Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer

Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer

by Nancy G. Brinker
3.9 74

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Overview

Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer by Nancy G. Brinker

Suzy and Nancy Goodman were more than sisters. They were best friends, confidantes, and partners in the grand adventure of life. For three decades, nothing could separate them. Not college, not marriage, not miles. Then Suzy got sick. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977; three agonizing years later, at thirty-six, she died.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Goodman girls were raised in postwar Peoria, Illinois, by parents who believed that small acts of charity could change the world. Suzy was the big sister—the homecoming queen with an infectious enthusiasm and a generous heart. Nancy was the little sister—the tomboy with an outsized sense of justice who wanted to right all wrongs. The sisters shared makeup tips, dating secrets, plans for glamorous fantasy careers. They spent one memorable summer in Europe discovering a big world far from Peoria. They imagined a long life together—one in which they’d grow old together surrounded by children and grandchildren.
Suzy’s diagnosis shattered that dream.

In 1977, breast cancer was still shrouded in stigma and shame. Nobody talked about early detection and mammograms. Nobody could even say the words “breast” and “cancer” together in polite company, let alone on television news broadcasts. With Nancy at her side, Suzy endured the many indignities of cancer treatment, from the grim, soul-killing waiting rooms to the mistakes of well-meaning but misinformed doctors. That’s when Suzy began to ask Nancy to promise. To promise to end the silence. To promise to raise money for scientific research. To promise to one day cure breast cancer for good. Big, shoot-for-the-moon promises that Nancy never dreamed she could fulfill. But she promised because this was her beloved sister.
I promise, Suzy. . . .  Even if it takes the rest of my life.

Suzy’s death—both shocking and senseless—created a deep pain in Nancy that never fully went away. But she soon found a useful outlet for her grief and outrage. Armed only with a shoebox filled with the names of potential donors, Nancy put her formidable fund-raising talents to work and quickly discovered a groundswell of grassroots support. She was aided in her mission by the loving tutelage of her husband, restaurant magnate Norman Brinker, whose dynamic approach to entrepreneurship became Nancy’s model for running her foundation. Her account of how she and Norman met, fell in love, and managed to achieve the elusive “true marriage of equals” is one of the great grown-up love stories among recent memoirs. 

Nancy’s mission to change the way the world talked about and treated breast cancer took on added urgency when she was herself diagnosed with the disease in 1984, a terrifying chapter in her life that she had long feared. Unlike her sister, Nancy survived and went on to make Susan G. Komen for the Cure into the most influential health charity in the country and arguably the world. A pioneering force in cause-related marketing, SGK turned the pink ribbon into a symbol of hope everywhere. Each year, millions of people worldwide take part in SGK Race for the Cure events. And thanks to the more than $1.5 billion spent by SGK for cutting-edge research and community programs, a breast cancer diagnosis today is no longer a death sentence. In fact, in the time since Suzy’s death, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer has risen from 74 percent to 98 percent.

Promise Me is a deeply moving story of family and sisterhood, the dramatic “30,000-foot view” of the democratization of a disease, and a soaring affirmative to the question: Can one person truly make a difference?


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307718143
Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date: 09/14/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 369,461
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

NANCY G. BRINKER is the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She has served as Ambassador to Hungary and United States Chief of Protocol and is currently the Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control for the United Nations World Health Organization.  She has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Visit Nancy at nancygbrinker.com.

JONI RODGERS is the New York Times bestselling author of Bald in the Land of Big Hair, a memoir of her cancer treatment and recovery.




From the Hardcover edition.

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Promise Me 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
tawanda62 More than 1 year ago
The deeply personal, emotionally powerful story of two sisters: Suzy lost her life to breast cancer, Nancy dedicated her life to fighting it. Woven through their amazing journey are stories of survivors, activists, and researchers who helped shape a scientific and cultural revolution. This is THE book for book clubs this year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moving and deeply inspirational. Nancy Brinker's tale is a little-engine-that-could story that will rev you up like no other. Must read!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Wow, what a great book, by great I mean - I couldn't put it down, I laughed and cried, and I had to email my closet family and friends to share it immediately. A fresh story on the makings of a huge organization that has changed the landscape of breast cancer and influenced decisions makers from citizens in their home to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. I have participated in SGK events, but I had no idea the trials that Brinker endured while starting this non-profit. She has fought breast cancer herself - who would have been able to do that while encouraging women to be aware of this devastating disease. As to whom I would recommend - absolutely anyone. This was a great read that made me want to support this organization even more. I loved hearing this story and finishing it on the second day of 2011 made me motivated to make a resolution to be more involved in charity with this new year.
DSF55 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book alot. It was very moving for me to read the story of a sister keeping her promise to her dying sister. It was great to get to know Susan and Nancy and how their life was before Susan got sick. Nancy is an amazing woman, too, for being able to keep her promise to Susan and to run with it! The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a remarkable foundation and provides a great wealth of information to the women of the world. Being a breast cancer survivor (12 Yrs), it was a very inspiring story for me. I have been interested in this foundation since it started and especially once I was diagnosed. I am now a volunteer for my local affiliate and hope to continue the great work that Nancy started on behalf of her sister, Susan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dare you not to be moved by the story of two sisters, Nancy and Susan and how their love changed how we battle breast cancer. This is a remarkable story of a promised kept. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score," an intimate look at the power of God and forgiveness. It is a must read for every woman and it is on sale now here on BN. Proceeds from the sale of each copy will go to support various women and children charities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When adversity strikes, how will you respond? Suzy Goodman wanted to open doors for others, and her sister, Nancy, made that wish a living legacy. This is an inspiring account of choice, self-empowerment and one's ability to make a difference. In many ways the book parallels insights found in the book "When One Door Closes" by Graham and Saylor. Both are interesting and thought provoking works that will challenge you to make positive choices and help you find the strength and determination to initiate meaningful change in your life. All of us face adversity along the way and have the opportunity to shape our legacy. That makes this book an excellent and worthwhile read.
MissaBean More than 1 year ago
I have read many memoirs. This one doesn't flow as well as most. The subject matter itself is what kept me interested. Every couple chapters is a chapter about the history of breast cancer. I found that a little odd but I did learn more about the disease with that format. I enjoyed the book and found it to be a quick read.
marilynne warden More than 1 year ago
Author repeats herself too many times throughout the book.very disappointed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an awesome book, I'd love to meet Nancy Brinker. Her life has had such purpose and the promise she made to her sister set the course for her life. I am currently going through the same thing with my sister so alot of the book hit very close to home. It is a very emotional book and you'd better have the tissues handy but I loved it because it made me feel like there is hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an amazing piece of work! Nancy Brinker did a wonderful job putting this together. From the historical views to the actual events of her and her sister Susan's life. This book is not only envoking, it's riveting! A MUST read!
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