By Nancy G. Brinker
Suzy and Nancy Goodman have been greater than sisters. They have been top buddies, confidantes, and companions within the grand event of lifestyles. for 3 a long time, not anything may possibly separate them. no longer university, now not marriage, now not miles. Then Suzy acquired unwell. She was once clinically determined with breast melanoma in 1977; 3 agonizing years later, at thirty-six, she died.
It wasn’t speculated to be this manner. The Goodman ladies have been raised in postwar Peoria, Illinois, via mom and dad who believed that small acts of charity may perhaps swap the area. Suzy used to be the large sister—the homecoming queen with an infectious enthusiasm and a beneficiant center. Nancy used to be the little sister—the tomboy with an oversized experience of justice who desired to correct all wrongs. The sisters shared make-up tips, relationship secrets and techniques, plans for glamorous myth careers. They spent one memorable summer season in Europe learning a huge international faraway from Peoria. They imagined a longevity together—one within which they’d become old jointly surrounded by means of childrens and grandchildren.
Suzy’s prognosis shattered that dream.
In 1977, breast melanoma used to be nonetheless shrouded in stigma and disgrace. no one spoke of early detection and mammograms. not anyone might even say the phrases “breast” and “cancer” jointly in well mannered corporation, not to mention on tv information proclaims. With Nancy at her part, Suzy continued the various indignities of melanoma therapy, from the bleak, soul-killing ready rooms to the errors of well-meaning yet misinformed medical professionals. That’s while Suzy started to ask Nancy to vow. to vow to finish the silence. to vow to elevate funds for clinical study. to vow to 1 day healing breast melanoma for strong. huge, shoot-for-the-moon provides that Nancy by no means dreamed she may satisfy. yet she promised simply because this was once her liked sister.
I promise, Suzy. . . . whether it takes the remainder of my life.
Suzy’s death—both surprising and senseless—created a deep discomfort in Nancy that by no means absolutely went away. yet she quickly stumbled on an invaluable outlet for her grief and outrage. Armed purely with a shoebox packed with the names of capability donors, Nancy positioned her ambitious fund-raising skills to paintings and quick chanced on a groundswell of grassroots aid. She was once aided in her venture through the loving tutelage of her husband, eating place multi-millionaire Norman Brinker, whose dynamic method of entrepreneurship turned Nancy’s version for working her beginning. Her account of the way she and Norman met, fell in love, and controlled to accomplish the elusive “true marriage of equals” is among the nice grown-up love tales between contemporary memoirs.
Nancy’s challenge to alter the way in which the realm spoke of and taken care of breast melanoma took on additional urgency while she used to be herself clinically determined with the ailment in 1984, a terrifying bankruptcy in her lifestyles that she had lengthy feared. not like her sister, Nancy survived and went directly to make Susan G. Komen for the medication into the main influential future health charity within the kingdom and arguably the area. A pioneering strength in cause-related advertising, SGK became the red ribbon right into a image of wish all over the place. every year, hundreds of thousands of individuals world wide participate in SGK Race for the medication occasions. and because of the greater than $1.5 billion spent by means of SGK for state of the art study and neighborhood courses, a breast melanoma prognosis this day isn't any longer a dying sentence. in truth, within the time because Suzy’s demise, the five-year survival expense for breast melanoma has risen from seventy four percentage to ninety eight percent.
Promise Me is a deeply relocating tale of relatives and sisterhood, the dramatic “30,000-foot view” of the democratization of a disorder, and a hovering affirmative to the query: Can one individual actually make a difference?
From the Hardcover edition.