Kate Sommer Honored at Annual Susan G. Komen Leadership Conference

Kate Sommer Honored at Annual Susan G. Komen Leadership Conference

Kate Sommer, a local breast cancer survivor who has played an instrumental role with the Susan G. Komen Nebraska was honored as the national Volunteer of the Year this weekend at the annual Susan G. Komen Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas.  Susan G. Komen is a global leader in the fight against breast cancer with local Affiliate offices in more than 120 locations in the U.S. and around the world.  Each year the organization recognizes a person who has embraced the promise and core values of Komen, acting as a positive agent of change, throughout the course of his or her service.

Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30, shortly after the birth of her second child, Kate has been living with the disease for 26 years. That’s close to the same amount of time the men and women of Nebraska has been supported by the Komen organization – thanks in large part to Kate.

In 1994, Kate served as the first Komen Nebraska Race chair and has been in attendance at every successive Nebraska Race. She has held nearly every position on the Race committee, serving as Race chair three times, and attends every Race t-shirt packet pick-up event to talk with other volunteers, embrace fellow survivors and thank Race participants. Currently, she heads up race day registration table proudly wearing her #1 Survivor Race bib pinned to her shirt.

“Kate’s enthusiasm inspires new volunteers and involvement every year,” Karen Daneu said. “She has solicited sponsors, including one of the most significant for our Affiliate, a partnership with Union Pacific that has continued for over 13 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of fundraising.”

Just like Komen, Kate strives to ensure her impact is felt beyond the Race. “Kate is truly one of the most inspiring and courageous women I know,” said Beth Groh, former Komen Nebraska Race for the Cure Chair. “Without her the women of Nebraska would not have the resources to fight breast cancer that we are privileged to have in our state.”

She also shares her wisdom with other survivors and Komen headquarters policy makers through her work with the Komen Survivor Task Force and her position on the Komen Metastatic Round Table. While she believes this will be her legacy for the organization and its future, her most personal and abiding legacy is her family.

Kate’s husband Leonard, daughter Emily and son James are all involved with Komen. James has passed out Race ribbons since childhood and recently led a Race team in Chicago.  Emily raised over $3000 for the Komen Chicagoland Affiliate through an “Art for the Cure” event where her own pieces and other local artists were sold.  Leonard participates in the race day registration and is an active presence in Komen Nebraska himself as a “Pink Tie Guy”. 

For Kate achievements, time, compassion and volunteer spirit are truly a family affair and the entire group serves as inspirations for all volunteers.

To read more about Kate’s journey with breast cancer, click here to see the July 2013 Chronicles of Hope article.