Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Susan Krigel and Breast Cancer Awareness

Former Clinical Ph.D. student Susan Krigel was featured on for her story on battling breast cancer and attending the Mother's Day Breast Cancer Awareness Day at Kauffman Stadium.

KANSAS CITY -- Susan Krigel, who served as the Royals' honorary bat girl at the Mother's Day breast cancer awareness celebration, had come full circle.

In 1973, when Kauffman Stadium, then called Royals Stadium, was opened she was marching in the Shawnee Mission East High School band in the ceremonies. On Sunday, she was back on the field for the first time since that day.

And this time the Royals were swinging pink bats, wearing pink sweat bands and, in some cases, running in pink shoes. It was all part of the Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer Program by Major League Baseball and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Jeff Francoeur takes the field on Sunday with one of the honorary lineup of breast cancer survivors. (Chris Vleisides/Royals)Krigel's own battle with breast cancer includes a touch of irony. She was working for the Cancer Information Service when stricken.

"I was working there and decided I wanted to go to graduate school and become a PhD in clinical psychology and learn how to help cancer survivors adjust to the emotional aspects of having cancer," Krigel said. "And then I was diagnosed with cancer just after I was accepted into the PhD program. I went ahead and took the PhD program through my therapy and my surgery through the first year. I had a lot of good support from my husband, my kids and my friends, and my mentors at UMKC.

"It is ironic, but one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer. It was an office of 15, so statistically two of us at one point would be diagnosed with breast cancer."

She received a lot of help from her mentor, Professor Delwyn Catley of the University of Missouri-Kanas City, and the health care team at the University of Kansas Medical Center, including Dr. Carol Fabian.

She underwent treatment and surgery for about 1 1/2 years.

"I don't really look at it as beating it," she said, "because with breast cancer it can always recur. After five years you're not totally in the clear; statistically your chances of recurrence go way down, but with breast cancer it really can recur, so you just kind of look at every day and be thankful for that."

With her at the stadium on Sunday were her husband, former Kansas City jeweler Scott Krigel, sons Ari and Steven, and daughter-in-law Beth.

Today, she works for the KU Med Cancer Center.

"I care for cancer survivors on a daily basis," she said, "mainly breast cancer survivors but also other people living with cancer."

The Royals, joined by the Oakland A's in the pink-trimmed awareness effort, were well aware of the enormity of the disease.

"It's a great cause," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "Luckily my mom didn't have breast cancer or anything like that, but I know so many people that do and I even get text messages after the game to say how important it is to see us supporting the cause."

He was among the players wearing pink shoes.

"It's going to look weird but they're auctioning them off and all the money goes to that cause, so it's not even a question for me," Francoeur said.

Stephanie Komen, daughter of the late Susan G. Komen, sat in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat. Pitcher Kyle Davies, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, was the honorary spokesman. The Royals took the field with each player accompanied by a breast cancer survivor.

In the end, 12 of the game's 18 hits were belted with pink bats used for the occasion. That included rookie phenom Eric Hosmer's first extra-base hit, a double high off the right-center wall, that produced his first RBI.

Many families have been affected by the disease.

"My wife Deborah's mom passed away from breast cancer, so it's near and dear to her heart," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

"They do it on Father's Day for prostate cancer, too. It's two good causes and brings awareness to them."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs

Friday, June 3, 2011

HHN News

What’s New at Heartland Health Network

It was an extraordinary Saturday! April 9, 2011 marked the first Heartland Health Network’s Pre-proposal Mini-grant Workshop where 35 people attended representing 26 church and faith based organizations. At present, we have received 25 letters of intent to submit proposals.

HHN launched the mini grant opportunity in early March promoting the event primarily through our core partner Calvary Community Outreach Network. A special thank you is extended to Rev. Williams for facilitating such a great turnout from the African American faith-based community. It was exhilarating to witness a packed room of people not only interested in decreasing the gap in health disparities affecting the African American community but also excited about building the capacity of their organizations to do so.

The HHN Mini grant is a competitive process offered to increase the capacity of our faith based network partners to increase their ability to collaborate with health science researchers. HHN will offer technical assistance for all applicants throughout the grant process by providing hands on support in developing the proposal narratives, budgets and supporting documentation. We are hoping to build new relationships for future research collaborations while offering support for outreach efforts led by our faith community partners.

SAVE THE DATE invitations for our upcoming conference on Thursday, September 1, 2011 between the hours of 11:00 am and 4:30 pm at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will go out in the June.. The conference entitled, “We’re in This Together: Partnering for Our Health” will provide opportunities for researchers, faith based community leaders and community health service organization representatives to identify shared interests and goals to impact health disparities. Contact Robin Liston at 816-235- 6715 / or Carole Bowe Thompson at 816-235-6062 / to learn more.