Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
I had the honor this week of being one of five nationwide representatives from Susan G. Komen to be recognized as a Champion of Change at the White House and to participate in the round table discussion with other breast cancer activists and advocates about ending breast cancer forever.
I was deeply impressed with the tremendous capacity of intellectual talent and passion devoted to this cause that was exhibited at the White House event. It was also a good reminder of the goals and objectives of the many different breast cancer organizations and institutions. What we are striving for occasionally gets misplaced in the frantic pace of the world, in efforts to differentiate ourselves from one another and in debates including those around the “pinking of the cause”, confusing screening guidelines and the, as yet, unsuccessful achievement of providing access for everyone, everywhere to gold standards of care. It was a reminder to stay focused.
By participating in the White House Champions for Change event, I was reinvigorated to stay true to our mission, Our Promise, at Susan G. Komen that reflects a pointed and appropriate pathway to finding the cures for this dreadful disease. For the Maryland Affiliate, this means continuing to raise money through two Race for the Cures, one in Hunt Valley in Baltimore County on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 and one in Ocean City on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012. In addition to our two races, there are a multitude of other fundraising opportunities in these and other communities that offer a way to support the cause, network and hopefully, have fun!
One of the basic tenets of the Champions for Change program is to highlight educational efforts that further this and other causes in the country. For Susan G. Komen, education is at the forefront of what we do and has been a main reason we are witnessing the trend of breast cancer evolving from a fatal disease to one requiring chronic management or better yet, to being cured. Education of our communities around prevention and early detection of breast cancer is fundamental to our outreach efforts. Education of patients and clients from healthcare providers around clinical trials and direct services is what our grantees do. Education around the biology, etiology and treatment of breast cancer is what our researchers do. In the spirit of educating yourself about Komen Maryland and taking to heart our new message of Less Talk, More Action go to www.komenmd.org and join us one way or another in our fight to end breast cancer forever.
Robin Prothro is the Executive Director of Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure