NEW YORK--About 300 breast cancer survivors and hundreds of family,
friends, physicians, and supporters gathered at the Plaza Hotel
for a luncheon to celebrate breast cancer survival.
The third annual Celebrate Life luncheon, sponsored by the National
Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO), was attended
by a host of notables, including Larry Norton, MD, who received
the Pathbreaker award, and, via videotape, President Clinton,
whose mother had breast cancer (see below).
Not a Hallmark Anniversary
Amy Langer, NABCO's executive director, and a breast cancer survivor,
told the guests it was a joyful meeting of a club whose members
did not ask to join.
NBC-TV correspondent Betty Rollin, author of the book, First You
Cry, about her cancer diagnosis, came up with the idea for the
first Celebrate Life event. This year's gathering, she said at
a press conference, had particular meaning for her. "It is
my 20th cancer anniversary. Hallmark makes no cards, I have noticed,
for cancer anniversaries. We're going to celebrate anyway."
Ms. Rollin said she sometimes gets nervous about being too cheerful
about breast cancer. "People will start thinking I'm recommending
it, which I am not. But for those of us who survive . . . we can't
help being cheerful and grateful. We want very much to get the
word out to all of the very frightened women in America to get
The theme of this year's luncheon was the role of family in recovery
from breast cancer. Personifying the theme were the breast cancer
survivors and their family members who were being honored or serving
as honorary co-chairs. These included Ernestine Schlant Bradley,
PhD, a breast cancer survivor, and her husband, Senator Bill Bradley
of New Jersey; Ms. Rollin and her husband, Dr. Ed Edwards; artist
Elizabeth Zahn and her daughter, CBS television anchor Paula Zahn;
and former New York congresswoman Bella Abzug and her daughters,
Eve and Liz Abzug.