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‘Our mission is to save lives’
breast cancer awareness month.jpg

Editor’s note: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Bryan County News will run a series of stories in each issue this month on efforts to find a cure. Today is a Q&A with Aileen Gabby, executive director of Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia. 

Who was Susan G. Komen?

Susan G. Komen passed away in 1980 at the age of 36 after a three-year battle with breast cancer. Her sister, Nancy Brinker, promised Susan she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. Nancy founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 1982.

What is Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia all about and what role does it play in the search for a cure for breast cancer?

Our mission is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our community and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. Our vision is a world without breast cancer.

In what ways is the organization a beacon of hope for those who have breast cancer?

Improvements in early detection and treatment have led to a 40% decline in breast cancer deaths in the U.S. between 1989-2017, so there is definitely hope.

We still need to keep up the fight because one in eight women will be diagnosed in her lifetime.

What is the 2020 Komen Savannah Virtual Race for the Cure?

Race for the Cure is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we rely on our friends and supporters to help us raise funds toward our lifesaving mission. This year, the event is virtual, of course. It’s being held on Saturday, October 17.

We’re encouraging participants to ‘Race where you are,’ meaning you can enjoy a run or walk right in your own neighborhood. We’re asking folks to share selfies and videos. We’ll host an opening ceremony on our media partner WTOC at 8 a.m. on virtual Race day, with special guests from 7-8 a.m.

What other changes have been made a result of COVID-19?

Like most organizations, we are not hosting large in-person gatherings. We have had several online Zoom activities including talks with physicians and counselors, as well as fun virtual get-togethers to stay connected with our supporters. We have shared with our friends that breast cancer hasn’t stopped during the pandemic, so neither can we.

What is a fundraising team and can someone start one in the Bryan County area?

For our Race for the Cure, teams are a great way to participate. A team captain will register at and enlist friends and family to also register. They set a fundraising goal and ask for support. We would love participation from our friends in Bryan County!

Are only cash donations accepted for those who want to give?

Most gifts come in through our website online, which is easy and convenient at www.komencoastalgeorgia. org. We are also happy to take credit card donations over the phone at 912-232-2535. We can also accept cash and checks at our office from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekdays at 7505 Waters Avenue, A10, Savannah 31405. Checks can also be mailed to us. We want to make it easy to give and all donations are tax deductible.

What would you say to someone who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer?

We want survivors to know they are not alone. There are many resources for survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer. In addition to providing resources, we also have two wonderful volunteer survivor ambassadors who are available to speak with those newly -diagnosed about what to expect and to provide emotional support. We’re just a phone call away at 912-232-2535.

Folks can also visit our site at, or email us at

SEE OUR RELATED STORY: Food for thought: Breast cancer and nutrition

Aileen Gabbt
Aileen Gabby is executive director of Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia. Photo provided.
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