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Letter to the editor – Celebrating a Sister’s Promise

Kelsey Crow

Sophomore – English/Writing Emphasis

Thirty-five years ago, Nancy Brinker’s sister, Susan G. Komen, was diagnosed with breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.* After three years of battle, Susan died, but not before she asked her sister Nancy to do something about breast cancer. Two years later, Nancy fulfilled her promise to her sister and started Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Nancy had her work cut out for her. Back then, having breast cancer meant shame and humiliation. It was taboo to even discuss breast cancer and many potential donors didn’t want to be associated with a “woman’s disease” that personal. Nancy Brinker certainly had to fight an uphill battle, but now—30 years later—we can all be grateful that she did.

Since it’s birth, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested over $750 million in breast cancer research. Also, $1.5 billion has been poured into community outreach programs. Last year alone, Susan G. Komen paid for 700,000 mammograms for women who couldn’t afford them, and continues to help with co-pays, surgeries, groceries, wigs, prosthetics, and transportation for treatment. Just as importantly, Susan G. Komen has created an incredibly powerful sisterhood network—extending support and comfort to countless women across the globe afflicted by this illness. No more shame and isolation for women suffering from breast cancer.

Much progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer, largely aided by the efforts of Susan G. Komen. Also, five-year survival rates are 99% compared with 74% thirty years ago.

A particular victory in the battle against breast cancer was announced in early November. The International Cancer Research Partnership released an important report that will help coordinate the research efforts of over 50 organizations funding cancer research around the world. This report will help coordinate the many research organizations, maximizing dollars and making the collective research effort more efficient by identifying research areas that are neglected or overcrowded. The report is an exciting step in the battle against breast cancer.

Nancy Brinker certainly has come a long way with her organization in the last 30 years. Because of one sister’s devotion and dedication, the giant breast-cancer-fighting-machine known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure exists today, for which we can all be thankful.