Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The whole pink world - So I recently heard a conversation that had this juicy little tidbit in the middle 'We don’t want to say we want to find a cure for breast cancer, because that would just be silly.' It’s a zinger, right? I have been working on the mouth-filter my mom had so diligently begged me to employ so I sat silently whilst this was being tossed out there. But now, after ruminating a bit, I find that I need to post about it. As seems to be my modus operandi.

So let’s dissect this, want to? I know that we all have goals in our life. When you achieve them, do you then feel unbelievable satisfaction with a job well done? Or, if in the case of a job-advancement kind of thing – do you now have to worry about what to tackle next? Here’s how I see it (for what it’s worth) – if you climb and claw for something that will only bring you power and money, what do you do with that power and money? Do you go all-Emperor Palpatine and build yourself a big star to conquer the universe? And the bigger house, fancier car, does all that stuff make your heart feel better? I’m not being a smarty pants, I really want to know as I have no idea.

Barb and Pat, the co-founders of Vera Bradley, have said repeatedly (to my face, mind you, not in an inter-office memo situation) that their goal is to find a cure for breast cancer and find a new cause. Brilliant. Inspired. Mostly, however, hopeful. And in an unabashed sort of why-on-earth-not kind of a way. There is no reason to put hope aside for other gains, they can work in tandem. To be able to find a new cause, genius.

To let you know how possible this is, and within our lifetime, I’d like to share just a little historic nugget with you. In 1947, a child of Russian-Jewish immigrants began to work on a project that would find a cure for a horrific disease that was considered to be the most dangerous epidemic in recent history. By 1955, Jonas Salk and his team had found a cure for polio that is saved millions worldwide. As if speaking to all of us about power and glory, he was asked by Edward R. Murrow about who owns the patent rights to that immunization. His reply? “Well, the people, I would say," Dr. Salk replied. "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"

He then spent the rest of his live quietly seeking a vaccine for HIV with his team. Yes, I know it seems big, this hope for a cure. And since breast cancer has been around so long, it might seem insurmountable. But that just means you haven’t met the researchers I’ve met. Or spent time in the labs at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Or perhaps you’ve just never met Barb and Pat. Wonder what they will tackle when this is done….

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