Monday, May 7, 2012

A Promise Kept

Promise Me
How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer
By Nancy G. Brinker with Joni Rodgers

(I originally said May is Breast Cancer Awareness month but Keith clued me in that it is actually October. Somehow a room full of women got that mixed up when we decided this would be the perfect book for May. Maybe we were thinking that May means Mother's Day and we all want our mothers and grandmothers to be cancer-free.)

The book club at the library that I participate in chose Promise Me as our May book. We all know the name Susan G. Komen, but prior to reading this book, I had no idea it was her sister, Nancy G. Brinker, who founded the organization to raise awareness and fund research for breast cancer treatments. Brinker weaves the story of her life, of her sister's devastating diagnoses, and the birth and growth of the foundation in an informative and moving memoir.

Despite centering on the heartbreaking topic of breast cancer, Promise Me is hopeful and engaging. Each chapter about the sisters' lives is balanced with a shorter chapter celebrating the researchers and survivors of breast cancer or honoring those who have died of the disease. Clearly, Brinker views the fight against breast cancer not just as a personal one, but as a universal cause. Brinker writes honestly about the struggles in her life, with her relationships, her own diagnoses of breast cancer, and the differing opinions of effective treatments and research in the search for a cure.

The one part that really sticks in my mind is that though Susan G. Komen is in it for the long haul, they haven't constructed their own building for the organizations headquarters because they have no intentions of needing to be around for decades. They expect to find a cure.

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