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For several years now I’ve seen Susan G. Komen’s name floating around, always associated with breast cancer events. I never knew who she was, until now. I was watching a show (OK, I was watching “Oprah” again) and they featured Susan’s sister (Nancy G. Brinker) who told the story of how her sister (Susan G. Komen) died of breast cancer.
This was years and years ago, before awareness was what it is today for this disease. Her sister suffered during a time where, today, many women survive. It’s Nancy’s goal to help women be educated and have awareness about breast cancer so they have the options her sister didn’t.
From the organizations Web site:
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever.
In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the worldâ€™s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure, we have invested nearly $1 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.
Why do I care? No one in my family has had breast cancer, but after seeing Nancy talk about her sister and watching Christina Applegate talk openly about her decision to have both breasts removed it hit me. We are women. This could happen to us. We need to know what’s going on to be prepared — just in case. Nancy talked a lot about awareness and communication. Educating women on the disease and the options.
The most difficult concept to grasp about cancer, I think, is the fact that when it is first detected the patient usually feels just fine. There is rarely any pain associated with breast cancer in its early stages. So when you are told you’ve got a life-threatening disease, and the treatment sounds more heinous than the thought of a little lump in the breast, it is understandable that a woman uneducated about cancer might opt for no treatment at all.
Such was the case with Suzy. My sister was terrified, naturally, but adamant against having a mastectomy.
It leaves you to wonder that if Susan G. Komen had gotten breast cancer later in life, if she would have been able to survive it given the amount of education women receive now. I’m sure that’s what her sister Nancy hopes for all women today.