Saturday, October 20, 2007

Historic event

I've said this many, many times before; and I have a feeling that I will continue to say it for a long time to come: this job is a gift. To get to be a part of an historic event -- the first time a First Lady has ever visited a Gulf state -- and to be there to empower women to take charge of their own health is truly a phenomenal opportunity. When one is given a gift, the first reaction is gratitude; and the first person who comes to mind in this case is Nancy G. Brinker. Her "beyond all boundaries" vision has made this event a reality. To even imagine the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research takes courage and daring. Nancy made it happen.

My gratitude continues. If not for the Komen staff and affiliate network and activists of all descriptions, I would not be here today. Here is the journey from Dallas to Chicago to London to Abu Dhabi. There are several Komen staff who worked very, very hard to get me ready for this trip--from travel to speeches to clothes to MOUs to everything imaginable. You know who you are.

I love this idea of health diplomacy. For those of you who have been at this for years and years, and have helped to change the culture of breast cancer in the U.S., I hope you will take pride in Komen's role with women who face tremendous cultural barriers but are willing to start the journey for themselves and others.

I will share the highlights of the trip with you as they occur. The first stop is Abu Dhabi, then Dubai, Riyadhi, and finally Jeddah. I have read my speeches and plan to stick to the script for once.

I will try to make you proud.