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RIAA’s top digital Country male
artist of all time, Jason Aldean, continues to be "one of Country music’s
emblematic superstars,” according to Hits
Daily Double. After recently earning his 17th career number one, the Academy
of Country Music’s “Entertainer of the Year” deploys “A Little More Summertime”
to Country Radio, serving as the second release from the multiplatinum singer’s
upcoming album. Teaming up with longtime producer, Michael Knox, on the
forthcoming album, Aldean, according to The
Oklahoman, has "never been afraid to let his diverse musical interests
influence his sound,” as each album released has earned PLATINUM or better.
Since 2004, Aldean has continued to find new ways to raise awareness for breast
cancer research, after launching his Concert for the Cure, an annual benefit
performance that has raised more than $2 million on behalf of Susan G. Komen.
After losing a dear friend to the disease, Jason continues to donate a portion
of each ticket sale toward his longstanding partner, while also honoring one
breast cancer survivor and guest during his 2016 SIX STRING CIRCUS, with a VIP
backstage meet-and-greet experience. His headlining tour continues to dominate
the country music scene, as Aldean hosts sold-out amphitheaters throughout the
Sanzio Angeli and Dylan Whitesel
Teenaged friends Dylan Whitesel and Sanzio Angeli had a cause: to support Dylan’s mother, who had been diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer when he was in the 7th grade, and to help fight breast cancer in a big way. Out of this commitment came Rocket4theCure, which Dylan and Sanzio created to raise money for the battle against breast cancer. And they broke a world record while they were at it. On October 26, 2014, the two friends launched 3,973 rockets simultaneously, shattering the Guinness World Record. The rockets, which people could sponsor in honor or memory of a loved one, were such a successful fundraiser that Dylan and Sanzio were able to donate $20,000 to Komen Central Virginia, for breast cancer research, treatment and awareness programs.
Nancy G. Brinker
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life at the age of 36, in 1980. Nancy was by her sister’s side throughout her ordeal, witnessing firsthand the lack of information, and the shame, stigma and isolation that breast cancer carried with it in the 1970s. She set out in 1982 to fulfill her promise to Suzy, and launched what would become a global movement dedicated to ending breast cancer. Named in Suzy’s honor, Susan G. Komen is today the largest breast cancer organization, working in thousands of U.S. communities and in 30 countries around the world. Komen has funded more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside the U.S. government and invested billions in advocacy, global and community programs to ensure that all people facing breast cancer have resources and support that they need. Nancy Brinker’s work on behalf of those facing breast cancer earned her the nation’s highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2009. In 2010, Nancy authored the New York Times best-selling memoir, Promise Me, How a Sister’s Love Launched a Global Movement to End Breast Cancer, setting forth over 38 years of work to honor her promise.
Laura Bush, former
First Lady of the United States, is an advocate for women's health, literacy, education and women's rights. Mrs. Bush’s commitment to breast cancer began decades ago when she was a volunteer for Susan G. Komen in Dallas, Texas in the 1990s, and grew as First Lady of the United States to include the launch of a global breast cancer education effort through the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research and the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas, which united the resources of researchers and advocates in the United States and around the world. She also led a group of physicians, survivors and community leaders for a global summit on breast cancer in Hungary with advocates from 30 other countries. Through the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Mrs. Bush continues to work toward saving lives from breast cancer in countries where the need is greatest. The Bush Institute’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative was launched in partnership with PEPFAR, Susan G. Komen, and UNAIDS to provide services for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer, and to prevent and treat cervical cancer with locally adapted solutions.
As a WWE Superstar and 15-time World Champion, John Cena combines his athleticism, charisma, strong work ethic and genuine personality to make him one of the brightest stars in WWE and its hit cable program SmackDown Live on the USA Network. John devotes much of his time working on behalf of numerous charitable causes. Beginning in 2012, he has led WWE's partnership with Susan G. Komen. Special-edition Cena and WWE merchandise debuted during this campaign and to date has helped raise nearly $2 million to help Komen support research and community outreach programs and has inspired millions to take action against breast cancer.
John & Debbie Dingell
A lifetime advocate for protecting public health, Rep. John
Dingell’s nearly 60-year tenure in Congress included fights for civil rights,
Medicare, food and drug safety, and more. He was a champion of the Affordable
Care Act, the Patient’s Bill of Rights, the Mammography Quality Standards Act
and many other important pieces of health legislation. After marrying in 1981,
Debbie and John became partners in their efforts to support health in America.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, whose career began in the private sector, worked to
elevate programs that support women and children, including many years of
supporting Komen’s breast cancer advocacy efforts. Today, she represents
Michigan’s 12th district – the seat previously held by her husband. She is
founder and past chair of the National Women’s Health Resource Center and has
successfully fought to have women included in federally funded health research,
advocated for greater awareness of women’s health issues, including breast
cancer and women's heart health, and is expanding the Dingells’ legacy in
public health policy.
Mary Elliott has dedicated her life to helping others facing breast cancer. A 26-year survivor, Mary began her activism in Houston, Texas, by founding the breast cancer support group WINGS. She went on to also help found the Susan G. Komen Northeast Louisiana Affiliate, serve on Komen’s National Board of Directors, and launch Komen’s research advocacy movement, which ensures that the patient’s voice is at the forefront of Komen funding decisions. She played a key role in the grassroots advocacy efforts, including "Do the Write Thing" and “$300 Million More,” that led to the creation of the Department of Defense medical research program and increased federal funding for breast cancer research in the 1990s. Motivated by her passion to ensure her daughter, granddaughters and great-granddaughter do not have to face breast cancer, Mary continues to bring the patient voice to many critical discussions about breast cancer research, medicine and policy at the local, state and national levels. Her promise: “Until we have a cure, I will continue to give back.”
Dr. Bernard Fisher
Prior to the 1970’s, women diagnosed with breast cancer underwent radical mastectomy. Bernard Fisher, a Pittsburgh surgeon who performed a number of those operations, realized that many of his patients did not receive long-term benefit from mastectomy. Laboratory investigations in cancer biology that Dr. Fisher began in the 1950s led him to challenge the prevailing dogma guiding breast cancer surgery and treatment and to propose that cancer cells detached from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body. Fisher pioneered the conduct of large, randomized clinical trials which provided the clinical evidence that supported treatment with breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), systemic chemotherapy and radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancers. Although his ideas were initially met with sharp criticism, these treatments are now the standard of care. Dr. Fisher’s laboratory and clinical investigations – which have spanned six decades – have led to more-effective therapy, increased survival rates, and improved quality of life for women with breast cancer.
First Lady Betty Ford stunned the world in 1974 when, just weeks after entering the White House, she and her family announced that Mrs. Ford had breast cancer and had undergone a mastectomy. Her candor was unheard of at the time, especially for a public figure speaking so candidly about a disease that until then was relegated to whispers of fear. Her tireless advocacy emboldened and inspired millions of women in America and around the world to get breast cancer screenings. As one historian concluded, the history of women’s health is divided into two distinct eras – before Betty; and after Betty. Mrs. Ford actively supported women with breast cancer for many years through the Susan G. Komen organization and the American Cancer Society. Her daughter, Susan Ford Bales, proudly carries on her mother’s remarkable legacy of compassion and courage. Betty Ford died in 2011, at age 93.
Nela Hasic’s life was changed in 1992 when Bosnia’s capital of Sarajevo – Nela’s home – came under siege. She received a call from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) saying that “JDC and the Jewish community are airlifting members of the Bosnian community to safety in half an hour.” She and her two children left their home, unsure whether they would ever return. After living as refugees for six months in Europe, Nela reunited with her husband and the family moved to Israel. After a decade starting anew in Israel, Nela and her family returned to Bosnia. Then a call from the JDC changed her life again. She was asked to lead JDC's Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) in Bosnia – a Komen-funded program that offers support and promotes the early detection of breast cancer. Nela’s incredible work has changed the way Bosnians think about breast cancer. She has fostered friendship and harmony in a politically divided country, bringing together women of all backgrounds and faiths for one reason: to transform women’s health.
Oscar De La Hoya
Oscar De La Hoya, otherwise known internationally as “The Golden Boy,” is an Olympic gold medalist, 10-time boxing world champion in six different weight classes, entrepreneur, business man and philanthropist. In 1990, Oscar lost his mother, Cecilia Gonzalez De La Hoya, to breast cancer, leaving behind her three children and husband. To honor his mother’s memory, Oscar has used his renowned status to provide assistance to breast cancer centers and programs around the world. In April 2000, Oscar established the Cecilia Gonzalez De La Hoya Cancer Center – in memory of his mother – at White Memorial Hospital in the East Los Angeles community where he grew up. Oscar’s contributions have provided support for mammography screening, breast cancer treatment, and a variety of other women’s health screenings. Oscar recently worked alongside Susan G. Komen in Puerto Rico to create a documentary short titled The Greatest Fight, in which he spoke to the Latin American audience about the fight, power, and strength of everyday heroes who are currently battling breast cancer. In July 2016, Oscar’s boxing promotions company, Golden Boy Promotions, hosted a night of live boxing in Los Angeles with officers of the Los Angeles Police Department going toe-to-toe with those from the New York Police Department, benefiting Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County.
Lorraine Hutchinson is the first and only African-American woman in the history of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to hold a Deputy Chief title. Her courage and determination was an inspiration to her community long before she began advocating for breast cancer survivors. Lorraine was diagnosed with breast cancer and diabetes within a four-month period, and she knew she needed to do more than just fight both diseases. Throughout her breast cancer treatment, Lorraine made healthy lifestyle changes and lost 35 pounds. Today she has no sign of breast cancer. Lorraine is very active with Komen San Diego and continues to share her story with fellow survivors and those living with breast cancer. Her primary focus is San Diego County’s African-American community, where breast cancer mortality is nearly 40 percent higher than women of other ethnicities. She teaches the importance of being a personal advocate – getting regular mammograms, being aware of risks, and living a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. V. Craig Jordan
In 1972, the failed contraceptive drug tamoxifen was nearly abandoned on a shelf in a pharmaceutical laboratory. But Dr. V. Craig Jordan, a young scientist, began researching the idea that tamoxifen could block estrogen receptors in breast tumors. His work gave this once-disappointing drug a new purpose, and gave women with hormone-driven breast cancers an effective way to reduce the risk of recurrence of – and in some cases, prevent – hormone-responsive breast cancer. Sometimes called the “Father of Tamoxifen” for discovering the role of this drug in breast cancer, his work to reinvent tamoxifen as a breast cancer treatment has saved many lives. Dr. Jordan continues, with Komen funding, to study tamoxifen and other selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), focusing on how breast cancers become resistant to these drugs and ways to overcome this.
Dr. Mary-Claire King
In the 1970’s, most scientists believed breast cancer was caused by viruses. But Dr. Mary-Claire King, a passionate geneticist, dared to ask a different question: can inherited genetic mutations be responsible for breast cancer? The answer: yes. In 1990, Dr. King and her colleagues showed that inherited mutations in a gene on chromosome 17 – that she named BRCA1 (for BReast CAncer) – were responsible for breast and ovarian cancer in some families. Her findings revolutionized the study of breast cancer and other hereditary diseases. Dr. King’s work has given women and families worldwide the opportunity to learn their risk for breast cancer, and use this information to make lifesaving decisions about their breast health. She continues, with Komen funding, to investigate mechanisms for inherited breast cancer.
Sandra Lee is a multiple Emmy Award winner, best-selling author of 27 books, website and magazine Editor-in-Chief, and Special Contributor to Good Morning America. She has created and hosted a multitude of shows for HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Great American Country and has had a decade long reign as the leading international expert of all things life and style – from food to fashion. In March 2015, Sandra was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and publicly documented her story, leading up to her decision to undergo a double mastectomy just weeks after her diagnosis. Ms. Lee has been honored on Capitol Hill with the Congressional Families “Excellence in Cancer Awareness Award,” Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation’s “Val-Kill Medal of Honor” and the “Spirit of Life Award” from City of Hope. Sandra has also received the “Presidents Volunteer Service Award” and the “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” for her outspoken Activism and Advocacy on behalf of women and children's health and well-being.
Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr.
Over a career spanning more than half a century, surgeon Dr. LaSalle Leffall has taught more than 6,000 medical students and trained hundreds of surgical residents. At 86, Dr. Leffall remains active with the Howard University Medical College and University Hospital in Washington, D.C. His professional life has been devoted to the study of cancer, particularly its disparate impact on African-Americans. As the first African-American national president of the American Cancer Society, he launched a program focusing on the increasing incidence and mortality of cancer in this community and the implications for other racial and ethnic groups. This work was supported by Susan G. Komen, which in 2006 established the LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. Komen Fellowship in Health Disparities. Leffall served as president, American College of Surgeons 1995-1996, and Susan G. Komen board chairman from 2002-2007 and 2011-2012.
Dr. Susan Love
Susan M. Love, M.D., MBA, has dedicated her professional life to the eradication of breast cancer. As chief visionary officer of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, she oversees an innovative research program centered on breast cancer cause and prevention. She is also a clinical professor of surgery at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. One of the founders of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Dr. Love is well known as a trusted guide to women worldwide through her book, Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, now in its sixth edition, as well as the Foundation’s ImPatient Science™ program. Other initiatives include the Army of Women®, developed to partner women and scientists to accelerate research, and the Health of Women (HOW) Study™. Collaborative research projects include an NIH-funded self-reading ultrasound for triage of palpable breast lumps, a study to document the anatomy of the breast ductal system, and an investigation into the microbiome of the breast ducts. A graduate of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York, she trained at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, was an early member of the Multidisciplinary Breast Center at Dana Farber Cancer Center, and founded the Faulkner Breast Center and the Revlon UCLA Breast Center.
Pippa Mann is a British racing car driver and team member of Dale Coyne Racing. In 2014, Pippa announced a partnership with Susan G. Komen, and each year since has driven the No. 63 Susan G. Komen racing car in the Indianapolis 500 – her car, helmet and firesuit outfitted with the Komen logo. In addition to being the only female to participate in the May 2016 Indy 500 run, Pippa launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding effort, The Pink #GetInvolved campaign, to raise awareness and funds on behalf of Susan G. Komen in support of early detection, treatment, and research. In addition to her personal family connection to breast cancer, Pippa is motivated by those currently battling the disease, as she looks to return to the track and once again raise awareness and funds for Komen.
Losing a dear friend to breast cancer made Tina McDonough realize that she had to do something to ensure that no one else died of the disease. In 2007, Tina began walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, where participants walk 60 miles in three days, raising a minimum of $2,300 per walker. Her team, “Valley Girls and Guys!” continued to grow each year and today is one of the largest 3-Day teams in the country. To date, her team has raised more than $2.6 million for breast cancer research and community programs. Tina is more than a team captain. She is a true leader, rallying others in the fight against breast cancer. But walking wasn’t enough for her. In Tina’s hometown of Seattle, she founded her own nonprofit with the goal of providing direct patient support to women and families battling breast cancer.
Shirley Mertz believed she “beat” early-stage breast cancer in 1991. But 12 years later, the breast cancer returned as metastatic – treatable, but not curable. The high school principal leapt into action and sought training about the disease. She then used her voice and story to impact other patients who remained forgotten and in the shadows. Utilizing skills as an educator and organizer and her position as President of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, Shirley built awareness of the disease, demanded more research, and insisted on more services for patients. In 2013 she represented MBCN as a founding member of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance – a coalition of breast cancer organizations (including Susan G. Komen), private businesses, and advocates, working together for more research and recognition for patients. One of the nation’s most influential metastatic breast cancer advocates, Shirley was honored in 2011 by the White House as a Champion of Change.
Princess Dina Mired
HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan is a leading global figure in the fight against all cancers. When Princess Dina led the Jordan Breast Cancer Program as Honorary Chairperson in 2007, a staggering 70 percent of Jordanian women presented at advanced stages of breast cancer due to debilitating stigma. Princess Dina saw this as “a fight against taboo, fear, ignorance, and a fight for human rights and women’s rights all in one.” She was instrumental in founding the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research in 2007 and served as Director General of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (2002-2016). In September 2011, Princess Dina delivered the keynote speech on behalf of all civil society at the first-ever high-level meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s). She is honorary president of the Harvard University Global Task Force for Expanded Access to Cancer Control and Care in the Developing World, and a 2015 recipient of (IARC) Medal of Honor. Most importantly, today the deadly statistic of 70 percent in Jordan has been halved, and Jordanian women now have a real chance for a cure.
Adamari López is co-host of TELEMUNDO’s daily morning show “Un Nuevo Día,” winner of two National Emmy Awards for ‘Outstanding Morning Show in Spanish language.’ With more than 20 telenovelas, seven plays, five films and countless guest appearances under her belt, Adamari is one of the most cherished stars for Spanish-language television viewers around the world. In 2005, Adamari was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since undergoing treatment and surgery, she has campaigned for awareness and support in finding cures for the disease. In addition to fundraising and participating in Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, Adamari worked alongside Komen and Yoplait on the Hispanic Lids for Life campaign. For five consecutive years, she led the charge in raising funds and promoting early detection throughout the Latina community. In 2016, she teamed up with Komen and Telemundo to launch “Historias de Heroes,” a program that spotlights breast cancer survivors – nationally recognizing them on Adamari’s renowned morning show, Un Nuevo Dia. Adamari continues to publicly share her story of strength and survival to inspire and motivate others to make an impact.
Dr. Olufunmilayo (Funmi) Olopade
Dr. Olufunmilayo “Funmi” Olopade is a world-renowned
investigator, leading the breast cancer field in the use of genomics research
to impact public health and overcome disparities on a global scale. Her work
has shifted the dialogue around the breast cancer mortality gap affecting African-American
women (once assumed to be solely caused by socioeconomic or cultural factors). In
the early 1990s, Dr. Olopade opened one of the first genetic testing clinics in the
country. In 1996, Dr. Olopade wrote a
frank editorial in the New England Journal of
Medicine declaring that it was time to begin using genetic testing
in earnest for cancer risk assessment and personalized cancer therapies. With
support from Komen, Dr. Olopade currently leads a large-scale study of women of
African descent to better understand the effect of genetic and non-genetic
factors on breast cancer risk, incidence of early onset breast cancer, and
triple negative breast cancer among women of African ancestry.
At 24 years old in 2015, Olivia Quigley, who had autism, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. One month after her diagnosis, Olivia was invited to compete in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, an event for which she had spent years training. After five months of chemotherapy treatments, and one month shy of completing treatment, Olivia was determined to participate in the World Games in Los Angeles. Despite fatigue and pain, Olivia won two gold medals and one silver medal in 2015, all of which she dedicated to women around the world currently battling breast cancer. Olivia saw her experience as an opportunity to inspire others, and inspire she did. She died of breast cancer on November 8, 2016. We honor her memory, and will never forget her.
A prominent journalist and NBC news correspondent, Betty Rollin was no stranger to controversy in 1976 when she wrote First, You Cry, a compelling, witty and brutally honest account of her treatment for breast cancer. The book was a stunner because of its openness at a time when breast cancer—any kind of cancer— was usually kept secret. Rollin broke ground in the book by writing openly about her concerns about her appearance and about the emotional and physical aftermath of breast cancer as she experienced it. The book was controversial: many women criticized Rollin for worrying about appearance when her life was at stake. Ms. Rollin, however, struck a chord with millions of others, who praised her for putting into words what they could not. First, You Cry became a best-seller, was made into a television movie, and has been published in several languages and editions. Ms. Rollin lives in New York City.
Richard Roundtree was the ultimate macho detective in the 1970s film classic, Shaft. He became a hero of a different kind 20 years later by acknowledging his own breast cancer diagnosis. The hugely popular action movie hero was diagnosed after feeling a lump in his chest in 1993. “It bowled me over – women get this, not men,” he said in one of many interviews he conducted to educate men about the disease. Roundtree underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy and has been cancer-free since. In 2016, about 2,600 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in the U.S., and about 440 men in the U.S. are expected to die of breast cancer. Roundtree continues to tell his story through the Susan G. Komen organization, and others, so that men understand that they too, can get breast cancer.
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Elected in 2004 to represent the people in the 23rd District of South Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a tireless advocate for women, children and families, writing numerous bills to advance their health, safety and security. Wasserman Schultz was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41 and while undergoing seven surgeries to remove her cancer, continued to serve in Congress and never missed a vote. Rep. Wasserman Schultz has prioritized issues related to women’s health and breast cancer, perhaps most notably the introduction of the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act (or EARLY Act, H.R. 1740). This legislation developed and implemented a national education campaign to raise young women’s awareness about their breast health, became law as part of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, and was reauthorized in 2014. Wasserman Schultz also worked tirelessly when conflicting guidelines on breast cancer screening left women concerned about access to care, championing legislation to ensure that women in their 40s can continue receiving insurance-covered mammograms.
Vanessa and Arnaldo Silva
If not for her father, Vanessa Silva says she wouldn’t be alive today. After being diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago, Arnaldo received genetic testing and learned he carried the BRCA2 gene mutation. Doctors encouraged his family to be tested. Arnaldo’s daughter Vanessa, then 32, was tested for the gene and had a mammogram for precautionary measures and a baseline. Unfortunately, she carried the same mutation and was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Arnaldo turned the shame and stigma of his diagnosis into strength, battling the disease hand-in-hand with his daughter. The father-daughter duo is passionate about heightening awareness surrounding male breast cancer. Through speaking engagements, a foundation called Live-In-Faith-Everyday (LIFE), and a documentary entitled “Men Have Breasts Too,” this family has encouraged men across the globe to speak publicly about their battle against the disease. Not only did breast cancer strengthen their relationship, it also helped them create a platform to save lives – just as Arnaldo did for his daughter.
High school golf coach and special education teacher Roger Smith’s parents died of cancer. Losing his biggest supporters empowered Roger to advocate on behalf of early detection and the importance of personal health, both on the course and in the classroom. This life-changing experience, as well as seeing his peers and friends die of various types of cancer, led him to organize his first Rally for the Cure® golf tournament. The goal of Rally for the Cure is to educate women about breast cancer and the importance of early detection. Since his first Rally in 2006, Roger’s golf teams have raised nearly $20,000 for breast cancer research. Roger’s teams are the longest continually running Rally high school event in the program. Rally for the Cure is more than just an event for Roger and his students. It’s a reminder that any action – big or small – can make a difference in the lives those fighting for their lives.
When her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, Neel
Stallings of Charlotte, N.C., vowed to do everything she could to support other
survivors. After helping launch the first Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure in
1997, her vow became even more personal in 1999, when she herself was diagnosed
with breast cancer while serving as Co-chair of the Komen Charlotte Race. As a
long-time Komen volunteer and now a two-time survivor, Neel and her sister
launched a program to educate Girl Scouts about breast cancer; she designed and
facilitated leadership training for Komen volunteers across the country; and
she represented Komen as one of 25 U.S. delegates to the first Global Advocate
Summit in Budapest, Hungary, in 2007, and later as a panelist at the first
Middle East/North Africa Breast Cancer Advocacy Conference in Amman, Jordan.
Twenty years later, Neel remains a passionate educator and advocate. “I’m not
going to stop until we have a world without breast cancer.”
In 2003, Allison’s mother, just 34 years old, died of breast cancer, leaving behind Allison, 3, and sisters Laura, 6, and Kelley, 8 months. Each year since, Allison and her family have participated in Washington D.C.’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in honor of their mother. In 2016, at age 15, Allison raised $21,428, making her the second largest fundraiser for the D.C. Race. Together with her family, Allison has raised more than $200,000 for the fight against breast cancer.
After battling Stage III breast cancer in three areas of her breast, Cecilia Villalva showed no evidence of the disease. Three years later she visited the doctor for what she thought was just back and hip pain. There, she learned her breast cancer had returned, and metastasized. During her first diagnosis, Cecilia received a care package from the Komen San Antonio Affiliate, who she coincidentally shared an office building with. Her family started getting involved with the Affiliate, attending events such as Race for the Cure and other fundraisers. Her relationship and commitment to the Affiliate continued to strengthen. Now, she regularly speaks at local events to empower women in the community to know their bodies and get screened. Despite her diagnosis, Cecilia continues to fight for her life, while also taking time to educate others in the hopes that no one will go through their diagnosis alone.
National Football League star DeAngelo Williams knows all
too painfully the damage that breast cancer can wreak on a family. The
Pittsburgh Steeler and former Carolina Panthers running back lost four aunts to
the disease – all before they turned 50. DeAngelo’s mother lost her
battle with breast cancer in 2014 at age 53. Williams took action,
creating the DeAngelo Williams Foundation in his family’s honor in 2006,
funding mammograms for women in need through his 53 Strong for
Sandra initiative. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for community
programs that help vulnerable women get the screenings they otherwise could not
afford. Williams also honors his mother and aunts by dying the tips of his hair
and painting his toenails pink during the NFL season and beyond.
Dr. Lori Wilson
Dr. Lori Wilson's childhood dream to be a surgeon became a reality as she built a career in surgical oncology. Yet she could not have imagined the impact cancer would have on her life. Along with helping hundreds of cancer patients throughout her lifetime, Dr. Wilson watched both of her parents battle the disease. And in the summer of 2013, Dr. Wilson's life was changed when she was diagnosed with two different types of breast cancer. As she entered treatment, Dr. Wilson agreed to share her journey for the documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, hoping her experience would help others. Once she was disease-free, Dr. Wilson's first priority was to leverage her journey to develop better ways to serve patients. She shares her unique perspective with new surgical residents at Howard University Hospital, and works tirelessly to shed light on the health disparities that exist in breast cancer.
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