If you haven’t yet read Nancy Brinker’s poignant story of her beautiful sister, Suzy, and Suzy’s indomitable three-year battle with breast cancer, I recommend doing so. Nancy’s promise to do everything in her power to end breast cancer eventually became Susan G. Komen®—now a name and cause known worldwide— which also launched the global breast cancer movement.
More than 30 years later, Komen has invested more than $2.6 billion to fulfill that promise through groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy, and programs in more than 30 countries. Komen has transformed how the world talks about and treats this disease, and has helped turn millions of breast cancer patients into breast cancer survivors.
Those are the impressive statistics. But before the statistics, there were simply two sisters who deeply loved each other and never dreamed this would be their future. It’s a story that has played out for millions of sisters and moms and daughters and aunts and grandmas around the world.
That’s the driving force behind Komen, the pink ribbons, and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Of necessity, we must deal in numbers and data, but each of those figures represents a “regular person”: the checkout clerk at the grocery store, other parents sitting beside you at your kids’ soccer game, people you see at church, maybe those in your own family.
Speaking of the moment she realized her sister might not recover from her cancer, Nancy Brinker said:
“In a flood of beautiful memories, I began to look back on the sacred relationship I shared with my sister. Frantically, I wrote my memories down, fearing somehow I might forget one later.”
The desire to create impressive statistics isn’t what has driven Nancy and millions of other individuals and groups and organizations to participate in the breast cancer fight. It’s the indescribable love we have for all the Suzys in our life, and our staunch refusal to let breast cancer claim any more of them. Nancy writes, “There is no way to accurately describe the void her absence left in my life.”
This passion drives corporations like Mohawk Flooring, as well. A partner with Komen since 2001, we have contributed almost $4 million dollars to Komen over the past decade. For the past three years, Mohawk Flooring and Karastan have donated a portion of all Mohawk SmartCushion and Karastan Karastep Reserve Cushion sales to Komen, raising more than $100,000 for ongoing breast cancer research through Mohawk’s Decorate for the Cure campaign.
Nancy Brinker wondered if one person could make a difference. When we all become that one person, we make a world of difference.