Happy Mother’s Day
Many people will spend today racing in honor of the mothers in their lives at Susan G. Komen Races around the country. Many will spend this Mothers Day, as I will, in quiet gratitude for mothers who have been touched by breast cancer, and who inspire us with their courage and grace every single day.
It is a unique honor for all of us at Komen to wade into a sea of pink at our Races to celebrate with the many women surviving breast cancer today – surviving because our global community has rallied to this cause. From a time when we couldn’t talk about breast cancer out loud, we today proudly wear the badge of “breast cancer survivor” in the pink tee-shirts you will see at a Komen Race.
I promised my sister, a mother of two, that I would do everything in my power to end this disease so that no child would ever face a future without a mother, and so that no mother would ever have to worry about this disease, ever again. That was 32 years ago. Two years later, we would start Susan G. Komen for the Cure in her memory, determined to keep that promise.
We have made tremendous strides in just three decades, thanks to our Komen community. Death rates from breast cancer have declined by 33% in the last 21 years in the U.S. 5-year survival rates for early stage breast cancers are now 99%, versus 74% when we started our work in 1982.
Every day, the scientists that we fund are seeking new ways to stop, reverse or prevent this disease, and I’m confident that we will one day, very soon, give all women the promise of a full life.
In our communities, women, men and children band together to raise the funds that provide groceries, co-pays, access to cancer care, and the support and dignity that every cancer survivor deserves. We are deeply grateful that we are able to help hundreds of thousands of women, many without insurance, without money, and without support, every single year.
Our race is not yet completely won. Sadly, on this Mother’s Day, we will look around at our Races and see sons, daughters, grandchildren and so many others wearing race bibs that tell the all-too-tragic story of their lives – running “In Memory” of a cherished relative or friend whose life was ended, too soon, by this disease. Each time I look out on one of our Races—especially on this day to honor mothers—I redouble my vow to create a world where no one has to run “In Memory,” ever again.
That’s why I continue to fight, and why we will always fight, to find the cures, assuage the terror of a breast cancer diagnosis, and to give all women and men the outstretched hand of a community that understands what they are going through, and wants to help.
From one mother to many others, thank you for making our work possible, and for providing the resources that will give us a world without breast cancer. Hug the little ones today. Hug your Mom. And Happy Mother’s Day to all.
About the author
Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker founded Susan G. Komen on a promise she made to her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. She led a relentless breast cancer information and awareness campaign and succeeded in breaching the silence surrounding the disease, fundamentally changing the way it is talked about and treated. She started the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® and also pioneered cause-related marketing, both of which have had a profound impact on the breast cancer movement. An outspoken champion of all people with breast cancer as well as those who are at risk for developing the disease, Ambassador Brinker takes her cause and her passion all over the world, seeking the fresh input and international partnerships essential to ending breast cancer forever. Among her many leadership roles, Brinker served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary from 2001-2003 and as U.S. Chief of Protocol from 2007-2009.