Skyping with Brinkers in Tanzania

By Mary Rose Williams

Skyping with Brinkers in Tanzania

July 1, 2013 Updated Jul 1, 2013 at 12:59 PM CDT

The first family is in Tanzania, and while there they will cross paths with representatives from Komen for the Cure.

Co-founders Nancy Brinker and her son Eric are promoting a women's health initiative in Tanzania, and they joined us via Skype on Monday to tell us about it.





"We are a part of, we are the co-founder of a program called 'Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon', which is going to be presented at the African First Lady Summit here in Tanzania with President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and Michelle Obama," said Nancy Brinker. "And we will be discussing this unique program which adds breast screening and cervical screening programs on the platform of the pep bar, the HIV Aids Clinic, already in existence here."

"How is the mission of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, reaching across the globe to countries like Tanzania," asked Sandy Gallant, "and making a difference for the women and the men living with breast cancer there?"

"One of the key things we've done Sandy, and we've been working in Tanzania for example since 2008, is we are helping de-stigmatize this disease," said Brinker. "Stigma is one of the largest problems here, and many women don't talk about breast cancer, just the way it was in America 40 years ago. And so we're helping them discuss it and talk about it.

You know we've had a Race for the Cure in Tanzania since 2008. But we work with the local organizations on the ground, the Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation, the Tanzania Medical Women's Organizations, and the cancer center, the Ocean Cancer Institute. To try and develop messages to reach out; cervical cancer which kills more people than breast cancer now, but at least people feel there is a cure for cervical cancer, early cervical cancer. And the vaccine is being developed here as well.

But breast cancer is trickier, therefore the mission for our organization is to address both these issues at least globally. We're active in 30 countries and in large continents. Of course China, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and we're working very very hard because we believe that no matter where a woman lives, shouldn't matter whether she lives."

"With the little time left, could you tell us what your itinerary is?" asked Garry Moore. "You've crossed paths with some major players on the world stage."

"Well it's been quite interesting," said Eric Brinker. "Today though was probably the most inspirational of our schedule even though it will be interesting to see the Mr. Obama and Mrs. Bush speak tomorrow. But we went to the Ocean Road Cancer Hospital, as my mom mentioned earlier. They have two radiology treatment machines, one was out of order, but for 45 million people it was quite powerful to see the women that had made it there.

And just to make it to this hospital is what was such a trek for someone, you know. And we're so lucky in Central Illinois to have such great hospitals with OSF, Methodist, and Proctor, and Chicago not far away, our access to care where we live is so much better.

And to see, hear people have to take 20 hour bus rides or can't even afford to take a bus ride is what is so amazing to see some of the few people who have made it there."

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.