Nancy Brinker is one of Newsmax's 100 most influential Republican women . . . a best-selling author, a former member of President George W. Bush's administration, a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, a cancer survivor, and a frequent presence on Newsmax TV.
To fulfill a promise to her dying sister, Brinker founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 1982 and has since raised $3 billion dollars for breast cancer research. She battled breast cancer herself in 1983.
After leading the foundation for many years, Brinker served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and as President George W. Bush’s Chief of Protocol.
Brinker continues to have an advisory role with the foundation and also serves as the World Cancer Foundation Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Here, Newsmax catches up with Brinker, 71, to look back on her life experiences.
Newsmax: You have quite the résumé. How do you find the time to devote to the causes you're passionate about?
Nancy Brinker: Thank you! Some hear that if you want something done, ask a busy person. My parents and late husband were my greatest inspiration. They never accepted being idle, but that said, they all valued accomplishment!
Did you ever anticipate that the Susan G. Komen Foundation would become such a force in the world of breast cancer research and support?
I promised Suzy I would keep the promise I made to her. She is present every day in the work I’m so privileged to do. We never intended to be the biggest — just the most effective. I always want to do more.
What's the last book that you couldn’t put down?
"Mrs. Kennedy and Me" by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin.
Do you think you will see a cure for breast cancer in your lifetime?
I’m hoping, but I won’t consider us successful until we make sure every woman and man can live with it and die of something else. I would love to see the disease prevented.
What letter grade would you give healthcare in this country today?
Sexual harassment is huge in the news. How would you like to see this story play out?
It shouldn’t happen at all to men or women — and try to be strong enough to move away from a person if it does.
Tell us about some of your favorites:
Favorite film: "An Affair to Remember," "Casablanca," "Pretty Woman"
Favorite guilty pleasure: Butter pecan ice cream from Tideline Resort in Palm Beach
Favorite restaurants in New York: Majorelle and Le Bernardin
If Hollywood was doing a movie on your life, who should play you?
Sandra Bullock (+20 years). I think she’s terrific and very funny!
Describe your perfect night in.
Having a quiet dinner of Tex-Mex and watching Netflix.
What's your favorite type of music or song?
Classical piano or violin, and of course basic rock music!
When you think of your mom or dad, what is one of the most memorable lessons or sayings they taught you?
Never stop working, and obey your parents. Love your family and friends, abide by your faith, and the golden rule.
You are a pathfinder for women. What’s your advice today for young women entering the workforce?
Never accept no — work through it and be unafraid to take on the tough jobs. Work as long as you have to reach your goal and stay as healthy as you can.
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