By Elaine I. Grobman, CEO, Komen Philadelphia
I recently had a beautiful, yet simple, email exchange with a longtime and loyal Komen Philadelphia activist, Len Weinstein. Len first became involved with us well over a decade ago when his wife, Sherry, was diagnosed with breast cancer. With Len at the head, Komen Philadelphia became a multigenerational Weinstein family cause—with everyone finding their own ways to impact our mission, from Len and Sherry, to their beautiful daughters and sons-in-law, to their grandchildren Allie and Ben, who attended their first Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure in strollers.
Being involved with us has always been a family affair for the Weinsteins—and I will always remember how it warmed my heart to see the little ones wanting to do anything and everything with “Grand-dad,” especially when it came to our Race and Race registration events with the Philadelphia Phillies. I was in awe seeing Allie and Ben hold the pink bucket in their tiny hands so passersby could make donations, help setup registration stands, and walk… oh could they walk that 5K with just as much energy and purpose as any adult! They still walk to this day, now as young adults themselves.
This fall, Allie celebrated her B’nai Mitzvah. One of the gifts of cash she received came with a request that Allie keep half for herself and donate half to a nonprofit of her choosing. Komen Philadelphia received the check from Allie with a memo “$250 donated to Komen Philadelphia in honor of Mom-Mom” (Sherry). Len tells us that Allie didn’t hesitate for even a half-second in choosing to share her gift with Komen Philadelphia.
From the time she was literally toddling around Eakins Oval, Allie had a purpose—she was doing so much more than joining her grandparents and parents for a “fun Sunday morning.” She was celebrating her Mom-Mom, and with each passing year she understood more and more that, in celebrating Sherry, she was making it possible for other women like her to survive this breast cancer. Allie is a loving girl whose actions bring tremendous hope to all of us. The history of her and her family with Komen Philadelphia demonstrates the strong belief and longevity of support that will see us defeating breast cancer one day for all men and women. Ours is a fight that transcends generations and genders… faiths and social positioning. It is a fight in which everyone has a reason to participate and in which everyone can make an impact, if they just believe in their ability to do so.
And so, I say, thank you Allie and the Weinstein family. For your support. For the example you set. For the power you bring to our mission. I know many of you reading this have similar stories of the “family fight” and I thank all of you as well. I hope that all those who experience these stories feel the friendship of the countless Komen Philadelphia “families” fighting for your future and for an end to breast cancer forever.