By Clarence Anthony
It’s not much of a leap to guess that you’ve personally been touched by someone with breast cancer. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, a coworker, or one of your residents, this terrible disease has affected countless individuals.
This year, estimates project that among U.S. women there will be 232,340 new cases of breast cancer and 39,620 breast cancer deaths.
Although rare, it is estimated that there will be 2,240 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 410 breast cancer deaths among men.
There is hardly a city in the nation in which this tragic disease has not extended its effects. At the National League of Cities, members and staff know this all too well.
Three years ago, one of NLC’s own lost her battle with the disease. A part-time administrative coordinator and aunt of long-time staff member Sharie Wood, Dolores Dawson worked for NLC for five years.
Native to Washington, DC, Dolores loved to dance and listen to old school music. She was a close friend and counselor to staff and a wonderful example of strength. Even during her personal struggle, no matter how she was feeling she always greeted everyone with a smile.
She is still missed at the NLC office to this day.
John Pionke, Program Manager for Membership and Marketing, has also been personally impacted by the disease. His sister-in-law, Jennie Pionke, lost her battle with breast cancer in October 2011.
Jennie had been a successful business owner, wife, mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of six. Through it all, Jennie faced her trials with courage and strength, often holding up the rest of her family through her fight.
“She never lost her faith in herself, her family, or God,” says John. “She never asked “why me,” but always preached, get your mammograms, eat healthy, and cherish every moment.”
At NLC, our mission is to help city leader build better communities -- and a natural extension of this mission is to ensure that all people, in every community across the country, have the opportunity to live and thrive. After all, that’s why city leaders like you ran for office in the first place.
We want each individual to reach their potential and live long lives with their families – this makes every city, every neighborhood, every household better.
All of this month, NLC is honoring Dolores, John’s sister-in-law Jennie Pionke, and all those affected by this terrible disease.
If you send us an email, when we respond you’ll notice our signatures are shaded pink. If you walk by our building, you’ll see a banner celebrating breast cancer awareness. And if you visit our website, you’ll see a pink ribbon placed on our logo.
I hope that you will join NLC in honoring those lost and celebrating life by pushing for better prevention, treatment, and eventually a cure.
The infrastructure projects, economic development initiatives, balancing budgets – these essential municipal duties are ultimately for the benefit of people. Let’s not forget our most important job and be a part of making our communities better throughout breast cancer awareness month and all year long.