Who Was Susan G. Komen? 

Who Was Susan G. Komen? 

During Women’s History Month, we are proud to honor the pioneers who worked for the equity of women on every front—from voting rights to equal opportunities in the workforce and health care. Susan G. Komen and her sister, Nancy Brinker, have successfully advanced access to breast health prevention, education and care; striving to remove the barriers many women face in detection and treatment for breast cancer.

Daughter, wife, mother, best friend, big sister, advocate nonprofit. Susan G. Komen is more than just the name of our organization – she was a rare light in this world: Always upbeat, cheerful and giving to others. “Suzy” was the best friend, confidante and advisor to Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen. Suzy was also a role model for being an all-around wonderful human being. She was “… the sweetest, loveliest, and most charitable person in the world,” Nancy has said.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, Suzy lost her three-year-battle with breast cancer in 1980. During this time, topics on breast cancer were not widely discussed and were even censored in newspaper headlines. Corporations avoided sponsoring cancer-related events and information was scarce—no 800 numbers, no websites, nothing for patients and families to lean on. Suzy and Nancy talked about the lack of support for patients during Suzy’s journey. When Suzy died, she left a husband, two children, and a community that loved her, but Nancy made sure she would never be forgotten.

In Her Name, So Much Good Has Happened

Nancy knew she wanted to carry on Susan’s legacy, so in 1982, Nancy founded the Susan G. Komen organization, and started a movement to connect survivors and start conversations about breast cancer. From advocating to improve patient care, to educating the public about the need for advanced research, advocacy and better treatment.  Today, Susan G. Komen provides invaluable resources to help women and men prevent, detect and fight the disease.

Continuing Suzy’s Legacy at Komen OC

We are fortunate that so many women here at Komen OC and at affiliates across the nation are continuing Suzy’s legacy. Our team is keeping Nancy’s promise to continue Susan’s legacy, by constantly working to support breast cancer research, advocate for more accessible screenings for women of all ethnicities and fund grants for our partner organizations in Orange County that are working to combat breast cancer.

We want to celebrate the trailblazers, changemakers, and everyday heroes! Have someone in mind you want to celebrate? Honor and share their story at komenoc.org/stories — and thank you!