The story of a generation’s worth of progress in the breast cancer movement is being told through the eyes of breast cancer survivors, researchers, community health workers and advocates as Susan G. Komen for the Cure offers a “31 Days of Impact” web storytelling series to mark National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
We hear statistics all the time about increased research funding, near 100 percent survival rates for early stage cancers and vast improvements in treatments for metastatic disease, all made possible by this movement. But the numbers don’t tell the full story of the movement’s true impact on women, men, families and communities. We are setting out to tell those stories through the experiences of the people who have benefitted, and will benefit, from this extraordinary cause.
Throughout the month, the series will profile survivors, Komen research grantees and community health advocates, as well as partners in developing countries where Komen focuses its global work. They include:
Dr. Amelie Ramirez, a Komen-funded researcher at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio who is conducting critical work with the Latina population, of which breast cancer is the number one killer. As the associate director of cancer health disparities at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center, much of her research has been supported by $1.3 million in grants from Susan G. Komen
Etta-Cheri Washington, a patient navigator in the Washington D.C. area who, with the help of Komen grants, is committed to saving the lives of women in D.C. Her local organization, DC Pink Divas, connects area women to medical and educational resources.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe, a physician in Ghana, Africa, who with the help of Komen, is making great strides in increasing early detection and helping save thousands of lives. Komen has granted more than $462,000 in funding to Ghana for programs that educate Ghanaian women about breast cancer, encourage screening and provide treatment.
It’s hard to believe today that there was such shame and silence around this disease when we started. You couldn’t say ‘cancer’ in polite company, and certainly not ‘breast cancer,’ and so many women suffered in silence. The people who joined us in 1982 said, ‘Enough!’ and their efforts – in just one generation – have brought more options, more hope, and more promise for ending this disease than at any time in our history.
Komen alone has invested more than $2 billion into research, community health programs, advocacy and global programs. The organization and its 119 affiliates have provided screenings, treatment help, financial and social support to millions of women by funding $1.3 billion in community health and education programs over Komen’s 30 years – 1,700 programs last year alone.
At the same time, Komen has provided more breast cancer research support than any other nonprofit, second only to the federal government, with $740 million invested since 1982. Currently, Komen alone is funding 500 research grants totaling more than $300 million at institutions worldwide.
Our first 30 years have taught us that so much can be done when people join together in the fight against this ancient and devastating enemy. We know that the next 30 years will make even more progress possible. We hope one day soon to have vaccines against breast cancer; to understand how it spreads and how to stop it in its tracks, so that we can eliminate metastatic and aggressive disease; and mostly, to fulfill our collective promise of a world where no woman or man has to fear breast cancer ever again.
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. Today, Susan G. Komen for the Cure works to end breast cancer in the U.S. and throughout the world through ground-breaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 30 countries.