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Carmichael Breast Cancer Advocate Honored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure | Life

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Carmichael Breast Cancer Advocate Honored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Life, News, People
Carmichael Breast Cancer Advocate Honored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Donna Sanderson of Carmichael, California has been recognized by Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, for her uncompromising dedication to working with Komen for the Cure to end breast cancer. Sanderson received the special Suzy’s Angel award at the organization’s annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas, March 24-26.

Only occasionally, Komen chooses to give the Suzy’s Angel award in special recognition of someone who exemplifies the organization’s promise to end breast cancer through extraordinary service and dedication to the cause. Suzy’s Angel honors the recipient for committing time, talents and energy to help save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

Sanderson has been committed to furthering Komen’s promise to end breast cancer for 18 years. In August 1993, as a long-standing advocate for women’s issues, Sanderson volunteered at a Ladies’ Professional Golf Association event supporting Komen. A few months later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and became engaged in the cause. Since that time, Sanderson has emerged as a leading force in the breast cancer movement in the Sacramento area. She is currently the executive director of the Sacramento Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

When she learned through the Affiliate’s community assessment that several of the counties on the eastern side of the Sacramento Valley area had above-average breast cancer incidences due to lack of convenient access to breast health programs and screening facilities, Sanderson acted on her conviction that these women would benefit significantly from periodic visits by a mobile mammography unit combined with community outreach focused on breast cancer education and the importance of screening. Influenced by Sanderson’s vision, the Komen Affiliate in 2005 awarded a special grant of more than $1.5 million to fund a state-of-the-art mobile mammography unit that now serves those uninsured women in rural Northern California counties where facilities are hard to reach or non-existent.


In 2003, Sanderson joined forces with the other six Komen California Affiliates to form the California Affiliate Collaborative. The Collaborative was established to identify breast health service needs statewide and to encourage policy makers to find ways of meeting those needs. When the California budget was signed in October 2010, thanks to the work of the Collaborative, $20 million was directed at California’s Every Woman Counts program to provide free mammograms for those who do not qualify for Medicaid. As chair of the California Collaborative, Sanderson played an integral role in the efforts to secure this funding.

In 2007, Sanderson traveled as a U.S. delegate to Budapest, Hungary, for Komen’s first Global Advocate Summit, which brought together breast cancer activists from five continents to learn from and encourage each other. Passionate about sharing life-saving information and practices internationally, Sanderson also was part of establishing the first privately funded breast cancer awareness organization in Africa and helped launch the first Susan G. Komen Tanzania Race for the Cure® in 2008. 

“Sanderson has often said she feels privileged for the opportunity to work with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and to share in its founder Nancy G. Brinker’s promise to end breast cancer forever. Her pride is in the message she has helped deliver and in the relationships she has built along the way,” said Diane Pearson-Brown, President of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. “The Sacramento community has been immensely fortunate to have had her leadership the past 18 years. When she retires in October 2011, the loss of her leadership and spirit will be deeply felt both within the Komen Affiliate and the community at large. Sanderson has worked tirelessly for one single goal: to do all she can to help end breast cancer forever.”  


Life, News, People