong breast cancer survivors who surrounded me at that massive event on the waterfront. At that time I wasn’t a runner, and completing the 5K course was a pretty big accomplishment. After moving to Salt Lake in 1994, I searched for the race, and I was disappointed that this wonderful event wasn’t on the calendar in my new state. So, when I heard about the Salt Lake event in 1997, I signed up and participated. I joined the race committee not long after that inaugural event at the capitol. Some of my closest friends to this date were at that race committee meeting, and over the subsequent 20 years I have made so many more good friends and have gotten to know scores of amazing people through the Race for the Cure community. When I first started on this journey, I didn’t personally know any breast cancer survivors, but like most of us, that disease would affect all too many of my friends, neighbors, and family members. I began as a non-athlete, and over the years running became a huge part of my life. I love to give back to this community by helping to celebrate survivors, get the word out, and to empower all the participants who go out and join the race. My race committee roles have ranged from volunteer chair and registration chair to race chair. In these recent years I still love to be a part of the Race for the Cure, albeit in a lesser role, and make my small contribution by serving on the race committee and volunteering with site logistics during race week and on race day.




Cheryl Fox
I’ve been volunteering in the community for more than 20 years and have always felt the importance of giving back and helping to make a difference. I participated in the Race for a Cure a couple of times and walked for friends who had breast cancer. I was invited to get more involved with Susan G. Komen Utah when a decision was made to do more fundraising. I had represented Komen at a couple of events and happily accepted the invitation to chair the new Pink Friday—Party to Save the Girls event that was first held last year, that I am also co-chairing this year.

Cancer affects all of us. We all have family members, friends or know someone who has it. I have had family members pass from it and my sister is currently fighting brain cancer. While Susan G. Komen is focused on breast cancer, the research that this organization funds can also help other cancers.

I have met and worked with some amazing women in my short two years with Komen. And what I have found is that we’re not only all connected in fighting for a Cure, but we give each other encouragement and strength.




Alec Jenson
As a senior in high school Alec served as the President of the Jordan HOSA Future Health Professionals chapter where they held breast cancer awareness events. He worked with the Utah affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help educate over 1,700 high school students. His work was showcased on FOX13 news, KSL News, and featured in the Deseret Newspaper. Alec went onto a national competition in Nashville, Tennessee to take third place in an event with over 100 team competitors from all over the country. Alec’s passion and dedication for helping raise funds for Susan G. Komen didn’t stop there.

He was invited to serve on the Race for the Cure committee for the 2013 race where he got several schools and community groups engaged in the event! He was the Volunteer Coordinator assistant and helped keep track of 400 volunteers. Alec is known for his energy and excitement for new projects and creating enthusiasm among participants in any event he is helping produce. Alec was the “flair committee chair” for Komen Utah’s Pink Friday–Party to Save the Girls! He created a cute and fun experience for gala attendees by selling hundreds of pink boas and opportunity tickets raising even more funds to help find a cure. He looks forward to helping with the Emergency Response Team this year at Race for the Cure in 2014. He’d better see you all there!

Alec has family members with breast cancer and is constantly striving to educate the young population on getting screened as well as starting a conversation with family members about breast cancer. He’s a dreamer, leader, and doer. Alec is heavily involved in his community and school. He hopes to be alive the day when the news breaks that they have found a cure for breast cancer.

Let’s reduce 1 in 8.
Let’s have more women live longer.
Let’s start a conversation at a young age.
Let’s work together to create a culture centered around finding a cure.
Give an hour.
Give a dime.
Give it all you’ve got, because you never know when you’re going to be the one in need.
Who knows, you might save a life.
“There is incredible value in being of service to others.” – Elizabeth Author




Carol Cook
My first Race for the Cure was in 2010 just 1 year after I finished my first year of treatments for this devastating disease.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I can tell you I finished this race and left with this feeling that just overwhelmed me.  I couldn’t believe I was part of this group of people that were some of the most compassionate people I have ever known.  There were hundreds of survivors just like myself that ranged from 1 year to 35 years.  I knew at this point I was going to make it through and wanted to do all I could to help Susan G Komen in their mission to end Breast Cancer forever.

I have volunteered at many functions sharing my Fundraising strategies and offering my help and advice for many Team Captains. Last year I put my strategies to the test and served as Team Building Chair, during this time we created a Team Captain toolkit that shared information about Susan G Komen that teams could use to reach beyond their goals.  I am looking forward to 2014 and doing this crazy pink thing again!






Susan Couch
My first experience with Susan G. Komen was back in 1998 when I participated in the second Race for the Cure, in Salt Lake City. At that time my family was participating in the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s breast cancer study, where their team identified the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and there we learned of the upcoming race. After several years of participating in the Race I decided there was a need for me to do more for the Komen organization, so I began to volunteer as often as possible. I have now volunteered in the Race for over ten years, five years at the Bowl for the Cure, helped with numerous other events and served six years on the Affiliate board.  My passion for finding a breast cancer “cure” stems from my mother’s 30 years as a survivor and my aunt’s 35 years. The time spent volunteering with Komen has been extremely rewarding, I have met many absolutely incredible people. It has been an honor to support a charity that is so fiscally responsible. I wish to continue serving and supporting the Susan G. Komen organization until a cure has been found.





Lisa Schneider 
I, along with my family, have been volunteering with Komen since the first race in 1997. My son and daughter began with helping stuff packets when they were ages 5 and 8 respectively and my husband has helped out with whatever needed doing, not the least of which was watching the kids when they were younger while I was doing Komen things. I started with the race, since being a runner that was the only thing I really knew how to do and over the years I got involved in many other areas of the organization: the local board, the national board to mention a couple

I started helping out because I had a friend who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer while she had a 4 year-old at home and honestly, I didn’t know what else to do to help. There is that moment when someone in your life is faced with a very difficult situation and you want to help in any way possible. Since my friend was a much better cook than I, casseroles were out of the question, so the Race for the Cure seemed like the best way to help. My friend defied the odds and survived nearly 10 years after her diagnosis. During that time research advanced and there was always something new to try which I’m sure helped extend her life. With Komen’s model of 75% of money raised staying in our community and 25% of the funds going into research, I feel strongly that it is a model that has and will help breast cancer survivors. So I continue to volunteer because there is still work to be done.



BettyBetty Pittman
Betty has been a breast cancer advocate for many years and we are proud to have her as a volunteer for Susan G. Komen Utah.

Her contributions include: charter member of the Utah Breast Cancer Coalition, instrumental in helping to get the breast cancer stamp approved, spokesperson for Susan G. Komen. Betty has volunteered for the Race for the Cure “since the very beginning.” Betty has helped with a variety of Race-day activities, most recently with volunteer sign-up “bright and early” on Race-day morning. She arrives with a great big smile and a “what can I do to help?” attitude.

Betty chooses to volunteer for Komen because as a 22-year survivor she values the role Komen plays in her local community and in breast cancer research. Betty exemplifies “giving back”!





Gina Bacon
I started volunteering for Susan G. Komen Utah in 2012, two years after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. They called her cancer “aggressive,” which led to a series of painful and aggressive treatments. Thankfully she made it through and is currently cancer free. But, what if she had waited a few more months to get a mammogram? What if she never got one at all? Early detection saved my mother’s life and as hard as her treatment was, we experienced the positive advances breast cancer research has made on treatment and recovery.

Susan G. Komen provides cancer information, research funds, mammograms, and so much more. But, it also provides encouragement and support to cancer victims and their loved ones. This is why I chose to volunteer with them – even though I still cringe thinking about my mom’s cancer, it was time for me to join the fight that Susan G. Komen has been battling for years.

So far I have volunteered at a luncheon, high school football game, and served on the Race for the Cure Committee in 2013. I received a variety of donations for race registration and worked directly with the Race for the Cure sponsors on the day of the event. I will continue volunteering with Komen until the word “cancer” references a disease of the past and amazing organizations like Susan G. Komen will no longer be needed. Until that day, however, I will keep on giving because of how much Komen has given to me, my mom, and thousands of others.




LeeLee Rasmussen
I have been volunteering for Susan G. Komen Utah® for 8 years. I have helped stuff t-shirts and bibs for mailing (yep, they used to be done by volunteers under the Gateway), hang “door hangers,” Volunteer Co-chairperson, and Production Chairperson through the years. As well as volunteering at tables at other special Komen events when possible.

This last year I was on the 2013 Susan G. Komen Utah Race for the Cure Committee and held the position of Experience Chair. My responsibilities included: working with some other great chair people, we organized the entertainment both at the main stage and on the course; Survivor Cafe/Parade; Kid’s Corner; Color Me Rad; Vendors; photo booths; and coordinating with the fantastic local talent at both stages to keep things moving along.  I enjoy volunteering for Komen because I appreciate the commitment Komen has to fund research that will one day end this disease. In addition, money raised is also used here in the state of Utah to help women and families affected by breast cancer.

Cancer has always touched my life, from taking my grandparents before I knew them, to taking my parents before they could really know their grandkids. At 37 I began my own personal fight against breast cancer. I support Komen because I know if we can beat one cancer they will all go down. I want my grandchildren to know a life without cancer.