Extraordinary People. Extraordinary Accomplishments.

Awards & Recognition

We recognize the dedication, hard work and outstanding accomplishments of some of the exceptional people who are bringing us closer to a world without breast cancer. To recognize the impact they’ve had on the lives of millions, we bestow a number of awards…

The Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction

The Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction is our marquee scientific award. It honors leading scientists, including a Nobel laureate, who have made the most significant advances in breast cancer research and medicine. 

Matthew Ellis

Matthew J. Ellis, B.Sc., M.B., B.Chir., Ph.D., FRCP,
Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center
Associate Director for Precision Medicine at the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Tx

Dr. Matthew Ellis, received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his seminal contributions in understanding the genomics of breast cancer and translating this knowledge to the clinic in order to improve the efficacy of breast cancer treatment. His translational approaches to studying the genomic aspects of breast cancer, drug resistance and biomarkers for breast cancer prognosis, coupled with his pioneering research in the pre-surgical treatment of breast cancer, has led to the identification of tumor markers and implementation of new treatment regimens that are being increasingly used worldwide. Read his bio here.

 

Jane Visvader

Jane Visvader, Ph.D.
Joint Head of the Division of Cancer Biology and Stem Cells at WEHI
Professor in the Department of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Geoffrey Lindeman

Geoffrey Lindeman, MBBS, Ph.D.
Joint Head of the Division of Cancer Biology and Stem Cells at the WEHI,
Medical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital
Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Jane Visvader and Dr. Geoff Lindeman, received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Research for their significant contributions to breast cancer research, which which have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of how normal and cancerous cells develop in the breast. Their research has resulted in critical insights about the regulation of normal breast cell growth, breast cancer initiation and progression, including the identification of breast stem cells which give rise to normal breast tissue and the breast cells that are predisposed to becoming cancerous in women with BRCA1 gene mutations. Read their bios here.

2018 Recipients

Lisa M. Coussens, PH.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Research for her significant contributions to breast cancer research, which have been essential in advancing our understanding of the role of the tumor microenvironment, particularly immune cells, in cancer development. Her research has established that immune cells can both enhance and inhibit tumor growth and identified critical immune-regulated pathways that can be targeted therapeutically to block or slow cancer development. Dr. Coussens’ work is helping to lay the foundation for development and clinical use of cancer immunotherapies that will significantly impact the future of breast cancer research and treatment. Read her full bio here.

Dr. Eric Winer, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his seminal contributions in improving the treatment of breast cancer, which have helped to shape the standard of care for breast cancer patients globally. Dr. Winer has devoted his career to applying the advances from clinical trials to daily practice to improve survival and quality of life for individuals with breast cancer. His accomplishments in breast cancer research and in the clinic have impacted treatment for all stages and all the major biologic subtypes of the disease and led to lasting impact on patient outcomes. Read his full bio here.

 

2017 Recipients

Alan Ashworth, Ph.D., F.R.S. received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Sciences for his significant contributions to breast cancer research, including the discovery of the BRCA2 gene and his transformative work to apply the synthetic lethality concept to breast cancer, which led to a new approach to cancer treatment that exploits genetic weaknesses in BRCA mutated cancer cells. His strong focus on translating these research findings to the clinic has advanced the development of new treatments for breast, ovarian, and potentially other cancers, and had a major impact upon patient care.

Dennis J. Slamon, M.D., Ph.D. received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his significant contributions to breast cancer research, including his influential contributions in laboratory and clinical research that helped define the role of the HER2/neu gene in breast cancer and have laid the groundwork for the development of targeted therapies, including two drugs: trastuzumab, the first targeted therapy for HER2+ breast cancer, and palbociclib, a CDK 4/6 inhibitor used to treat ER+ breast cancer. His work has helped shape the standard of care for breast cancer and benefitted millions of breast cancer patients worldwide.

 

2016 Recipients

Charles Perou, Ph.D. received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his significant contributions to breast cancer research, including the characterization of the diversity of breast tumors, which demonstrated that breast cancers can be classified into at least five intrinsic molecular subtypes and resulted in the discovery of the basal-like/triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype. His work has led to the understanding that breast cancer should be viewed as a set of characteristically-distinct subtypes, laying the foundation for using precision medicine in breast cancer.

Monica Morrow, M.D., FACS received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for her important contributions to the field of breast cancer surgery which have advanced less invasive surgical treatments and helped to shape the standard of care for breast cancer patients. Dr. Morrow has championed the concept of “more is not necessarily better” when it comes to breast cancer treatments, and has devoted her career to applying the advances from clinical trials to daily surgical practice to improve breast cancer patient care and quality of life.

 

2015 Recipients

Myles Brown, M.D.., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his significant contributions to breast cancer research, which have been essential in understanding the role of steroid hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, and their receptors in normal physiology and the progression of breast cancer.

Martine J. Piccart, M.D., Ph.D. received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for her seminal contributions in improving the treatment of breast cancer, which have helped to shape the standard of care for breast cancer patients globally. Prof. Piccart has devoted her career to improving breast cancer patient care and expanding the understanding of breast cancer biology.

 

2014 Recipients

Joan S. Brugge, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for her significant contributions to breast cancer research, which have been essential in advancing our understanding of the molecular and cell biology of breast cancer.

Mitch Dowsett, Ph.D., F.Med.Sci., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his seminal contributions in understanding the hormonal basis of estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer, and translating this knowledge to the clinic in order to improve the efficacy of treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

 

2013 Recipients

Gordon B. Mills, M.D., Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his significant contributions to breast cancer research, which have been essential to advancing our understanding of the key processes that drive breast cancer’s initiation, progression and response to therapy.

Edith A. Perez, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for her contributions to the field of breast cancer treatment – including her leadership of a wide range of translational clinical trials testing new therapeutic agents for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer – which have helped to shape the standard of care for breast cancer patients globally.

 

2012 Recipients

Yosef Yarden, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his extensive contributions toward understanding the role of growth factors in cancer and laid the foundation for the development of cancer drugs that target growth factor receptors, particularly the HER2 receptor.

Hyman B. Muss, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his efforts that engaged the clinical community to address issues specific to elderly breast cancer patients, and has advanced the clinical care of this special population of patients. His work is improving the lives of countless women every year, and his impact on the breast cancer community will be felt for years to come.

 

2011 Recipients

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for characterizing the role of several key pathways in breast cancer, including pathways that are responsible for breast cancer cell growth, division, and metastasis. His research has been instrumental in helping to provide the rationale for several widely used breast cancer drug regimens including combining trastuzumab with chemotherapy and with gefitinib. He has also provided the basis for combining endocrine therapy with EGFR/HER2 inhibitors in patients with HER2+/ER+ breast cancer.

Armando E. Giuliano, M.D., FACS, FRCSEd, received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his seminal work investigating the benefits of sentinel lymph node biopsy, and the reduced need for radical surgery in many breast cancer patients. Dr. Giuliano’s 30-year research career as a breast surgeon-scientist has been dedicated to reducing the short- and long-term side effects associated with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

 

2010 Recipients

Jeffrey M. Rosen, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his pivotal laboratory work spanning more than 35 years that has focused on critical insights behind the fundamental mechanisms of mammary gland development as well as his most recent work with human breast cancer stem cells.

Soonmyung Paik, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his instrumental role in changing the biologic understanding of breast cancer and the development of a commercially available genomic method for estimating breast cancer risk of recurrence and the benefit from chemotherapy. This has had a tremendous clinical impact in the management of ER-positive breast cancer today. 

 

2009 Recipients

Geoffrey Greene, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for furthering our understanding of female steroid hormones and the molecular mechanisms by which they regulate development, differentiation and/or cellular proliferation and survival in hormone responsive tissues and cancers. In addition, he has unraveled the process by which selective estrogen receptor modulators (like tamoxifen) interact with the estrogen receptor to provide therapeutic benefit for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer patients. 

Benita Katzenellenbogen, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for her key role in understanding the biology of estrogen receptors and their actions in breast cancer. In addition, she has elucidated fundamental aspects of mechanisms of action of the estrogen receptors and has provided the foundation for our current understanding of the molecular basis for the action of selective estrogen receptor modulators, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, are effective in controlling breast cancer.

Professor Ian Smith, M.D., F.R.C.P., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his work in the development of new treatments for breast cancer (including trastuzunam and letrozole), particularly in its early stages, and the use of pre-operative chemotherapy before surgery for large breast cancers. He has also demonstrated the utility of the biological marker for proliferation, Ki67, for predicting outcomes after treatment.

 

2008 Recipients

Patricia S. Steeg, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for her key role in her important research contributions centering on how tumors grow and spread on a molecular level, with particular attention paid to how breast cancer metastasizes to the brain.

Richard D. Gelber, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his role in developing a statistical method that improves how patient care results from clinical trials are interpreted. This approach helps better compare clinical trial treatments in terms of both the quality and quantity of life provided patients.

Dr. Aron Goldhirsch, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for co-creating the clinical trial statistical method advances with Dr. Gelber. He also led an international collaborative group that conducts large-scale meta-analyses of breast cancer treatments.

 

2007 Recipients

Joe W. Gray, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for the development of innovative technologies that enable researchers to pursue original avenues of inquiry into challenging biomedical problems. By integrating data received from these technologies, Dr. Gray has made significant advancements in developing methods that have led to improved patient outcomes. Specifically, his work has led to groundbreaking research in the determination of how to improve breast cancer detection and treatment.

Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for pioneering research that studied the link between physical activity and breast cancer, which is now well established. This research provides an evidence base for one of the few recommendations that can be made for breast cancer risk reduction. In addition to her studies on physical activity, she has contributed to the study of body size, including weight gain and obesity, another area of inquiry that has yielded insights into breast cancer risk reduction for postmenopausal women.

 

2006 Recipients

Evan Simpson Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his work in the field of estrogen biosynthesis, with a particular focus on research into aromatase and breast cancer. His work has major significance for the future use of aromatase inhibitors over estrogen receptor antagonists for breast cancer treatment, and opens the possibility for the development of breast-specific inhibitors of aromatase expression, which would spare bone, brain and other sites where estrogen plays important roles.

George W. Sledge Jr., M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his contributions to clinical research that has studied the treatment of breast cancer and his direction of the first large, nationwide study on the use of taxol (paclitaxel) to treat advanced breast cancer. Dr. Sledge’s involvement in the design and implementation of pivotal trials has been critical in the development of adjuvant therapies to improve disease-free and overall survival for women with metastatic breast cancer.

 

2005 Recipients

Anita B. Roberts, Ph.D. (deceased), and Michael J. Sporn, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for their work in growth factor research, having discovered and characterized the transforming growth factor-ß (TGF-ß), a messenger molecule integral to the activities of the cell cycle. Subsequently, Drs. Roberts and Sporn established roles for this protein in autoimmune diseases, fibrogenesis, carcinogenesis and wound healing. Their work together is now forming the basis of new therapeutic approaches.

Trevor J. Powles, Ph.D., F.R.C.P., C.B.E., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his extensive work in the prevention, risk assessment, diagnosis and early treatment of breast cancer and is recognized as one of the first specialist breast medical oncologists in the world. Professor Powles also led one of the first groups to use aromatase inhibitors to treat metastatic breast cancer and continues to be at the forefront of research into the development and use of aromatase inhibitors.

 

2004 Recipients

Daniel Medina, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his research on the study of premalignant disease of the breast, dissecting the essential biological and molecular alterations that underlie progression from normal mammary cells to premalignant behavior to invasive behavior.

Larry Norton, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his research in the basic biology of cancer, the mathematics of tumor causation and growth and the development of approaches to better diagnosis, prevention and drug treatment of the disease.

 

2003 Recipients

Mina J. Bissell, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for her study of the environment that surrounds breast cells and its corresponding relationship with breast cancer.

Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his research on the development of methods to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases like breast cancer.

 

2002 Recipients

Elwood V. Jensen, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his contributions both to the understanding of steroid hormone action and to the clinical management of breast cancer patients.

Charles L. Loprinzi, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his research on the key concerns of breast cancer survivors, namely, symptom control, complementary and alternative medicine and communications issues.

 

2001 Recipients

Bert W. O’Malley, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his pivotal work on the molecular function of estrogen and other steroid hormone receptors.

Jay R. Harris, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his achievements in the area of clinical evaluation of breast cancer treatments, with particular emphasis on the optimal use of conservative surgery and radiation therapy for early breast cancer.

 

2000 Recipients

Angela Brodie, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for her pioneering work on the biochemistry and pharmacology of aromatase inhibitors.

Dimitrios Trichopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his work involving discoveries in the epidemiology and etiology of breast cancer.

 

1999 Recipients

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for her work in the field of breast cancer genetics, specifically, the discovery of the link between BRCA1 gene mutations and breast cancer, establishing a new way to attack breast cancer and other diseases by combining the study of genetics with an understanding of family history, environmental factors and individual lifestyles.

Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for her work in the field of hormones and breast cancer, and her establishment of a chemotherapy-hormonal therapy regimen for the management of premenopausal breast cancer.

 

1998 Recipients

Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for is his pioneering work in understanding how normal cells divide and the mechanisms leading to the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on October 8, 2001.

Henry T. Lynch, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his unparalleled contributions to the understanding of the genetic influences on breast cancer development. Dr. Lynch’s surveillance and management strategies, based on the natural history of the particular hereditary cancer syndromes, have been used by physicians throughout the world.

 

1997 Recipients

David Livingston, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his studies into specific genes that regulate cell growth in the body—genes that, when they go awry, can lead to cancer.

Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D., F.A.C.P., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his work in developmental therapeutics and for advances in the adjuvant treatment of advanced breast cancer.

 

1996 Recipients

Edison T. Liu, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his work in using mutations in the cancer-associated ras gene to learn about different types of breast cancer.

Umberto Veronesi, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his seminal studies examining the need for breast irradiation after breast-conserving surgery as well as the type of irradiation shown to have the greatest therapeutic efficacy.

 

1995 Recipients

Helene S. Smith, Ph.D., (deceased), received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for her role in establishing the protocol for cultivating breast epithelial and breast cancer cells in the laboratory. She identified a novel tumor suppressor gene in breast cancer known as brush-1.

C. Kent Osborne, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for providing some of the initial basic information on the role of polypeptide growth factors and being among the first to demonstrate that epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulates breast cancer cells.

 

1994 Recipients

Marc Lippman, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his instrumental role in delineating the roles of the epidermal growth factor family in breast cancer.

Malcolm C. Pike, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for proposing how a hormonal contraceptive could be made that would provide significant lifelong protection against breast cancer.

 

1993 Recipients

Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his work on the molecular basis of cancer. In 1979, he discovered the p53 tumor suppressor protein, a molecule that inhibits tumor development.

Richard J. Santen, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his work on the mechanisms of responsiveness to hormonal therapy in women with breast cancer. He studied the expression of aromatase and the role of estrogen in breast cancer.

 

1992 Recipients

V. Craig Jordan, O.B.E., Ph.D., D.Sc., F.Med.Sci., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for establishing the role of a failed contraceptive, tamoxifen, as a clinical treatment for estrogen-responsive breast cancers.

Bernard Fisher, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for conducting pioneering research that demonstrated that lumpectomy was equivalent to mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer. He has also demonstrated that the use of systemic chemotherapy and hormonal therapy following surgery for breast cancer could lengthen the lives of thousands of women with breast cancer.

The Betty Ford Lifetime Achievement Award of Distinction

Susan G. Komen was built on a strong foundation of grassroots advocacy and community building that continues today. Through the Betty Ford Lifetime Achievement Award of Distinction, we gratefully recognize individuals who have committed their life to engaging the public in the fight against breast cancer, advocating for meaningful change and activating communities to support women and men facing the disease.   The award draws its name from the late First Lady Betty Ford, a pioneer in women’s health who changed the world’s perception of breast cancer by boldly sharing her battle with breast cancer with the American people during a time that many did not dare to say the words “breast cancer” aloud.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz has served the people of South Florida for 22 years, first in the Florida House and Senate, and since 2005, in the U.S. Congress. In the U.S. House, she serves on the Appropriations Committee and is a Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Caucus. In 2011, President Obama nominated her as Democratic National Committee Chair, and she was elected to a second term in 2013.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz is a life-long champion in the fight against breast cancer. In the Florida House she authored the “Drive Thru Mastectomy Act,” mandating insurance coverage for essential health care as women recover from mastectomy surgeries. Rep. Wasserman Schultz herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation. Following treatment and announcing she was cancer free in 2009, she introduced the EARLY Act, which became law in 2010. Through the Act, the CDC is implementing a national campaign to educate and empower young women. She also fought to allow second-opinion genetic diagnostic testing and is currently developing legislation to assist young adult cancer survivors.

 2013

HTP-Ted-KennedySenator Edward M. Kennedy was a longtime champion of biomedical research and outspoken advocate for quality, affordable health care for all Americans throughout his Senate career, and especially during his service as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  He has led efforts to provide comprehensive health care for all, including work that laid the groundwork for national health reform in 2009; secure funding to support HIV/AIDS treatment and care; establish programs to Feed the Elderly and Support Women and Children; establish governmental infrastructure necessary to enhance bioterrorism preparedness and protect the American public; provide resources for medical research; improve patient safety and enhance food, drug and device safety; protect children and consumers from the deadly effects of tobacco products; strengthen the FDA; enhance mental health care; provide quicker access to generic drugs and follow-on biologics; increase funding for vaccinations; and address the unnecessary, yet growing disparities in health outcomes in the United States.  Among the many landmark laws enacted under his leadership and sponsorship are the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993 and its reauthorization in 2003,  the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997, the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1997, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT) of 2009.  In 1992, Kennedy cosponsored and Congress passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act to ensure the safety and accuracy of mammograms as well as to promote the use of the procedure. The reauthorization of the bill established appropriations for breast cancer screening surveillance grants, which are used to evaluate screening programs.

HTP-Victoria-KennedyVictoria Reggie Kennedy is the President of the Board and co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, a nonpartisan organization created to educate the public about the unique role of the United States Senate in our democracy. Kennedy is also a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s on Political Reform. She is an attorney who previously practiced law in the private sector for two decades, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the global investment bank Houlihan Lokey. She is a Trustee of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where she chairs its Education Committee. A longtime advocate for the protection of children, Kennedy was the co-founder and past President of Common Sense About Kids and Guns. She has served in key strategic and political roles on issues ranging from health and education to labor, especially as those issues affect women and children, and she advocates for involvement in the political process.

2012   

HTP-Olympia-SnoweSenator Olympia Snowe. With a record of public service spanning nearly 40 years, Senator Olympia Snowe holds the distinction of being only the fourth woman in U.S. history to be elected to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as well as the first woman to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. A tireless advocate in the U.S. Senate on behalf of Maine, Senator Snowe is the first Republican woman to secure a full-term seat on the powerful Senate Committee on Finance, and is also the current ranking member and former chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Additionally, she sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Senator Snowe is widely regarded as one of the champions of bridging the partisan divide to solve the challenges confronting the people of Maine and the nation. 

 2011

Betty-Ford-1978

Betty Ford (Posthumously), accepted by Susan Ford Bales.

Former First Lady Betty Ford was a pioneer and active and outspoken champion of women’s rights and health care and other public issues that were important to her. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1974 and spoke openly about it, she changed the perception of how the world viewed breast cancer and paved the way for an advocacy movement that would raise public awareness of screening and treatment options and help save women’s lives. Nancy Brinker credits Betty Ford with helping launch the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 1982, the same year that Mrs. Ford co-founded the Betty Ford Center at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, one of the most outstanding drug and alcohol abuse treatment facilities in the world. Mrs. Ford has been honored for her public works more than two dozen times. In 1991 she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush, and in 1999 President and Mrs. Ford were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their 30 years of public service and outstanding humanitarian contributions.

HTP-Susan-Ford-BalesSusan Ford Bales, a Virginia native and now a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the daughter of President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford. During her high school years, Susan lived in the White House and served as official White House hostess following her mother’s surgery for breast cancer in 1974. Immediately following the breast cancer diagnosis, Susan embraced Betty Ford’s extraordinary candor and courage in speaking publicly regarding her breast cancer. In 1984, Susan and her mother helped launch National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Susan has served as national spokesperson for Breast Cancer Awareness. For over thirty-five years, Mrs. Ford and Susan emphasized the importance of early detection in their countless speeches around the world, including to cancer and other medical organizations, women’s groups, and medical and healthcare forums.

2010

HTP-Laura-BushMrs. Laura Bush is actively involved in issues of national and global concern, with a particular emphasis on education, health care and human rights. She has investigated and showcased successful programs for early childhood education, at-risk youth, global literacy, and preservation of our national parks and our country’s national treasures. Through her travels to more than seventy-six countries, including historic trips to Afghanistan, Mrs. Bush has helped launch groundbreaking educational and health care programs for women.

 

The Mission Advancement Award

The Mission Advancement Award, presented for the very first time in 2014, recognizes individuals who have pushed forward Komen’s mission to end breast cancer through critical investments, scientific breakthroughs and community impact.    

David M. Rubenstein

As a Global Ambassador to Susan G. Komen and Founding Chair of one of the organization’s largest fundraising galas, Honoring the Promise, David M. Rubenstein has played an integral role in Komen’s mission to end breast cancer forever. David has brought to the forefront the need for a radical change in the approach we are taking to fight this horrible disease. He has personally attended, spoken at and donated to many of Komen’s largest fundraising events and has given over $1.3 million to critical breast cancer research and global and community initiatives for vital health education, screening and treatment services. He has made a commitment to ensuring healthcare equality for all and has a deep belief that where someone lives shouldn’t determine whether they live. In light of his longtime support to not only Susan G. Komen, but to all of those affected by cancer, David M. Rubenstein will be the first recipient of the Mission Advancement Award at this year’s Honoring the Promise gala in Washington D.C. Following this initial year, this award will be named after him as a sign of gratitude and acknowledgement for the impact he has had on moving us closer to a world without breast cancer. We feel confident that recipients of the David M. Rubenstein Mission Advancement Award for years to come will share the same qualities as David.

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