Tuesday, October 18, 2011


On February 2, 2012, the women who post these pieces to a Facebook group we belong to (this blog is our archive) have collectively decided to RESCIND Nancy Brinker's "Awesome" status for the Komen Foundation's decision this week to defund Planned Parenthood. Part of the story with links to the rest of it can be found here.

Luckily, many Americans have responded to this crisis by donating heavily to Planned Parenthood directly (over $400,000 in just a couple of days) and have vowed that they will no longer contribute to Komen.

Komen's website was even hacked in solidarity with Planned Parenthood and the families they serve:

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, therefore today’s WOD is Nancy Brinker: Founder of Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Born on December 6, 1946, in Peoria, IL Brinker grew up alongside her sister, Susan. Their father, Marvin Goodman, was a real-estate developer and their mother, Eleanor, was a homemaker who lived by the rule of always helping those less fortunate. The sisters, raised in the Jewish faith, caught the community service bug early on. When Brinker was six and Komen was nine, they organized a variety show to raise funds in the battle against polio. "We had little friends who had polio and it was the great threat of our childhood and we were very sympathetic to it," Brinker recalled to the Peoria Journal Star.

Nancy Brinker is the founding chair of the breast cancer research organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization named after her only sister. Susan Goodman Komen, was born in 1943 and was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33. She died three years later, at the age of 36, in 1980.
Both sisters married and started families yet remained connected through daily telephone checkins. During one of their conversations in the late 1970s, Komen told Brinker she had found a lump in her breast. Brinker flew to Peoria to be with her sister as she began seeking treatment. Komen underwent nine operations, as well as chemotherapy and radiation, only to die three years after her diagnosis. During the ordeal, Brinker made countless trips between Dallas and Peoria to be with her sister, though at the time Brinker, herself, was going through a divorce and had a young son to care for.

As Komen lay on her deathbed, she asked Brinker to do something so other women would not suffer her fate. Nancy felt her sister's outcome might have been better if patients knew more about cancer and its treatment, she made a promise to her sister that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer. To fulfill that promise, Brinker founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in Komen's memory in 1982. Its mission is bold: eradicate the disease by improving research, screening, education, and treatment.

Shortly after Komen's death, Brinker met multi-millionaire Norman Brinker, founder of the Steak and Ale, Bennigan's, and Chili's restaurant chains. He identified with Brinker's devastation and understood her motivation to do something about it. His first wife, 1950's tennis star Maureen Connolly, had died of ovarian cancer in her 30s. Within months of meeting, they wed. Their marriage afforded Brinker the financial freedom to leave her job and begin working to fulfill her promise to her sister.

Armed with $200, a typewriter, and a list of names, Brinker gathered about 20 friends in her Dallas living room in 1982 and the foundation was born. To raise public awareness, the foundation needed money, so the women organized a polo tournament as their first event. The next year, the foundation invited former first lady and breast cancer survivor Betty Ford to its fund-raising event and nearly 700 people showed up. The next year, the foundation launched the first Race for the Cure. By 1984, the foundation had raised enough money to begin awarding grants for research and education.

Around this time, Brinker was beginning to feel triumphant when she detected a lump in her breast, which turned out to be cancerous. She took an aggressive approach to her treatment. According to the Oregonian 's Leslie Barker, Brinker, upon learning of her diagnosis, screamed at her doctor: "I want them both off today! Get them off me!" Aside from a mastectomy, Brinker also underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and survived, emerging from the ordeal weakened, bald, and determined to help others win the battle. Brinker wrote about her journey in a book, The Race is Run One Step at a Time . Published in 1990, the book also offers advice on seeking healthcare and treatment for the disease.

When Brinker first started the organization, she found people hesitant to talk about the disease—especially male CEOs. Her determination, coupled with her public relations background, eventually helped the organization make headway.

Since its inception in 1982, the organization has grown into a global network of volunteers who raise money and awareness through local affiliates and by sponsoring Komen Race for the Cure events. The first Race for the Cure, held in Dallas, Texas, in 1983, drew 800 participants; within 20 years, the organization was sponsoring more than 100 races annually across the globe, drawing more than one million participants. The races raise money, but also deliver a message of support to survivors.
In 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan took notice and appointed Brinker to the National Cancer Advisory Board. Several years later, U.S. President George H.W. Bush appointed her to the three-member President's Cancer Panel and in 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush nominated her to serve as ambassador to Hungary. In this capacity, she helped establish Hungary's "Bridge of Health Alliance," a coalition of civilian groups that work together to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. At the time, breast cancer was the leading cause of death for Hungarian women. By 2005, it was the third-leading cause of death because early detection was saving lives.

Since Brinker is a breast cancer survivor herself, she uses her experience to heighten understanding of the disease. She speaks publicly on the importance of patient's rights and medical advancements in breast cancer research and treatment. She is currently serving as the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control. Brinker is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Promise Me - How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer, released on September 14, 2010.

Brinker has helped build Komen by fostering a coalition of relationships within the business community, government, and volunteer sectors in the United States. For her work on breast cancer research, Time magazine named Brinker to its 2008 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Calling her "a catalyst to ease suffering in the world," President Barack Obama honored Brinker with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor on August 12, 2009

Nancy G. Brinker is regarded as the leader of the global breast cancer movement. Her journey began with a simple promise to her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything possible to end the shame, pain, fear and hopelessness caused by this disease. In one generation, the organization that bears Susan’s name has changed the world.

“People who come to work here don’t show up for the coffee and donuts. They come to change the world. People will work hard for a mission.”- Nancy Brinker

Nancy Brinker Biography - life, childhood, children, name, death, wife, school, mother - Newsmakers Cumulation http://www.notablebiographies.com/newsmakers2/2007-A-Co/Brinker-Nancy.html#ixzz1b696KqnU