Collaborative Summit on Breast Cancer Research Recap
It could happen.
The Pink Ribbon does more than just raise awareness.
Now, some of you might be thinking:
"What does the pink ribbon have to do with it?"
And all of you are probably thinking...
"Marisa, what drug are you on?"
Here's why I'm feeling kinda optimistic:
On November 1-2, the first ever Collaborative Summit on Breast Cancer Research was held in Leesburg, Virginia, and brought together the key organizations that are leading the war on breast cancer.
Attendees included (drumroll, please...)
The Avon Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Association for Cancer Research, the ASCO Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, the National Cancer Institute, the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation Pink Pony.
Also: the Food and Drug Administration, Eli Lilly, Inc., AstraZeneca, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the Salk Institute and the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Collaborative Summit was initiated by the Avon Foundation and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and co-funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Ok, you're asking... What's so earth-shaking, ground-breaking and cancer-busting about that?
It is, as Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Komen stated: "A new culture of collaboration."
(Full disclosure: I keynoted for Komen, the ACS, and others and I'm on The BCRF Advisory Board.)
IF The National Breast Cancer Planning Committee succeeds and unites the Pink Ribbons of Research and others and...
IF they work together to create a database, linking our nation's greatest minds in medicine and...
IF the researchers share their knowledge, it can maximize new opportunities.
Who knows? Maybe a researcher at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has the last piece to the puzzle that the researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering put together.
Sharing can also minimize overlapping studies and help get more out of funding. We all know that the US Government only spends 11 billion dollars annually on ALL cancer research, and we as a nation must demand more and this is another big IF, as in IF we received more money from the U.S. Government for research and...
(A side note here: The National Breast Cancer Coalition just got $138 million in funding for 2008, up from $10.5 million more than they had last year. Massive kudos to you, Fran Visco.)
IF the National Breast Cancer Planning Committee really achieves its lofty goals, maybe, just maybe it can help lead to...
Pretty amazing, huh?
That is, IF we are able to make the "culture of collaboration" stick...
I say IF because I've gone to plenty of fundraisers, benefits, and galas for most of the breast cancer organizations, and I've heard a lot of divisive "our charity is better than your charity" (kinda like my handbag is better than your handbag) chatter.
I've also witnessed catty, cutty, shredding-of-the-pink-
ribbon put-downs from a higher-up, advocacy-focused President of a Coalition--this means you, Fran Visco. You did it at your New York Gala at Cipriani in front of about 1,000 people, prompting groans, headshakes and eyerolls from at least my table full of magazine editors, so be sure that I'm not the only one who heard it. Can you please explain your comments to me?
Which, by the way left me wondering...
...and that is 180 degrees away from the solidarity, sisterhood and survivorship The Pink Ribbon symbolizes.
But I'll let Alexandra Penney and Evelyn Lauder, creators of The Pink Ribbon, tell you about it themselves. They created The Pink Ribbon 15 years ago. It first appeared on all the Estee Lauder counters worldwide, along with a brochure that illustrated how to give yourself breast exams. Back then, that was revolutionary.
View the Today Show segment and interview with Natalie Morales, from October 18, 2007, on MSN.
In the video...
Did you ever wonder why there are so many (70 million) pink ribbons all over the planet?
Evelyn and Alexandra didn't copyright it. It was their gift to the world.
"The more, the better!" said Evelyn and Alexandra, in the video. "We just wanted to get rid of this thing!"
Now, that's the spirit.
To the research troops on the frontlines, I $upport you.
And as for all the divided-we-fall, back-stabby friendly fire out there:
Be forewarned, you are now on my radar.
I'd like a cure in our lifetime, while I'm still alive.
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