The Susan G. Komen Blogger Summit – What’s That?

In Breast Cancer, Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

SGK feature 2

For those who have followed my blogging over the years, you are well aware that my major objectives have been to find resources and help to assist with the breast cancer journey and to provide updated information on what is happening in the world of research and testing so that you can be your own patient advocate when determining treatment options with your medical teams. This has led to untold hours and hours of researching endless data from universities, pharmaceutical companies, research labs and an endless number of news stories about what is occurring around the world. However, I have never looked at a large organization like the Susan G. Komen group for information so when I received an invitation to attend a Special VIP Blogger Summit in Washington, DC in connection with the 25th anniversary of their Global Race, I accepted the opportunity to learn firsthand what they do. Boy, was I ever amazed.

The greatest takeaway for me was that she didn’t want women dealing with breast cancer to have to be worried about the money for rent and food and treatment and child care, etc. at a time when they are dealing with enough stress from the cancer journey itself. Of course, this touched my heart, as this has always been one of my greatest concerns, too.

As I joined 8 other invitees and a team from the SKG organization, the first thing that I noted was that each of us was doing blogging for a very personal reason and that brought a wide variety of experiences from our personal worlds. I can’t begin to share all that I learned in this blog but please know that I will be providing more information in future blogs and directly on my websites. However, three things stood out from our meetings that had the greatest impact on me that I need to share.

First, and most important, I was not aware that the proceeds from the races are shared by putting 75% of the money right back into programs and assistance in the communities that hosted the events. The remaining 25% is put directly into funding research. Yes, all of the proceeds go back into our communities and research. I saw the reality of this by meeting the people from Nueva Vida and DC Pink Divas, two organizations who are currently receiving funding from the Komen organization for their very unique programs helping underserved women in their communities. I met two of the current researchers, Dr. Neil L. Spector, M.D and Dr. Priscilla Brastianos, M.D., who have received grants from the Komen group and heard not only about the current areas in which they are conducting their research but also their very powerful personal stories about what has driven then to find the answers they are seeking.

Second, I was very appreciative that the founder, Nancy Brinker, stopped by to greet us and to thank us for being there. I always have been touched by the fact that this organization was founded and named as a tribute to her sister who died from breast cancer. In addition, the current President and CEO Dr. Judith A. Salerno spent time with us to share her views and visions for the future of the organization. The greatest takeaway for me was that she didn’t want women dealing with breast cancer to have to be worried about the money for rent and food and treatment and child care, etc. at a time when they are dealing with enough stress from the cancer journey itself. Of course, this touched my heart, as this has always been one of my greatest concerns, too.

Third, the team from the SGK organization met with us to find out what they can do better to reach all of us with regard to sharing the information and resources that are available to all of us. I must say that I was not aware of everything that is available on their current website just because I, like most others, do not have the time nor the inclination to try to really locate all of the resources that they provide. With so many organizations providing different types of information and help, it becomes overwhelming to visit even a small portion of them to find out whether so much as one need that we have is being provided by a particular group. To care enough to make changes to help us to quickly locate that information on their site is certainly a sign to me that this is a group of people who really care in a very special way.

I would like to give one more shout out and that is to New Balance for their 25 years of partnership with Komen and their lace up 365 campaign. They provided each of the 9 of us with a new pair of shoes. I know that each time that I see those shoes I will remember one of the most fantastic adventures that I have experienced and I am now planning to use them to get ready for and participate in my first 5K event after having raised lots of money for the Susan G. Komen organization and giving back in that very special and unique way that each of us can do.