At the Honoring The Promise Gala Kick-off Chocolate & Champagne Reception, Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker took time to recognize and thank Shawn Gardner for his fundraising efforts on behalf of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Shawn and his partner, Chris Barron have raised over $403,000 over the past 11 years through their Team Heather. 2012 may not have been the best year for Komen politically, but the controversy did not affect Team Heather. In fact 2012 was their biggest year yet with the team raising $57,000 for the Global Race which took place on The National Mall in Washington, DC on June 2nd.
Team Heather was named for Shawn’s sister, Heather Gardner who was just 25 years old and engaged to be married when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the diagnosis, Heather married her middle school sweetheart in March of 2002, and sadly passed away six months later in September. Those Heather left behind participated in The Global Race the first year after her death and raised quite a bit of money. After the event, Shawn says that they asked themselves, “What if we tried?” The team put together a plan for the next year, and they have been steadily increasing funds raised each year.
Team Heather has created several annual fundraisers to help reach their goal, including an annual Team Members’ Birthday Party held in May, and Puck Breast Cancer and OctoberBreast held in October, and an annual Pittsburgh Steelers Tailgate fundraiser in partnership with Dick’s Sporting Goods. In addition to these events, one unique idea that I really love is Bottles for Boobs –– Shawn’s relatives collect bottles from their friends and neighbors in a huge trash bin at their home and then recycle them for money which is then donated to Komen. Shawn is an English teacher at South County Middle School in Fairfax, Virginia. There he has created an annual talent show fundraiser held each March and put on by the South County National Honor Society/National Junior Honor Society.
Many fundraising teams are groups of family and friends participating in memory of a loved one lost to breast cancer. Like many other teams, Team Heather began as a way for the members to address their loss and pain, pouring their energy into fundraising in memory of Heather. Shawn says that over time, it changed for him. It was no longer about Heather’s memory, and became more about helping the next young woman who receives a breast cancer diagnosis. Last month, this point was driven home when Shawn’s sister, Renee Duddy tested positive for BRCA1, a harmful genetic mutation which increases a woman’s risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. Shawn’s mother is a 20+ year breast cancer survivor, so it was very important for Renee to undergo genetic testing.
Shawn was Co-Suvivor of the Year at the 2012 Global Race, and took part in the Opening Ceremony for The Honoring The Promise Gala in 2011. I hope that you will join Shawn and me at The Honoring The Promise Gala at The Kennedy Center this September 28th!
HONORING THE PROMISE GALA
Susan G. Komen for the Cure®‘s Honoring the Promise will bring together the heroes of the breast cancer movement for a once-in-a-lifetime evening of inspiration and world class entertainment. On this special night, Komen will honor those on the frontlines of the breast cancer fight with special awards of distinction in Medical and Scientific Research, Advocacy, Community and Global Leadership. Proceeds from the Honoring the Promise event in 2011 raised over $2 million to support a major projects in Southeast D.C. in Wards 7 and 8, communities with the highest breast cancer mortality rates in the region. Proceeds from the 2012 event will continue to support efforts in community health and cutting-edge medical research.
The night is to be chaired by one of Washington’s top business leaders, John Castellani, President and CEO of PhRMA and the former president and CEO of the Business Roundtable. The event’s Founding Chair is David M. Rubenstein, Co-Founder of The Carlyle Group.
Master of Ceremonies: Bob Schieffer, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent and Moderator of “Face the Nation”
2012 Awardees include:
Maggie Daley (to be accepted by The Honorable Richard M. Daley)
Senator Olympia Snowe
Her Excellency Dr. Christine Kaseba
First Lady of the Republic of Zambia
THE AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AND MRS. ABEER AL OTAIBA
THE AMBASSADOR OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT AND MRS. SALEM AL-SABAH
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN AND MRS. GAIL HUFF BROWN • REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DINGELL
THE HONORABLE AND MRS. JOHN ENGLER • SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
JANE AND SPENCER ABRAHAM • HOWARD BERNICK • WILMA AND STUART BERNSTEIN • DEBORAH DINGELL
HADASSAH LIEBERMAN • MARLENE AND FRED MALEK • GINGER AND STUART PAPE • ANNE AND JOHN RAFFAELLI VANESSA REED • VICKI AND ROGER SANT • LINDA AND ACIE VICKERS
JOHN BRADY • ROGER HIYAMA • B.R. MCCONNON III • JANET MCULSKY
NELS OLSON • ANDREA RODGERS • BRIGITTE SCHMIDT GWYN • REX WACKERLE
WHEN:Friday, September 28, 2012 7:30 p.m. until midnight
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20037