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In the pink: Komen for the Cure celebrates 30 years fighting breast cancer

Komen for the Cure founder Nancy Brinker and Jill Biden at the 30th anniversary dinner Friday at the Kuwaiti embassy. (Tony Powell )

The woman responsible for that pink around town -- the White House flooded in a cotton-candy hue Thursday night, those funky bubble gum-colored shoes and gloves on the Redskins -- feels a little bad about that.

"I apologize to all of you because October is so full of pink," deadpanned Nancy Brinker. "Even the NFL. Is nothing sacred?"

Apparently not. With a formidable mix of dedication, energy, ambition and an impressive Rolodex, Brinker turned a small breast cancer foundation named after her sister -- and its annual "Race for the Cure" -- into a global phenomenon. Over the weekend, the Susan G. Komen Foundation celebrated 30 years of research and education, including an A-list dinner for donors Friday at the Kuwaiti embassy and a gala at the Kennedy Center on Saturday with Laura Bush.

"About nine billion years ago, it is said . . . something about the size of this fist exploded and created the universe," said KenCen chairman David Rubenstein, chair of the weekend bash, which raised $2 million. "It was the greatest power and force we've ever seen . . . until Rima Al-Sabah and Nancy Brinker came together."

The popular ambassador's wife kicked things off Friday with a dinner honoring Brinker, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Chicago's first lady Maggie Daley, all three of whom have faced breast cancer. Daley never made it to the embassy: After arriving from Chicago, she was admitted to Georgetown Hospital for severe leg pain and remains hospitalized here.

The other dinner guests -- all breast cancer survivors or family and friends of women who've battled the disease -- included Jill Biden, "Sex and the City" actress Cynthia Nixon, Michelle Obama's chief of staff Susan Sher, White House social secretary Julianna Smoot, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Sen. John Kerry, ABC's Robin Roberts, philanthropists Catherine Reynolds and Adrienne Arsht, and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his wife, Michelle, one of their first social appearances since he lost the primary election.

Lots of power estrogen in the room, but it was a man who made the most heartfelt pitch.
"I wanted to say that breast cancer is not a woman's disease," Rubenstein told the crowd at the embassy. "We think of it as a woman's disease, but it's really a human disease . . . All of us have mothers, wives, daughters, nieces and granddaughters, and all of them are going to be affected by this if we don't pitch in and do something."

By The Reliable Source  | October 18, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
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Brinker snubs DC.

Shame on Nancy Brinker of Komen for the Cure for stepping on the chairs of this gala. Annie Totah and her committee planned this event and raised millions of dollars. Brinker snatched the credit with little more than a "thank you" to these pillars of our fund-raising community.

Posted by: dcsocialista | October 19, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

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