Susan G. Komen for the Cure Presents Awards of Distinction for Advocacy, Community, Global, Lifetime and Scientific Contributions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 17, 2010 – Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, united global leaders, philanthropists, celebrities, performers, scientists and medical pioneers in the Eisenhower Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last night for “Honoring the Promise.” The evening marked the first 30 years of the breast cancer movement and set the stage for continuing progress in the global fight against the disease.
The gala evening honored the significant contributions set in motion by a promise between two sisters 30 years ago. Komen for the Cure Founder and CEO Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end the disease that claimed Susan’s life. Brinker founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 1982 in her sister’s memory.
“While this evening is a reflection on our past 30 years of work, I’m here for the next 30 years,” Brinker said in her keynote speech. “We’re going to find a simple, inexpensive test to find cancers early. We’re going to learn how to accurately determine which cancers will grow quickly and those that won’t. We’re going to find treatments for those women with metastatic disease and aggressive cancers and we’re going to see that every woman in the world has access to care from Bethesda to Bangladesh. Then, and only then, the promise I made 30 years ago to my sister Suzy will be complete."
In one generation, Komen has forever changed the way the disease is talked about and treated, touching every medical advance in the fight against breast cancer. Komen funding has helped deliver more accurate screening technologies, targeted therapies and an increase in survival rates from 74 percent in 1982 to more than 98 percent for early stage breast cancer today – an increase reflected in the faces of the 2.5 million breast cancer survivors alive in the U.S. today.
Breast cancer survivor Robin Roberts, anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” emceed the evening’s program which featured performances by actress and singer Lynda Carter, pianist ELEW, Australian singer and cancer survivor Delta Goodrem, Broadway legend Stephanie Mills, breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John and the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Choir.
Actress Cynthia Nixon, also a breast cancer survivor and ambassador for Komen for the Cure, led a tribute to breast cancer survivors while Komen supporters, including fashion designer Tory Burch, actor Ricardo Chavira, actress Gabrielle Union, breast cancer survivor Jennifer Griffin from FOX News Channel, Brinker, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Dr. Eric Winer, chief scientific advisor for Komen presented the evening’s Awards of Distinction in five categories.
Honorees for the Awards of Distinction were Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) for Advocacy; the District’s First Lady Michelle Fenty for Community Distinction; Drs. V. Craig Jordan, Mary-Claire King and LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. for Scientific and Medical; Ida Odinga, wife of the Prime Minister of Kenya for Global Leadership and Mrs. Laura W. Bush for Lifetime Achievement. The collective achievements of these honorees include the advent of therapeutic agents such as tamoxifen, the discovery of a gene mutation linking inherited risk for breast cancer, and activism to break the silence around this disease outside our borders.
The friends and family of Rebecca Lipkin, a producer with ABC News and the Al Jazeera network in London who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009, hosted a special pre-reception honoring women in media who have courageously and publicly shared their personal battles with breast cancer. Honorees were breast cancer survivors Jill Dougherty from CNN, Griffin, political commentator Laura Ingraham, Roberts, Reuters correspondent Deborah Thomas, NBC’s Anne Thompson, Mitchell and W*USA-TV news anchor Andrea Roane. Additionally, David Rubenstein, chairman of the Kennedy Center, was presented with the Award for Philanthropic Distinction in support of his understanding of how philanthropy can change the world.
Rubenstein, along with his wife Alice, served as founding chairs alongside honorary chairs the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait and Mrs. Salem Al-Sabah, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and French Ambassador Pierre Vimont. The evening gala was chaired by noted philanthropist Annie Totah with co-chairs Jane and Spencer Abraham, Grace and Morton Bender, Deborah Dingell, Rhoda and Dan Glickman, Hadassah Lieberman, Ginger and Stuart Pape, Vanessa and Thomas Reed and Young Professionals Chair Ashley Taylor.