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November 9, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
In-Person: An Evening With Judith Pearson & Nancy Brinker
Books & Books presents…
AN EVENING WITH JUDITH PEARSON
in conversation with
(Mayo Clinic Press, $27.99)
Thursday, November 9th, 6:00 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables
Books & Books is thrilled to present an evening with Judith Pearson for her fascinating book: Crusade to Heal America: The Remarkable Life of Mary Lasker (Mayo Clinic Press, $27.99). She will be in conversation with former U.S. Ambassador, Nancy Brinker.
This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.
About the Book:
“I am opposed to cancer and heart attacks the way I am opposed to sin.” With that as her battlecry, a petite, well-coiffed socialite forever changed American medical research.
In Crusade to Heal America, Judith L. Pearson shares the never-before-told story of Mary Lasker, a woman who was savvy, steely, and deliberate, with the goal of eliminating human suffering. While scientists looked at disease as a problem to be solved, Lasker saw it as a beast to be slain. Her first step was creating, with her husband Albert, the Lasker Foundation, which bestows annual awards for medical research. Next, they reimagined—and renamed—the American Cancer Society, greatly increasing the donations. But when Lasker learned that 40% of WWII volunteers had been rejected for health reasons, she asked the question no one else had: Why wasn’t the federal government funding medical research? Proclaiming herself a “catalytic agent,” she led a ceaseless, behind-the-scenes crusade to improve the health of Americans.
Lasker’s crusade transformed the National Institute of Health from a single, poorly funded entity to the greatest medical research facility on the planet. And while she counted legislators, medical experts, celebrities, and presidents as allies, she was not without naysayers and enemies who wanted to see her fail. When her beloved Albert died of cancer, Lasker doubled-down on her crusade, insisting that a cure for the disease was within reach with more research money.
As if on cue, a paranoid President Richard Nixon’s dilemma of how to prevent his nemesis, Senator Edward Kennedy from taking the White House appeared on the horizon. Lasker’s newly proclaimed “moonshot against cancer” would be his perfect tool. Despite dark political intrigue, her crusade ultimately resulted in an extraordinary $1.3 billion for cancer research ($9.6 billion today), turning the nearly always fatal disease into one that was survivable. Fusing elements of American history, New York high society, and shrewd political acumen, Crusade to Heal America acquaints us with a feisty and fearless “fairy god-mother of medical research” who positioned herself at the crossroads of politics, science, and society—to the benefit of us all.
About the Author:
JUDITH L. PEARSON’s previous books include From Shadows to Life: A Biography of the Cancer Survivorship Movement (which won the 2022 Nautilus Gold Award), Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy, and Belly of the Beast: A POW’s Story of Faith, Courage, and Survival Aboard a WWII Hell Ship. A diagnosis of Triple Negative Breast Cancer led Judy to found A 2nd Act, a nonprofit that raises funds for survivors ready to launch or grow their 2nd Acts after cancer. In 2014, she was honored in Washington, D.C. by the American Association of Cancer Research. A former member of the Society of Integrative Oncology and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, she is a graduate of Michigan State University and divides her time between Arizona and Florida.
About the Moderator:
Nancy G. Brinker is the founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer organization, an author, and a former U.S. Ambassador.