Rubbing shoulders with royalty

We all have our own perspective on what constitutes royalty. Some of the people I look up to the most are those who have made a difference in people’s lives, especially by contributing to the breast cancer awareness movement.

During the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the honor of meeting two women with connections to how the disease is understood and how survivors are educated and treated.

The first is Lesley Kushner, daughter of Rose Kushner, whose story I told in my LA Times’ op-ed. Lesley reached out to me via email after coming across my piece. She was thrilled to see that her mother’s legacy continues to influence another generation of survivor-advocates. Lesley told me that her father, Harvey, who figures prominently in Rose’s landmark book, still lives in the LA area and would be happy to talk with me if I’d like to write further about her mom’s work. I might just take her up on that offer.

I also had the chance recently to interview Dr. Mary-Claire King, who discovered the BRCA1 gene and has since used her knowledge of human genomics to advocate for improved health care options for women. King is also known for her research showing that humans and chimpanzees are 99% the same genetically and has even applied her talents to helping families in Argentina identify the remains of children kidnapped by rebels through examination of DNA.

With Dr. Mary-Claire King at a fundraising event at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, AL, on November 17, 2014.

With Dr. Mary-Claire King at a fundraising event at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, AL, on November 17, 2014.

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