On October 9, the Independent Women’s Forum will honor two extraordinary women by bestowing our fourth annual Woman of Valor Award to Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Komen Race for the Cure and R. Gaull Silberman, a founder of IWF who lost her life to breast cancer this year. We honor these women because of their commitment to the human spirit and their courageous battle against breast cancer.
In 1978, Nancy Brinker promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. Suzy, her only sister, had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer when she was only 33 years old. Brinker remembers how her sister was told by one surgeon that she had been cured after undergoing a subcutaneous mastectomy. Six months later she found out that the cancer had metastasized. Ultimately, her sister lost her life to breast cancer. The lesson to be learned is that a delay of any sort, can kill you.
The IWF family is grateful to Nancy Brinker for the promise she made to her sister. Under her leadership, Komen for the Cure has invested nearly $1 billion in the fight against breast cancer. Also, we are particularly indebted to Drs. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., and Wayne Frederick at Howard University Hospital, Dr. Robynne Chutkan at Georgetown University Hospital, and many others for their caring nature and prompt screening, diagnosis, and treatment of those we love and have loved.
Recently, Nancy Brinker said that "As the American public and both political parties did when launching the war on cancer more than three decades ago, we need to summon the will to make cancer a national priority again." We couldn’t agree more.