Every day Michelle Temple hits the ground running. As Lowcountry affiliate coordinator for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the spirited 27-year-old works hard serving local women, including organizing the annual Race for the Cure (see page 140 for event details).
Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of survivors and activists fighting to cure breast cancer. “The race is a celebration of survivorship,” says Temple. The bubbly Mississippi native was introduced to Komen through her College of Charleston sorority, but she credits her altruistic drive to her upbringing. “My parents taught me that you’re not just here for yourself. Life’s about doing something better; it’s about other people.” And Temple brings that compassion and energy to her job. In addition to organizing the race, which hosts thousands annually, she distributes grant money, recruits volunteers, and arranges mammograms. Over the past year, the nonprofit provided more than 4,000 mammograms and clinical breast exams—which helped detect 19 cases of cancer. Temple admits that any job dealing with public health issues takes its toll emotionally, but after three years with Komen, she can’t imagine doing anything else, especially following last year’s race. “The weather was horrible, but one survivor smiled and said, ‘You think this is bad? This is nothing. When you’ve survived breast cancer, a day like today is wonderful!’ She really put it all into perspective,” recalls Temple. “That’s why I love this job.”