NANCY G. BRINKER is the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She has served as Ambassador to Hungary and White House Chief of Protocol and as Global Ambassador for Cancer Control for the World Health Organization. She has received the prestigious Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Trumpet Foundation’s President’s Award, the Independent Women’s Forum Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award, the Forbes Trailblazer Award, the Ladies’ Home Journal 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century, and the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Growing up in postwar Peoria, Illinois, Suzy and Nancy Goodman were inseparable, with the elegantly poised Suzy serving as younger sister Nancy’s best friend and role model in the grand adventure of life. The Goodman sisters learned at an early age the importance of helping those in need. Charity became a common theme in their lives but so did breast cancer. In 1977, at the age of thirty-four, Suzy was diagnosed with the disease. Three years later, having endured well-meaning but misinformed doctors, multiple surgeries, and several grueling courses of chemotherapy and radiation, she died. In one of the sisters’ last conversations, Suzy begged Nancy to do something to stop the suffering:
“Promise me, Nanny,” she said. “Promise me you won’t let it go on like this.”
As a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to know more about how the Susan G Komen Foundation (SGK) came about and how it became so influential. I don’t remember when I began hearing about the organization or really took notice but it was many years after the formation.
This book includes a time line of the history of breast cancer along with the story of Susan and Nancy’s lives including childhood, marriage, divorce, kids and cancer. The various time lines were neatly interwoven within each other to give you a historical perspective. I will say that when I got to the chapters about a trip that they took to Europe after high school almost stopped me from finishing the book. I felt like it went on too long. But I am very glad that I kept reading because after that the book was exactly what I was expecting, how SGK came about and the struggles that they went through to form the foundation. And I was quite surprised when I read who was the Oncologist for Susan and Nancy, my own Oncologist Dr. George Blumenschein! I knew I had to have been in good hands 6 years ago when I chose him to help me fight my own battle with breast cancer.
All in all I would give this book 3 1/2 stars. There is a great resource section at the back of the book and I found many resources that I hadn’t known about at that time and can share with others diagnosed with this disease.