Susan G. Komen For the Cure Unveiled for Breast Cancer Awareness

PJ Hamel Health Guide
  • As of today, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is no more. Now, before you fall out of your chair in shock, don’t worry. This huge organization hasn’t disappeared. Instead, in honor of the foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, it’s kicked off a week-long celebration that includes coverage on the morning news shows; a new advertising campaign; a newly designed Web site, and a brand new name: Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Even the long-time cameo logo has disappeared, replaced by a stylized pink ribbon (or is it a runner?) What remains unchanged is the organization’s mission, stated boldly on its new site: “To save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.” And, its promise, made between two sisters whose lives were ripped apart by breast cancer 25 years ago: “To do everything possible to bring an end to breast cancer.”
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    Nancy Goodman Brinker founded the Susan G. Komen foundation in 1982, two years after the death from breast cancer of her 36-year-old older sister, Suzy. Despite First Lady Betty Ford’s courageous openness about her breast cancer battle in the mid-’70s, breast cancer still felt like a taboo subject 25 years ago. “It was sort of shameful if anyone in the family had cancer. And people didn’t talk about breasts, either sick or healthy,” reports Associated Press writer Jamie Stengle, quoting Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and chairman of the department of breast medical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Over the past 25 years, all of that has changed–thankfully. And that change is due in great part to the Komen’s high profile, its famous Race for the Cure® fund-raising (yes, For the Cure® is trademarked) and, most of all, its donation of money to breast cancer research.

    The Komen organization is second only to the American government in funding breast cancer research and outreach programs. This year, Komen will pass the $1 billion mark in its total fund-raising; and has pledged to raise another $1 billion over the next 10 years. That’s a BILLION dollars, as in a thousand million. How different would cancer treatment today be, for all of us, were it not for the money poured into research over these past 25 years? How many of us wouldn’t be alive to read these words? Twenty-five years ago, the 5-year survival rate for women with contained breast cancer was 74%. Today, the 5-year survival rate for those same women is a near-perfect 98%. Komen has even goaded the government into increasing its funding: in 1982, the federal government spent $30 million a year on breast cancer issues; today, that figure is a whopping $900 million.

    So, next time you see a poster advertising a Race For the Cure being held near you, think about slipping into your sneakers and joining in. It’s a way of supporting this organization that’s helped support all of us; of joining the 1.5 million women worldwide who run each year. Women in more than 47 countries have been touched by Komen funds. And though the cure for breast cancer remains elusive, the will to eradicate it is as strong as it was 25 years ago, when Komen for the Cure was born from a promise: one woman, vowing to destroy her sister’s killer.
Published On: January 23, 2007