Women are distinctly different from men – there’s no question about it. The famed book from the 90’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, was certainly onto something. Fast forward almost 30 years, and today we are seeing movements that are communicating the beauty and strength of womanhood in a resounding manner.
Pioneering better research and education for women’s health, particularly in regards to breast cancer, Nancy Brinker is among those who have paved the way for women today. We are all familiar with the little pink ribbon that has come to symbolize breast cancer. For Nancy, the story behind the pink ribbon hits close to home. Susan Komen, Nancy’s sister, was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid 30’s. With the support of her sibling and the rest of her family, Susan underwent multiple surgeries and many rounds of chemo before succumbing to breast cancer three years after diagnosis. Before her passing, Susan made Nancy promise to find better treatment, and ultimately a cure, for breast cancer so that women would not have to suffer her same fate.
What a promise! I feel safe in saying that we all have a woman or two whom we would be willing to move the world for. Nancy has made good on her vow and has raised more than three billion dollars for breast cancer research, education and medical services. Innovative in her approach, she has received a multitude of awards for her service in furthering women’s health.
Dedication took on a whole new meaning for Brinker just as her cause was gaining some momentum. Nancy was, herself, diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy with multiple rounds of chemo. Her strength through the course of her disease and her passion to prevent other women from experiencing the tribulations of breast cancer are some of the reasons we admire Nancy. And while the sheer fact that her organization has been a contributor for the research that has led to almost all of the treatment advances for breast cancer in the last quarter century is astonishing, her efforts to destigmatize women’s health may be even more impressive.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, women’s health issues were considered taboo. In a male-dominated corporate society, men were less than eager to talk about breasts and all things ‘female’. Nancy Brinker absolutely revolutionized the way we think and talk about female health. As breast cancer became acceptable to discuss, it began to hit the radar for funding and research opportunities. The advances made in breast cancer treatment and education since Nancy’s infamous vow have saved countless lives and impacted many others.
It is because Nancy Brinker forced open the doors of communication that we are able to lobby for women’s health in a public forum. Today, not only are we talking about breast cancer and other diseases specific to women, but we are talking about pregnancy and abortion too.
Mya Women’s Center knows that every woman possesses beauty and strength that deserves to be celebrated. We stand with those who, like Nancy Brinker, fight to give women (and their health) a voice. For the encouragement to find your own voice, call for an appointment today!