Komen San Diego Hosts Annual Fundraiser to Benefit Local Services

Created: 17 March, 2018
Last update: 27 July, 2022

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Susan G. Komen San Diego, breast cancer, fundraiser,
Maria Menounos, journalist and brain tumor survivor, spoke to attendees of Susan G. Komen San Diego’s “Screens, Genes, and the Choices we Make” fundraising event on Wednesday, March 14. (Andrea Lopez-Villafana/LaPrensa San Diego)

In a room filled with doctors, survivors, and leaders, San Diegans had the opportunity to learn about the latest advancements in breast cancer research on Wednesday, March 14.

Susan G. Komen San Diego held its fourth annual fundraising dinner, “Screens, Genes and the Choices we Make,” at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

Hosted by Emmy award-winning journalist and brain tumor survivor Maria Menounos, the event was in benefit of the local organization, which provides free breast cancer services and support to women in San Diego.

Karla Lopez, office and outreach coordinator for Komen San Diego, said funds raised will benefit local breast health services, like mammograms, diagnostic testing, to temporary financial aid.

“Sometimes when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, they can’t work because of the treatment, so they may lose their job or go on disability and they can’t afford to pay their utility bills or their rent so that’s when Komen steps in to help with that barrier,” Lopez said.

This year, and with an attendance of about 350 people, the organization raised $185,000. The dinner is Susan G. Komen San Diego’s largest fundraising event aside from Race for the Cure.

Like many in the crowd and the speakers at the event, Lopez’s life was touched by the disease when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer before she began working for the organization.

Her sister was able to receive a free mammogram through Komen services, she said.

“I decided to become an advocate for Komen and spread the word to friends and family of what Komen does and that’s my way of giving back to the community and Komen,” Lopez said.

Shaina Gross, President & CEO, Susan G. Komen San Diego; Dana Alligood, Bank of America; Maria Menounos; Krista Torquato, Bank of America; and Brion Murray, Pfizer
(Left to right) Shaina Gross, President & CEO, Susan G. Komen San Diego; Dana Alligood, Bank of America; Maria Menounos; Krista Torquato, Bank of America; and Brion Murray, Pfizer (Photo by Carlo Toribio/Susan G. Women San Diego)

Dr. Brion W. Murray, research fellow at Pfizer Oncology and breast cancer expert, shared laughs with the audience as he explained some of his latest research, which was inspired by his wife who is a breast cancer survivor.

According to Shaina Gross, CEO and president of Komen San Diego, the organization has given over $120,000 in financial assistance, 3,500 people have received free mammograms and Komen San Diego has paid for 20,000 diagnostic services.

“We are elevating the women and men directly impacted,” she said on the work that the organization does.

Menounos shared the challenges she faced and her experience with being diagnosed with a brain tumor and seeing her mom go through brain cancer.

She encourage members of the audience, especially women, to take time to care for themselves and their heath.

“As women we have to focus more on ourselves and our needs,” Menounos said.

The dinner was presented by Bank of America and sponsored by Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Ace Parking Management Inc., Business Complete Solutions, Torrey Pines Bank, and Allegra.