George W. Bush photo

Remarks at a Reception for the National Race for the Cure

April 21, 2004

Thank you. Welcome. Thanks for coming. Thank you, darling. [Laughter] What she forgot to say was "a Race for the Cure ex-runner." I'm afraid my knees hurt. [Laughter] But thanks for coming to the White House. I appreciate your support in such an important cause.

I too want to thank Nancy Brinker. I picked her to be the Ambassador to Hungary because I know her to be an accomplished, smart, capable woman. And she did a fabulous job as the Ambassador, and I'm real proud to call her friend. She's a social entrepreneur. She uses her skills to advance humanity in a positive way, and she did so in the name of her sister, Susan Komen. And Stephanie, I'm glad you're here—Susan's daughter. Thanks for coming. Proud you're here. I bet you're proud of your old auntie. [Laughter] That's good.

I appreciate Susan Braun being here. Susan, you're doing a fine job. Nancy was up for dinner the other night, and so I was asking her about how everything was going in the foundation. I said, "Have you found anybody who can run this thing?" And she said, "Yes, Susan Braun. She's doing a heck of a job." So if you can meet her standards, you must be doing a heck of a job. [Laughter] Thanks for your hard work.

LaSalle, it's good to see you, sir. Dr. LaSalle Leffall is the chairman of the board. Thank you for taking time to support this meaningful cause. I want to thank the other board members and supporters who are here as well.

Some of corporate America is represented here, supporting this fine foundation. Thanks for being a good corporate citizen for our country. Thanks for doing your duty and supporting such a fine cause.

My buddy Ann Veneman, who is the Secretary of Agriculture, is with us. She's a survivor. I'm really proud of Ann. She's doing an excellent job as a member of my Cabinet. Glad you're doing well. Thanks for coming.

I'm really glad Sue Ann Thompson is here. It's great to see you, Sue Ann. She's married to Tommy, who is not here—better half of the family showed up. [Laughter] Thanks for coming, Sue Ann. Really good to see you.

I appreciate Congressman Sue Myrick. I'm glad you're here. She's one of the co-chair of the House Cancer Caucus, along with Steve Israel. Thank you for coming, Steve. I'm proud you both are here. Sue brought her grandson Jake, Jake Forest. I just thought I'd say his name so he would get on C-SPAN. [Laughter]

It's good to see two other Members of the Congress who have taken time to come out, offer their support, Joe Barton from Texas and Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee. Thank you both for being here. I'm proud you came too.

I want to honor the cancer survivors who are here. We appreciate your courage and your steadfast strength and your willingness to share your stories and your experiences with others.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation Annual Race for the Cure is now a national tradition. And it didn't take long to get there. As Laura mentioned, the race started—she said her home State—it also happens to be mine—[laughter]—in Dallas, Texas. And it didn't—from '83 to now, that's a couple of decades and a year, and yet when you hear the Race for the Cure, everybody knows what you're talking about. It's kind of become the brand name for saving lives. The Komen Foundation has invested nearly $500 million in the fight against breast cancer. That's really good.

Laura recognized somebody by name. I am too. Rana Kahl is with us. She participated in her first race 8 years ago. She ran 4 years before being diagnosed on her 33d birthday with breast cancer. And her first time at the race as a survivor was the day after her first chemo treatment. She's been the chairwoman of the National Race for the Cure's Survivor Committee for 3 years. She's lending her heart and her expertise.

Rana celebrated her fourth cancer-free anniversary last month, and she and her husband, Kevin, welcomed their first child last year. It's a beautiful story. She said, "Because of the work we do today, other lives will be saved," which is the spirit of the Komen Foundation. "Because of the work we do today, other lives will be saved."

Approximately one in seven women in the United States will develop breast cancer over her lifetime. That means more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed this year. This Government is committed to helping find a cure for breast cancer, and it must be. The Department of Health and Human Services is spending $900 million on breast cancer research and preventative activities. I want to thank the Members of Congress for your strong support.

My budget has proposed an increase for next year as well. The budget includes $220 million for an early detection program, promotes mammography use, and helps low-income women afford screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer. It also includes 768 million to aid breast cancer researchers at the National Institutes of Health. NIH is now conducting the largest trial ever of new early detection technologies. This effort will help doctors target breast cancer at its most treatable stage. Early detection is essential. We're going to continue to work with the Congress to make sure that the—there is increased access to screening services.

This country is making progress on women's health issues, and I appreciate the leadership of Tommy—Tommy Thompson at the Health and Human Services. Recently, the Komen Foundation honored Tommy—it says here, Secretary Thompson—[laughter]—Secretary Tommy Thompson—[laughter]—with the Women's Health Advocate Award for his work in the area of breast cancer. I know you're proud of him, and so am I.

Secretary Thompson, I will continue to stand by you in your cause. We'll not rest. We'll work to make sure that we do everything we can to help save lives.

The National Race for the Cure is an inspiring example. It's a good example for a lot of others to watch. It's an example of courage and hope and faith, and I want to thank you for your involvement.

Have a great race this June. I wish I could join you. [Laughter] God bless.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 4:38 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Nancy Goodman Brinker, founding chair, Susan Braun, president and chief executive officer, and LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., chairman of the board, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; and Sue Ann Thompson, wife of Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of the First Lady, who introduced the President.

George W. Bush, Remarks at a Reception for the National Race for the Cure Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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