“I must tell you that this evening has a very special meaning to me as I was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of the disease,” shared Joan Lunden at the 5th annual Susan G. Komen Honoring the Promise Gala at the Kennedy center Friday night.
“At first I thought, it’s just not fair…” admitted the Journalist and former “Good Morning America” host, who was, this June, diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. “That’s kind of where you start. And then you get this emotional battle that rages inside of you until, finally, you tap into that secret stronger part of yourself. And then you shift into Warrior Mode. I felt it the minute I shifted into Warrior Mode… You go from being a victim to all of a sudden being empowered with a purpose, and for me, who’s lived my life in the public eye, it was a chance for me to share my journey, and help other women, and fulfill the legacy of my Father who was a cancer surgeon.”
Lunden, who served as the evening’s emcee, was just one of the notable names with a personal connection to breast cancer who were on hand to help raise almost $2 million to fund grants for Komen’s 19 breast cancer grantees in the National Capital Region – an area with the highest incidence of and mortality rate from breast cancer in the nation. The event began with Julia Murney singing “Defying Gravity” and continued with musical performances (and a little comedy, too!) by Bruce Hornsby.
The night also honored U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida with the Betty Ford Lifetime Achievement Award — and a surprise congratulatory video from the President!) — and Carlyle Group CEO David Rubenstein who received
the Mission Advancement Award (hereafter the David Rubenstein Mission Advancement Award) for his steadfast support of Komen’s critical breast cancer research and global and community initiatives.
“One of the first people who called me after my breast cancer diagnosis was Nancy Brinker, offering advice, expert doctors and simply friendship,” Lunden said. “It is my great honor to be a part of the Honoring the Promise gala this evening. Because of Susan G. Komen, many others like myself have hope and new treatments.”
*Images credit Tony Powell for Susan G. Komen