I love October! I can’t help but notice that the sun just seems to shine a little brighter in October, at least in South Florida. Another thing that’s sure to be noticed in October is the pink ribbons on billboards, water bottles and even egg shells. Yes, it’s breast cancer awareness month.
Along with the pink ribbons I see every year I also hear see the name Susan G. Komen or Komen for the Cure. I started to wonder, who is Susan G. Komen? I did a little research and found…
Susan G. Goodman was born on October 31, 1943 in Peoria, Illinois. She was a popular girl in her neighborhood. The high school homecoming queen and college beauty queen married her college sweetheart Stan Komen. She was very close to her younger sister Nancy, who describes her as the perfect older sister.
After noticing a lump in her breast, Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33. Uneducated about cancer, Susan didn’t immediately seek treatment from a cancer specialist and decided to let her family doctor treat her for the life threatening disease. The family doctor eventually called in a surgeon. Adamant against a mastectomy, Susan decided to have a subcutaneous mastectomy, a procedure in which the outside of the breast is left intact but an incision is made and the breast tissue is removed. Susan was told that she was cured after the procedure, however less than six months later, another lump appeared under her arm. The cancer had spread to her lung. At that point, Susan began fighting for her life.
A major turning point in Susan’s struggle for survival came from then first lady Mrs. Betty Ford, who in 1978 got a mastectomy and successfully overcame breast cancer. Susan became more aggressive in her fight and began chemotherapy. Throughout her treatments and hospital stays, Susan wasn’t happy with the aesthetics of the waiting room. The walls were bare are and the chairs were uncomfortable. She told Nancy that she wanted to do something to make the waiting area more comfortable for women that had to be there. She also asked her sister to do something to speed up the research process and Nancy promised her that she would.
After nine operations, three courses of chemotherapy and radiation, Susan G. Komen lost her battle with breast cancer. She passed away on August 4, 1980. Nancy Brinker kept her promise to her sister and founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 1982, which grew to become the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Since its inception, the non-profit has raised over $1.9 billion for research, education, and health services, making it the largest breast cancer charity in the world.
For more information on Susan G. Komen, Nancy Brinker or how
you can get involved, visit http://ww5.komen.org/Default.aspx