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Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this compelling memoir, the 64-year-old founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure mixes details from her soap opera–like life with facts about breast cancer. Nancy Goodman of Peoria, Illinois, morphs from a chubby Jewish girl (in second grade, she tips the scale at more than 100 pounds) to a nearly six-foot glamazon. After breast cancer kills her beautiful 36-year-old sister, Suzy, Nancy starts the world’s largest breast-cancer charity in her memory. At age 37, she discovers a lump in her own chest. Nancy gets by with a little help from her second husband, Norman Brinker, the casual-dining gazillionaire and a member of the Susan G. Komen board from its inception in 1982 until his death last year. Cowritten with Joni Rodgers (author of the cancer memoir Bald in the Land of Big Hair, 2001), the book does take some liberties, and Nancy drops names (she spent time with Betty Ford and was a U.S. ambassador for George H. W. Bush and chief of protocol for George W.) and settles some scores. But readers will find much to admire. --Karen Springen


"In this deeply thoughtful, assertive, sensitive memoir of the sisters' growing up and devotion to each other in life and death, Brinker chronicles the long path she trod to create Susan G. Komen for the Cure."
--Publishers Weekly

"These stories of joy, fear, love and heartache are told in a captivating voice that brings a highly personal dimension to [Susan G. Komen for the Cure] and to the subject of breast cancer in general…. A touching, inspiring look behind the scenes at the founding of one of the most famous nonprofit organizations in the world."
Kirkus Reviews

"More than twenty-five years ago, Nancy’s love for her cherished sister sparked a promise to fight breast cancer. Today that promise has launched a global movement to end breast cancer, and Nancy is fulfilling her promise to women all around the world. Promise Me is an inspiring tribute to a sister’s love and a must-read for all who know the pink ribbon."
—LAURA BUSH, former First Lady and author of Spoken from the Heart

"Promise Me emotionally and elegantly chronicles how sisterly love changed the course of modern medicine by catalyzing women around the world to battle breast cancer."
—MEHMET OZ, M.D., host, The Dr. Oz Show and professor and vice-chair of surgery, New York Presbyterian/Columbia

"This is the story of what happens when a big heart meets an iron will. Nancy Brinker will make you sit back in wonder."
—KELLY CORRIGAN, bestselling author of Lift and The Middle Place

"Susan G. Komen for the Cure has become a brand name in the fight against breast cancer, thanks to the tireless devotion of Nancy Brinker. In Promise Me we learn about the remarkable work of that organization, and also finally get to know the woman behind the name—Suzy Goodman Komen’s sense of fun and family comes through these pages as a bright light leading her sister through trials and triumphs."
—COKIE ROBERTS, news analyst and author of We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters and Founding Mothers

"This is three beautiful books rolled into one: a poignant memoir, a guide to running an entrepreneurial foundation, and a set of inspiring stories about the struggle against breast cancer. When her beloved sister, Suzy, died, Nancy Brinker’s life’s work began. This book is about the meaning of life. It will move and enlighten you."
—WALTER ISAACSON, bestselling author of Einstein: His Life and Universe and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307718123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307718129
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William D. Curnutt VINE VOICE on August 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What an encouraging book. I know the book is about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure not for profit foundation and work, but it goes way beyond that.

The first thing that caught my attention was the solid family that Susan and Nancy were born into. The first section of the book while telling the story of Suzy and her battle with cancer also tells the story of a solid Jewish family that is committed to each other. I am encouraged by their family values, their family cohesiveness and the love and energy their parents put into being parents and training their children.

Suzy is like her father, fun loving, conservative, probably republican and dedicated to helping others and volunteering for anything and everything. She never met a person she couldn't become a friend to. Nancy is more like her mother, determined, driven, a democrat, cause oriented, fair minded, and willing to push the establishment, in a very good way.

Yet as Nancy describes, even though her parents were total opposites in personality and politics they loved each other and never fought over issues. They taught their girls to look at issues and make up their own mind as to what they thought and then to respect others for what they thought.

This training would take Nancy far when it came to the world of breast cancer awareness. She promises Suzy that she will fight to make breast cancer a thing of the past. But at the time of the promise no one, repeat no one wanted to talk about it, hear about it or publish anything in print about it. That was the early 1980's. We have come a long way since then.

Much of the book gives stories about survivor's of breast cancer. About volunteers who give their lives to the cause.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
..."The only singular truth about breast cancer is this: there is no singular truth about breast cancer. Our best strategy is to respect and listen to one another, share what we learn, reach across the aisle, and make women's lives a higher priority than political agenda. Because I guess there actually is one absolute truth about breast cancer: There shouldn't be any." ...from Promise Me page 25.

I moved to Peoria for my nursing education during the years Susan G. Komen was diagnosed with and later died from breast cancer. Our paths never crossed.

Then in the early 1986 a buzz around town started about a Cancer race to be held to honor a young woman who lost her fight, but whose family would not let her memory vanish when other women of all ages were engaged in the same battle. It was the first annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in her hometown with 800 women. Now every Mother's Day Weekend thousands of women and men walk/run from the Metro Center to help fund and find a cure. May 7, 2011 will be the 26th year. A crowd of 25,000 (including men)are anticipated. Some will be young mothers pushing strollers, others link arms holding their heads up as proud survivors, a number will carry signs with printed pink names in memory of loved ones who are no longer beside them, and still more come in hope to funding and finding a cure.

The Promise did not end with just a race. There are five SGK screening centers in Peoria alone, including the 15,000 square ft Susan G. Komen Breast Center that is a screening and diagnostic service center for all of central Illinois that is located on the second floor of the medical building where I am also employed on the 4th floor. Every morning women of all ages ride the elevator with me and stop at the 2nd floor.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Promise Me" gives us the story of the relationship between Susan G. Komen and her sister Nancy Brinker, and how Susan's battle against breast cancer led to a promise by sister Nancy to do something to make things better for women facing the disease in the future. The fulfillment of the promise was the formation of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.

The first several chapters describe the sisters' relationship, some family history, and the values that were instilled in them by their strong, supportive, and strongly service-oriented family. From an early age we see hints of attitudes that shape both of the women as they grow, mature, and become adult women, taking on the challenges of being wives, mothers, and participating members of their communities.

Susan's death marks a watershed moment in Nancy's life, and one that ultimately pushes her to fulfill her promise to Susan in the way she knew best: by raising funds to fight breast cancer. The Komen organization chose to attack breast cancer on several fronts: by providing badly needed information to newly diagnosed survivors (they established the first "800" number for women to call for information), by funding cutting edge research in causes and cures for the disease, by increasing awareness and fighting the stigma attached to breast cancer, and by providing assistance to those who need it in obtaining testing and diagnosis (75% of funds raised by local affiliates remains local).
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