Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth is expanding its presence in Northeast Tarrant County with a new task force designed to increase participation in the breast cancer awareness organization’s activities in the area.The Northeast Tarrant County Taskforce is part of Komen’s mission to help breast cancer patients and survivors cope with the disease and to stay educated and aware about advances in diagnosis and treatment, said Craig Schaefer,Komen Greater Fort Worth executive director.Schaefer said the Greater Fort Worth affiliate is trying to improve its visibility in all of Tarrant County, but that this task force would mean increased outreach toward the Northeast area where, he said, a greater presence is needed.“The greater Northeast Tarrant County area makes up almost a third of Tarrant County as a whole, yet there is not even a third of participation in Komen organizations,” he said. “Maybe 10 percent.”The organzation said it is looking for volunteers from Keller, Southlake, Colleyville, North Richland Hills, Trophy Club, Grapevine and the Hurst, Euless, Bedford areas to be on the task force.Schaefer said he believes the Northeast area tends to align with Dallas more than Fort Worth, so he wants the task force to get residents more involved in the Greater Fort Worth organization.Development and Marketing Director Alisha Hudman said the Greater Fort Worth affiliate does an extensive community profile every three years to find where the greatest needs are within the four-county service area of Tarrant, Parker, Johnson and Hood counties.She said Northeast Tarrant County could benefit from increased events, grant funding and resource development to encourage involvement. To help the task force, Hudman said she is going to specific organizations in the area looking for interest in the volunteer task force, the first regional task force in Greater Fort Worth.“The Northeast Tarrant task force is really a pioneer to spread the base of information across these counties,” Hudman said. “We wanted to assure people that Fort Worth is here for breast health and education on a more local level, too.”Jenna Waters, president of the Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the task force and a breast cancer survivor.Waters said she felt compelled to join the committee to help educate others about the disease, and to let them know that both medical and spiritual resources are available.“Doctors are fabulous and obviously know how to help with healing physically, but there is more to healing than the medical side of it,” Waters said. “Beyond the money for research for a cure there are also ways to get resources for you and your entire being, physical and otherwise, to heal and get through it.”Waters said it was important for her to reach out to others and give a comfort level for “a terrible disease no one can really control.”Hudman said they are in the early stages of forming the 15-person committee, but that she is excited to see the mission extended to men and women across the service area and hopes to increase the number of task forces in the future.The task force will develop a circle of influence to talk about Komen, encourage participation in events such as the Race for the Cure in May and Dine Out for the Cure, help raise funds and reach out to anyone personally affected by breast cancer.Future fundraising events could include a “Pink Tie Ball” dinner and gala to fund programs for low income breast cancer patients, Schaefer said.The task force meets at 9 a.m. the second Tuesday of every month at the Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce offices, but this month, will meet Feb. 25 because of previous bad weather. Anyone can attend but they should contact Hudman at firstname.lastname@example.org to have material prepared for them.
Taylor Prater, 817-390-7964 Twitter: @taylornprater