Although the symbol of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a small pink ribbon, it represents a powerhouse of breast-cancer research and education. The rallying cry of "I am the cure" represents the foundation's multifaceted approach to fighting the disease, which focuses on community outreach, public perception of the disease, and funding for scientific research. Susan G. Komen for the Cure's work has helped increase early detection, survival rates, and federal funding of groundbreaking breast-cancer research.
Beyond its signature pink ribbon–bedecked merchandise, the Race for the Cure is the centerpiece of the foundation's fundraising and outreach efforts. Originally an 800-person charity race in Dallas, Race for the Cure has blossomed into a series of more than 150 races worldwide, which collectively host more than 1.7 million participants annually. Marathoners, runners, and walkers alike collect sponsorship donations from friends and family as they tackle races of varying lengths, wearing personalized signs on their backs to honor the breast-cancer victims and survivors in their lives. To date, Race for the Cure has raised more than $1.9 billion to support Komen initiatives. The Northeast Ohio affiliate serves 22 counties, and 75% of its net funds earned stay within the area, while the remaining 25% go to global research.
Connections: Health.Wellness.Advocacy delivers a comprehensive array of behavioral health care services that promote a high quality of life among more than 6,000 individuals in the region. The organization targets people's needs in a culturally competent manner with necessary programs in psychiatric support, deaf and hard-of-hearing services, geriatrics, perinatal services, and pharmacological management. Connections has recently worked to improve the health care infrastructure in the region through a variety of projects, including the construction of a new primary-care clinic in Beachwood and a cloud-based medical-record system.
Established in 1985, the Ronald McDonald House of Akron serves as a home away from home for families with children hospitalized at the nearby Akron Children’s Hospital. With amenities that include private rooms and bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and free laundry facilities and indoor and outdoor play areas, the house serves as a comfortable respite where families can rest and recuperate after emotionally draining hospital visits. Most importantly, it ensures that parents can remain close to their hospitalized child and focus on the child’s care rather than where they can afford to stay or get meals. Although guests are asked to donate $10 per night, no families are ever turned away due to an inability to pay. Housing costs are largely funded by community donations and fundraising efforts.
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The Girls' Night In sleepover program is a project of the Youth Connections program that fosters a sense of normalcy for youth in the public child-welfare system, who are only legally allowed to spend the night with county-approved foster parents. Girls ages 14–18 arrive at the Adoption Network Cleveland offices for a night of activities, during which they can get to know each other through icebreakers, talk to volunteers about personal concerns such as healthy relationships, and experience traditional sleepover activities including facials, movies, and games. At the end of the sleepover, ANC will distribute personal-care items including shampoo and conditioner, body wash and lotion, nail polish, toothpaste, a brush and comb, and lip balm. ANC will also provide pizza, fruit, and desserts for the girls to snack on throughout the night.