Susan G. Komen’s name captures a promise and a movement. A movement symbolized by pink ribbons and the now familiar resolve that women’s health would no longer be whispered about in hushed tones, but we would collectively dedicate ourselves, donate our time, spend our energy and passion, all to Race for the Cure and end breast cancer forever.
But, before she was a cause, she was Suzy. Suzy Goodman has a unique place in the world, but is certainly Peoria’s favorite daughter. Along with her sister, Nancy Goodman Brinker, she was graduate of Richwoods High School. Suzy lived her life here, and from here she took her place in history when she tragically lost her battle to breast cancer at 36.
Though Suzy lost her battle with the disease, her legacy lives on through the work of Susan G. Komen®, the organization Nancy started in her honor. Komen is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1 billion since its inception in 1982. Our promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.
Across the country, that promise is upheld by a network of more than 100 local Affiliate offices. At the heart of each Affiliate is a person or group of people who, like Suzy, want to make a difference.
The Memorial Affiliate of Susan G. Komen® holds two distinctions that no other Komen Affiliate can claim. We host the second oldest Race in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® Series – beginning in 1985, and of course, we make our home in Peoria-the hometown of Suzy and Nancy. The tie between Komen Memorial and the Goodman family is very strong. Ellie Goodman, mother of Suzy and Nancy, served on the Board of Directors for many years. Though he now lives out of town, Suzy’s nephew (Nancy’s son) Eric Brinker continues to serve as an honorary board member.
The founder of Komen Memorial, Linda Washkuhn Sutkowski, was Suzy’s friend throughout her life and went on to found Komen Memorial after being a part of the Inaugural Race for the Cure in Dallas in 1983. A tireless advocate, she has served in various Race/Affiliate leadership positions and currently serves as an advisor to the Board.
Since its first granting period, Komen Memorial has awarded more than $13,000,000 to local organizations to support breast cancer screening, education and awareness. Komen Memorial serves 36 counties in Illinois which include the metro areas of Peoria, Bloomington/Normal, Springfield, Decatur and Champaign. The majority of these funds are raised by virtue of the annual Race for the Cure®, the largest fundraising event of its kind in Peoria history.
Lastly, Peoria’s pride in the Race and in Komen legacy is clearly illustrated by the renaming of a section of University Street, perhaps Peoria’s busiest thoroughfare, in Suzy’s honor.