History

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit other than the federal government while also providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its start in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding for screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would work to end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life.

Komen Greater Iowa began work as a new, united Komen Affiliate on January 1, 2017. Komen Greater Iowa combines the best of three outstanding Komen Affiliates with rich histories all their own.

The first Quad Cities Race for the Cure was held in 1990 at Bettendorf High School as a “women’s only” event with 1,714 participants and 23 survivors. It was also one of the very first Races for the Cure to be held in the United States. By 1994, Race participation (which now included men) had grown to over 5,000 participants and 108 survivors.

By 1999, the Quad Cities Affiliate was recognized by the Komen national organization and Race participation had grown to over 9,200 participants and almost 480 survivors. In 2014, the 25th annual Quad Cities Race for the Cure was held, making it the longest standing Komen Race for the Cure event in Komen Greater Iowa’s service area.

The first Race for the Cure in Des Moines was held in 1991 with approximately 600 participants. In 1995, the Des Moines Affiliate, which was later known as the Iowa Affiliate, was formally recognized.

On July 1, 2014, Komen Iowa joined forces with Komen Southeast Iowa in Ottumwa, thus increasing its service area to 91 counties.

The Siouxland Affiliate was inspired by Lesa McDermott, a local attorney, who lost her mother to breast cancer in 1999 and was discouraged by the lack of resources available to breast cancer patients.

McDermott engaged other women in the community and sought to establish a Siouxland area Affiliate in 2001.  The Affiliate was formally established in 2004 and held its first Race for the Cure on Mother’s Day in 2009.  The response from residents to the Siouxland Race far exceeded expectations and the Affiliate has continued to experience support well in excess of predictions.

The service area of the Siouxland Affiliate expanded in 2007 to incorporate two counties in Nebraska that are closely tied to the Sioux City metro area.