Wesley Healthcare
June 04, 2014

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francie Ekengren, MD, announces Wesley’s presenting sponsorship of this year’s Komen Wichita Race for the Cure® and highlights her personal journey beating breast cancer

WICHITA – Wesley Medical Center is providing a new kind of support for this year’s Komen Wichita Race for the Cure® – office space. The hospital has been a sponsor of the race since 2000 and this year is providing a corner office suite at its medical arts building as part of its first-ever presenting sponsorship of the race.

“The Komen organization needed to find a new home and we were happy to help them find one,” said Bill Voloch, Wesley’s chief operating officer. “They are great partners in our shared mission of raising awareness of – and providing expert care for – breast cancer. It was a win-win for everyone.”

The Kansas affiliate of Susan G. Komen is now located at 3243 E. Murdock St., suite 103, on Wesley’s main campus.

“We can’t thank Wesley enough for our new space,” said Lindsay Smith, executive director of the Kansas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. “We appreciate the hospital’s continued support of our organization and our shared mission to fight breast cancer.”

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1.9 billion into education and research since its inception in 1982. Komen’s promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find a cure.

As part of the organization’s movement, the Komen Wichita Race for the Cure was started in 1990 by the Junior League of Wichita. The Wichita race was the first Komen co-ed race and the fourth race in Komen history. The first year’s race proceeds started the Komen Free Mammography Program that continues today and has provided 30,000 free mammograms in the state of Kansas. In 1993, the newly established Susan G. Komen for the Cure Kansas Affiliate took ownership of the race and has since continued to hold the annual event.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Wesley become an even bigger partner in the education and fight against breast cancer,” said Dr. Francie Ekengren, Wesley’s chief medical officer. “I always tell people running saved my life. I found a lump in my right breast just after I finished running the Phoenix Marathon. If I hadn’t lost so much body fat training for the marathon, I might not have found the lump.”

Dr. Ekengren’s lump was breast cancer, and unfortunately her story is not that uncommon. According to the Susan G. Komen organization, more than 264,000 cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women this year and more than 2,000 among men. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

“We want the men and women of our community to understand their risk of developing breast cancer and the importance of getting screened regularly,” Smith said. “We know early detection can save lives, and with Wesley’s support we can help women and men beat this.”

Wesley has a multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care with a team of dedicated oncology medical professionals including radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgeons and nurses that are all trained or certified in cancer care. The hospital’s program provides a broad spectrum of diagnostic and treatment services for cancer patients, offering both inpatient and outpatient care, and services conveniently located at one central facility.

“As an emergency-medicine trained physician, I didn’t think there was anything that I couldn’t deal with,” Dr. Ekengren said. “Fighting cancer was a hard test of my endurance – getting through the diagnosis, the mastectomy after trying to have a lumpectomy and then the chemotherapy.

“But early detection saved my life and women and men need to know what to look for. It can save theirs too.”

This year’s Komen Wichita Race for the Cure will be held in downtown Wichita Sept. 27 with Wesley Medical Center as a presenting sponsor. To learn more about the Susan G. Komen organization and its outreach efforts, please visit www.komenkansas.org.

For more information about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.

Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WESLEYCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit wesleymc.com