The Power of Support

What comes to mind when you think about breast cancer awareness? Is it a friend or family member that you know who has overcome the illness? The month of October? The color Pink? For me, the words breast cancer awareness immediately prompts my brain to the Susan G. Komen foundation. The Susan G. Komen foundation was founded in 1982. With the goal of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever, the foundation to date has invested more than $2.2 billion in research and life-saving community programs. According to their website, Komen grants have been made up to $300 billion allowing for major breakthroughs in breast cancer research over the past 30 years. The foundation prides itself on the implementation of community events as well as their signature event: The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. This event alone has raised more than $1.5 billion while also working to inform the public, honor those lost in the fight with breast cancer, and fund breast cancer research and treatment facilities.

With all of this success I cannot help but wonder why? What is so special about this foundation? How have they been able to emerge and sustain themselves as one of the most successful breast cancer awareness foundations?

The answer is that this unique foundation serves as a means of community for women suffering and overcoming similar hardships. Rather than just serving as a fundraising initiative, The Susan G. Komen foundation is often portrayed as an outlet for women with breast cancer to connect and gather to discuss commonalities. This illustrates women’s immense drive to seek connection within society. This can be related to communication specialist Deborah Tannen’s theory of genderlect. This particular theory of communication explains the differences between how men and women engage in conversation. Genderlect indicates that the way men and women differentiate in the methods of how they converse are neither right nor wrong, or superior or inferior. They are simply different. Women have a deep drive to seek connection in communication where as men have a deep drive to seek status. This connection-seeking behavior is drastically evident within the foundation. The Susan G. Komen website is this foundations primary way of connecting women. Upon visiting the website, you will notice that there are support groups for women, no matter their stage in life. Tabs labeled “I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer” and “Someone I know was diagnosed” make for easy navigation when on this website. This type of setup is ideal for women. Going through a tragedy such as this can put quite the strain on a women’s life. Understanding how women operate and what it takes to meet their needs through the genderlect theory, allows women to receive the adequate support they need in a way that best suits them.


The foundation began when Nancy G Brinker promised her dying sister Susan that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer. The promise between the sisters sparked such an impact that many were willing to help the cause. Now, on top of their signature event and community partnerships the Susan G Komen foundation has become so successful that there are programs in more than fifty countries.

The success of the foundation has continued to build over a period of time starting with the passionate story of Susan G Komen. As more and more people have jumped on the bandwagon, the foundation has recognized the importance of spreading the word about breast cancer, encouraging early detection and treatment, and influencing involvement from many people, all in ways that cater to the communication needs of women. In turn, they have been able to inspire hope, fund research, and benefit cancer survivors globally.

Click on the link below to visit the Susan G. Komen website for further information regarding this organization.

-Kaitlin Batson, Alex Corrigan, Parker Farfour, Caitlin Ford

3 thoughts on “The Power of Support

  1. The pink ribbon is always an indication that it is breast cancer awareness month. For myself however, I leave out the word ‘breast’ and focus more on ‘cancer’ in general. The pink for my represents cancer awareness month. Not that we really need a reminder, unfortunately the disease is all around us. I lost my best friend who is a male to pancreatic cancer. He was my uncle, newly married and just had a baby boy. It was indescribable how terrible it was to watch someone suffer-and to think this is becoming a norm in today’s society. The goal is a cure, but we can’t have a cure without people being aware that there are foundations raising money to fight for it and providing support for the people fighting it physically. I think it is wonderful that there are foundations such as this that build community. It is very important for people who are battling the disease to not only have the support of their family, but also to have people that they relate to by their side for motivation.

  2. I too think of Susan G. Komen when i think about breast cancer. I mean how genius is this lady! Of course i think of all the good her foundation has done but i cant overlook how smart it was for her to “brand” breast cancer. Looking at it from a business point of view she has not only raised billions for research but she has made plenty for herself and family as well.

  3. When any one is diagnosed with cancer or someone you know is diagnosed, the biggest comforter is support. Knowing and being able to get advise, support, and empathy from people who have been through the same thing as you and know what it is like. This past April, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her diagnosis was not as sever as others but was breast cancer nonetheless. The next six months were tough to say the least, but we all had support from friends and family and people we knew who had been through the same thing. I think this is why we were able to make it through this. I think it is important for everyone in this situation to have this type of support so if they can get it from the Susan G. Komen website then that is fantastic.

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