Thank you, Frankie (Cox). Ladies...and gentlemen...there are some gentlemen here....thank you all for coming.
Today we honor the heroes among us...all those who fight breast cancer. And on this day we wear pink with pride, to show our solidarity and our commitment to good health.
I thank all of you for demonstrating your commitment. This is an inspiring way to start National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Let's thank Frankie and the committee for all their hard work (applause).
In fact, this is a good week. On Monday, Americans received some great news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maybe you read about the new report: cancer rates are falling. The cancer death rates in America dropped significantly in the years 2002-2004. This means that more Americans are beating cancer...that cancer is more survivable.
As part of that announcement, we learned that the cancer rate for women has dropped...that there are declines in colorectal and breast cancer rates, and that the rate of increase for lung cancer is slowing down.
That is wonderful news, but it is sobering to realize how far we still have to go. It is too early to declare victory. This year approximately 200,000 new cases of breast cancer in women will be diagnosed in the United States...and nearly 44,000 women will die.
And men are diagnosed with breast cancer, too. The American Cancer Society predicts that well over 2,000 men with be diagnosed with breast cancer; about 500 of them will die from the disease.
This is a hard disease for many to confront. I know people who simply don't want to think about it, or ignore the warning signs of danger. Some women have told me that they don't want to know: they worry that breast cancer will disfigure them or make them less attractive. Some people just don't believe it can happen to them.
I understand. There is denial, frustration, and diversion. It's strange to think that our own cells turn against us, that this happens in our own body. Breast cancer is a silent killer, indeed. It is a determined, relentless killer than does not discriminate because of race, age, circumstance, OR GENDER!!!
We are winning more of the individual battles, saving lives. We can eventually win the war. Through the good work of the American Cancer Society and other organizations, we are no longer silent about breast cancer. We are loud and proud.
So let's get loud today!!! Let's talk about it. Let's educate women and men, old and young. Because when we join together...when we fight together...when we work together...we can defeat even the deadliest form of disease.
There is another way we can demonstrate our commitment: support the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk on Sunday, October 21st. You can walk to raise money for breast cancer research. You can support a runner through a generous donation. And you can come down to the event and cheer on the participants, maybe even pass out water or help in other ways.
And since October is when we make our CFC plans for the year, you might consider designating a nonprofit fighting breast cancer. If you already give, you might want to increase your support from last year. Our funding is making a profound difference...the research is giving longer life to hundreds of thousands of women.
So this month...and every month...we must make awareness our mission. Knowledge equals good health. Exercise and a good diet can prevent cancer. Early detection saves lives. Treatment is now successful for more and more and more women.
Think of what that means. Awareness is life itself. It is empowerment. When we speak out, we show our concern, our love, and our respect. Each time we pass on information, we help motivate our colleagues, friends, and family to seek out screening and remain vigilant. With each person we educate, we can make a powerful, profound difference.
That is why we meet today. And why this month will help focus our efforts through the coming year.
Thank you again for coming.