For Tulsa's Christy Southard, Race For The Cure Is Personal

Thursday, August 9th 2012, 9:13 am
By: LeAnne Taylor

It was the promise between two sisters that was the foundation for the Susan G. Komen organization.

The vision: a world without breast cancer. Now, many people are involved nationally and on the local level and for the executive director of Komen Tulsa, it's personal.

It's family first for Christy Southard. She loves spending time with her nieces and nephew.

"Well, it's funny a friend of mine said for someone who has no children, you sure have a lot of children," said Christy Southard.

She's also extremely close to her parents, especially her mom who's a 26-year breast cancer survivor. She remembers the day they got the news.

"My first thought was it's going to be benign. They're going to do the biopsy and everything will be fine and the doctor even told us we're 95% sure it's going to be benign but that's why they send it off for tests and I think the bigger shock came when it came back that it was breast cancer," said Christy Southard.

Through the years, Christy has been there to support her mom. Then about 9 years ago, she volunteered to be the chair for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and was hooked.

When the Tulsa affiliate went looking for an executive director, Christy knew she wanted the job.

"I believe very strongly in Komen. I believe in the model that we've got which is that 75% of our money stays right here and while we follow the guidelines and policies set out by headquarters, we agree to do that every year, but we have the autonomy to do the work we need to do in our community, to take care of women the way we need to in this community," said Christy Southard.

As Executive Director, Christy's job is to help raise money, oversee staff, work with volunteers, promote awareness and education and help in the fight against breast cancer, a big job but one she enjoys.

"I tried to tell her that working for a non-profit is a lot different than the corporate world and I think she's found that out. But I think she has such a passion for Komen and for breast cancer, that everything is offset by that," said Christy Southard.

While Christy's job has afforded her the chance to meet many powerful people in the country, she says it still comes right down to the people, helping those in Tulsa who survive and honoring those who don't.

"I got a sweet note from a friend who said, don't ever think that your work is in vain. Know that those women are gone but there are still others that need help so that's what we really focus on. While it breaks our heart to hear that someone hasn't survived, we think about the two and a half million nationwide who survive every year and that's what keeps you going," said Christy Southard.

The countdown is on to this year's race which is coming up Saturday September 15th at OneOk Field. Christy, along with staff and hundreds of volunteers are hoping this year's race is the biggest yet.

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