Never underestimate the power (Obama awards Ambassador Nancy Brinker the Medal of Freedom)
Couldn't be more thrilled to see Ambassador Nancy Goodman Brinker receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom today. As founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Nancy was instrumental in bringing about a dramatic cultural, political, and scientific shift in the way breast cancer is perceived and treated, and the ripple effects from that have had an immeasurable impact on women's health care in America and around the world.
When Nancy's big sister Suzy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1980, there were no support groups, pink ribbon races, or 800 numbers. Media refused to print the words "breast cancer." Treatment protocols were limited and brutal. Funding and awareness efforts were tepid. Before Suzy died, Nancy promised to change all that, and over the next twenty-five years, she built one of the world’s leading grassroots organizations.
Nancy pioneered the cause-marketing model that has become the gold standard for charitable fundraising, and awarded over a billion dollars in research grants. Race for the Cure events are staged around the world, raising awareness and pumping funding into local cancer resources.
As US Ambassador to Hungary, White House Chief of Protocol during the Bush administration, and now United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, she took her cause global. And she's just getting started.
From the White House blog:
The President praised the [Medal of Freedom] recipients for breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens: "These outstanding men and women represent an incredible diversity of backgrounds. Their tremendous accomplishments span fields from science to sports, from fine arts to foreign affairs. Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change. Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way."
I've never met a more dynamic, committed, and visionary person. I'm delighted to be serving as Nancy's book sherpa on her forthcoming memoir, coming from Broadway in October of 2010. It's an amazing story.
(Scroll down and look left to pink your Twitter avatar with a Susan G. Komen for the Cure "Twibbon.")