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In an effort to help crush cancer, Katyite Ursula Ross was recently crowned a top cancer crusher by the Komen Houston Race for the Cure committee. She raised $2,175 between Aug. 13 and 17 and is a 14-year breast cancer survivor. Her efforts were part of a new fundraising contest by the Houston affiliate of Susan G. Komen for a Cure, which is honoring local individuals who are on a mission to crush breast cancer and assist in finding cures by raising funds. Ross was diagnosed in 1998 with stage two invasive ductal carcinoma at the age of 38. On a hunch, her doctor sent her to have a mammogram two years early and it was because of that decision that her breast cancer was detected. If she had waited till she was 40 years old for her first mammogram, Ross believes she wouldn’t be with us today.

Ross offers her unique perspective on giving back to the Houston affiliate of Susan G. Komen for a Cure.

Why did you raise the money?
In years past, I have been the more silent-in-the-background participant type. I spearheaded the National Oilwell Varco team in processing the sponsorship, promotional items, registration, design, and distribution of the NOV team shirt. This year, things changed for me after attending the Komen survivor dinner. I became acutely aware of the bond we all share as survivors, and I remember thinking that if I can just touch one other person, lift up their spirits and more, then I really need to do this. Giving out T-shirts is no longer enough for me; now I want to “really” make a difference by fundraising, because that is how we stop breast cancer.

What does the Houston Affiliate of Susan G. Komen mean to you?
Komen Houston is home. It is the local heartbeat; it is a southern sisterhood that provides a sense of family – families that have been affected by one thing we all have in common… breast cancer. The Komen organization transcends generations and backgrounds. It is giving back to the many women out there who need our help and is helping to make an otherwise frightening experience more comforting, knowing that you are not alone.

How long have you been involved with Komen Houston?
I have known about the organization since 1999 and have participated since 2002. This year, I am not just hearing about it, not just walking it, but I am also ready to make a difference.

How does it feel to be a top cancer crusher? Were you surprised?
It feels incredible, surreal even, and yes, I was very surprised! I never gave much thought to the contest overall. The newfound goal for me was to concentrate my efforts on educating co-workers and peers and to raise my expectations personally in fundraising. It’s the difference of flying below the radar to now flying above and no longer being afraid to do so.  

To learn more about how you can give back, visit komen-houston.org. To learn more about the Komen Houston Race for the Cure, visit our events listing at www.katymagazine.com/komen-houston-race-for-the-cure/.