My entire life, I was very close to my grandmother. Her name was Catherine Wiley Hamilton and she was inimitable. She lived by the motto, “Born invited.” For her, as well as for me, that means to have confidence in your experience and education, a responsibility to make a contribution, and the inalienable right to be a part of the conversation. My grandmother and her four sisters were known as the “Wiley girls” in the small farming town of Little York, Illinois. She lived into her nineties, but breast cancer kept her sisters from sharing that long life. There is currently research being done into Irish families, like mine, that carry a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Now that I am working in the breast cancer research space, I often think of my great aunts Nell, Bird, Martha, and Ruth.
Now more than ever in this post-COVID reopening of the world, it seems we are all finding ways to exemplify my grandmother’s sentiment on life and how we can better this world. The memory of her words is my constant reminder of why I do what I do. During my entire career, I have been drawn to visionary personalities who establish, lead, and inspire.
Dr. Susan Love is one of said visionary persons.
Susan is a pioneer in the world of Breast Cancer Research, as well as one of the first public figures to come out as a lesbian in the 1970’s. She helped establish a culture where gay and lesbian leaders are heard and respected as professionals. My own experience coming of age during the AIDS crisis, I know what it means to fight for a cause and specifically for access to healthcare and research. As we head into the month of June and celebrating PRIDE, we want to remind people that all of us at the Dr. Susan Love Foundation stand by the LGBTQIA+ community. We are committed to the research being done for breast cancer on all diverse groups, whether that be defined by your heritage, your gender, or who you love.
Success is achieved when everyone comes together to support a common goal. During and post-pandemic we’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. We’ve witnessed how these challenging times have divided groups of people but also how it’s united us in many different ways as well. It’s crucial that we prioritize the common goal and really allow everyone to be a part of the conversation — as we are all “Born Invited”.
I am proud to stand next to, and behind, the many women who have led organizations working to end breast cancer. I believe that the research led by Dr. Susan Love will uncover the cause of breast cancer in my lifetime. And I am proud to be part of the effort to build the necessary organizational infrastructure and strategic resources.