Jerusalem, Komen group teaming in breast cancer battle

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A leading breast cancer organization and the city of Jerusalem are teaming up.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, at a news conference here Wednesday announced the start of the Israel Breast Cancer Collaborative this fall.

Events from Oct. 25 to 29 will feature a think tank on early detection, the Race for the Cure, and the Israel Mission delegation of scientists, cancer survivors and activists who want to serve the breast cancer movement in Israel.

The Race for the Cure on Oct. 28 will be held outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, but Barkat said the route has yet to be determined. The Komen group is expecting 7,000 participants.

Asked whether there would be outreach to Palestinians who want to attend, the mayor pledged to make the event accessible, describing it as a “bipartisan, non-political event.” Barkat joked later, “As requested, the city walls will be pink.”

Brinker said the collaboration is not the beginning of the Komen group’s work in Israel.

"Sixteen years ago, Susan G. Komen’s very first international research grant went to Israel," she said. "Since then we have funded nearly $2 million in scientific research and community outreach."

Brinker said the collaborative will allow her organization to continue its work with current global partners such as the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Hadassah, as well as new partners in Israel such as the Israel Cancer Association.

Nancy Falchuk, president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, pledged her organization’s support of the Collaborative, and promised to bring walkers from Hadassah’s global branches.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and his wife, Hadassah, and former ambassador Ned Siegel and his wife, Stephanie, are co-chairs of the collaborative. Joining the partnership are Breakthrough, a charity established in the United Kingdom; the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation; and Sharsheret, a nonprofit organization for young Jewish women facing breast cancer.

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