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10.13.16 – Luncheon Notes and Photos

SPOKES Notes writty by: Dan Durkee

Our meeting was opened in song with ‘America the Beautiful’ led by Grace Shearer, followed an invocation by Max Smith. President Michael Sytsma then shared a Rotary Relevance moment regarding $9,000 in grants from the Rotary Foundation supporting several initiatives including water filtration and handicapped access ramp projects. President Michael also shared news that our annual golf outing raised a total of $18,000 and recognized a long time member of our club Ed Clark. Guests and visiting Rotarians were introduced by Danielle Rowland.

As a special treat and long anticipated event, Rotarian Dave Bulkowski offered to sacrifice his hair as a fundraiser for our Community Engagement Committee and Locks of Love charity. President Michael served as auctioneer to engage contributors for one of three pony tales available. Several members of the club stepped forward to contribute, including $250 from James Eliassen for the first pony tail, 12 others contributing $50 each for the second cut by Jackie Taylor, and another 11 who contributed $25, including Phil Johnson who handed a crisp new $100 for the honor of cutting the final pony tail.

Jackie Taylor then introduced our speaker, Jennifer Jurgens who left a career in business four years ago to become Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen Foundation Michigan. Jennifer began by sharing that her mother was taken by breast cancer at age 36 when she was only 12, with Jennifer also being diagnosed when she was 37 years old, and that her decision to work for the Susan G. Komen Foundation was based upon her desire to help others. Each year there are 8,150 new cases of breast cancer in Michigan, 1 in 100 of which are male, leading to 1,450 deaths. This could be reduced by one third if everyone were properly screened and treated when recommended, which would equate to 483 lives saved.

If discovered early, breast cancer has a 99% five-year survival rate and the Susan G. Komen Foundation Michigan has a bold goal of reducing deaths by 50%. They have invested over $12 million in local programs and touched over 85,000 people in 2015 alone. Early stage treatment costs an average of $80,000 while stage 3 treatment costs $320,000 plus $900 per month in medication. The economic impact is substantial including $2.03 billion in excess medical coverage and $1.39 billion in lost productivity in 2009. What we can do includes finding and supporting a non-profit organization that aligns with our corporate values and priorities. Jennifer answered a number of questions and concluded her presentation with an invitation to attend a fund raising luncheon on December 8th at the JW Marriot Ballroom, and to visit their website at to find out more or contact her at

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