Her mother passed away from breast cancer, and her mother-in-law is a 30-year survivor of breast cancer.
"I've always had a special place in my heart for nonprofit groups," she said.
So when the administrative director position opened up for the Woodstock-based Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, Mrs. Upchurch jumped at the chance to join the staff.
Mrs. Upchurch, 37, handles the day-to-day operations of the organization, which educates the community about breast cancer and advocates for legislation that will improve quality of life for breast cancer patients and funding for research.
The coalition also shares information with communities about the importance of early detection, lifestyle changes and treatment options.
"I believe we offer a unique service," Mrs. Upchurch said. "Education is important, but where we make our impact is through advocacy and legislation."
Affiliated with the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the Georgia chapter was created in 1994 by Ruth Eldredge, Toby Sidman and Alba Tutnauer.
Mrs. Eldredge, the current president of the Georgia collation and a breast cancer survivor, said it was high time the organization established a foothold in the state.
"We were concerned about what we thought were epidemic proportions of breast cancer" in Georgia, she said.
Other members of the all-volunteer executive committee include Vice President Michael Koziol, Treasurer Wendy Rohrssen, who lives in Woodstock, and Secretary Marge Kellogg.
Since its creation, the organization has helped establish the Women's Health Medicaid program, a partnership with the state Department Human Resources and Department of Community Health that pays for the cancer treatments for women who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer and cannot afford treatment.
Mrs. Rohrssen, whose grandmother lost her battle with breast cancer in 1989, said the organization is also responsible for implementing the Georgia Breast Cancer License Tag Fund. It uses ad valorem proceeds to fund breast cancer screenings, education, outreach and access for less-fortunate women.
To raise awareness and money for cancer research, the organization has a slew of events it hosts each year.
In February, the coalition conducts an annual legislative breakfast with Georgia General Assembly members, an event that brings survivors and lawmakers together to talk about what issues are important to them.
In September, the coalition partnered with Morehouse School of Medicine and the Southeastern U.S. Collaborative Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Disparities to conduct a free breast and cervical cancer advocacy webinar.
In October, an annual fashion show takes place at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead to raise money for the coalition, Georgia Cancer Foundation and Beverly Family Foundation. Mrs. Upchurch said the fashion show typically brings in between $70,000 and $80,000.
On Monday, the coalition had its Pink The Green golf tournament at the Golf Club of Georgia to raise money and awareness of breast cancer. Mrs. Rohrssen said she hopes the money raised will total at least $9,000.
The organization mainly uses grant money and community donations to do workshops and outreach programs, Mrs. Upchurch said.
The coalition has been effective because of its focus on advocacy, according to its members.
When the organization started, there was only $90 million going toward breast cancer research, Mrs. Eldredge said. Now, she said, that number has swelled to more than $800 million.
"We also work through the legislative process and help get the groundwork for programs," she added.
Mrs. Upchurch, who has a background in public relations, graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1995.
She lives in Ball Ground with husband, Ken, and has four children, Katie, Chloe, Ben and Blake. The family attends Christ The King Lutheran Church in Cumming.
She also works at the G. Cecil Pruett Community Center Family YMCA in its member services department, volunteers at Macedonia Elementary School and is a member of the school's PTA and also is a Girl Scout troop leader.
Mrs. Upchurch said she hopes the community will support the coalition and its cause of eradicating breast cancer.
"It's devastating to women, families and the community," she said.