Nancy Brinker reflects on 35 years of building the Susan G. Komen Foundation

Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation shares the journey to launching the breast cancer movement and the 'Race for the Cure' series nearly 40 years ago.

     The Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation is synonymous with pink ribbons, self-breast exams and the Race for the Cure.

      It’s the pink that started it all.

However, what was started over 35 years ago with just $200, has turned Nancy Brinker’s promise to her dying sister into the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer. The Komen foundation has raised more than $3 Billion dollars for breast cancer research, advocacy and community health outreach and education.

Nancy Brinker came by the Great Day Washington studios in the midst of a crazy Breast Cancer Awareness month and took some time to chat with our own Kristen Berset-Harris, who is a two time breast cancer survivor. When asked about the progress made through the Komen Foundation over the last 4 decades, Nancy acknowledges all the hard work, but knows there is much more to be done. “I have what they call “Founderitis”. It’s never enough. It’s not about the money it’s about the progress. We have seen some really amazing things happen.”

Nancy mentions developments in 3-D mammography and genetic testing as just some of the advancements in early detection of breast cancer, options and tests that weren’t around when her sister was diagnosed. “I only hope we get to the point where we can prevent this disease and prevent it so early that it never become life threatening.” Nancy continues to travel the world to educate others on breast cancer and other health care related issues. She is currently serving as the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control. However, her life’s work is and always will be finding a cure for cancer, fulfilling that promise she made to her sister over 35 years ago.  “I’m proud that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has come to mean hope for a lot of people and that it is so well known now. This is what I wanted to do for my sister, this is what she asked me to do when I sat with her weeks before she died. I’m so proud that we got to reach many, many of the goals she had but I really want to get to a point where I can look over my shoulder some day and say “Susie, we did it.”

 

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