20.10.08

Day 55. The Breast Cancer One.

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many of you also know the reason why this particular cause is very close to my heart. I, personally, have chosen to devote the majority of my time to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  This organization is arguably responsible for the visibility and "popularity" that breast cancer achieves today. They are known for their popular "Race for the Cure" events (of which I chaired the local one here in Columbus as a volunteer the past three years); but what you may not know is the reason for the organization, and the movement at all...

In the 70's there were simply two sisters, Nancy Brinker and Susan Komen. Susan had breast cancer, and it would ultimately kill her. In those times, you didn't even use the "C word" let alone say "breast cancer". As Susan lay dying, she asked her sister, Nancy to promise, to PROMISE to do everything she could to find a cure for this disease. That first year, Nancy started. In the article about the first ever Race for the Cure, they had to find a way to write about the event without using the words "breast" or "cancer". Yes, Nancy was fortunate to be married to a man of influence, and yes she used his rolodex heavily...but above and beyond that it was about passion, and it was about commitment. 

Fast forward 25 years, as of 2008, Komen around the world has raised 1 BILLION DOLLARS in the fight against breast cancer. Most all of the major achievements in the fight against this disease are the result of a project or thread of research funded by a Komen grant. Komen directs funds locally, nationally and globally. They have a seat at the national public policy table.

But all of this wouldn't be possible without Nancy, nor without Suzy. I have heard Nancy speak many many times, and when you strip away the obvious polish, and scripting and all that other stuff that comes with being the leader and figurehead of a major philanthropic group there is still the pain of the loss of her sister. There is still the urgency of the fight against this horrible horrible disease that takes too many lives each year. Its easy to get caught up in how big this fight is, but Nancy helps me remember that is comes back down to the smallest level - to the woman in your life that you care about the most and about saving her life. Period. Please, not just this month where it gets a lot of attention, but every month, tell someone about breast health - today if breast cancer is found early, there is a 95% chance of survival. those are good odds.  Remember Nancy - remember that she is still fighting every day, every year...her dedication, strength and passion are truly without equal...and ask yourself...

Who is your Suzy?

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