Interview: Helping Those Afflicted with COVID-19
THROOMERS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW
Founding the Susan G. Komen organization and mobilizing a worldwide movement for breast cancer awareness has become an enduring legacy for former U.S. Ambassador Nancy Brinker. Now, as co-founder of the Promise Fund of Florida, she is setting an example for others to give so that those affected by the coronavirus can receive much-needed help. Here, Brinker shares her thoughts on the disease and how to get through it the best way we can.
Moving Forward in Troubling Times
HOW ARE YOU, YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES, ETC., DOING?
These are certainly trying, even challenging times, but as always, it’s the love and kindness of friends and family that so often sustains us. I am blessed not only with incredible people in my life but also exceptional medical care. I recently underwent knee surgery, and thankfully my doctor has been kind enough to conduct telemedicine sessions with me to ensure a successful recovery. Not everyone else is so lucky, which is why I hope that the obstacles and challenges we are all facing today help to muster long-overdue healthcare reforms concerning access and affordability of care for all Americans. We still have a lot of progress to make as a nation, and that’s only more evident during this epidemic.
HOW HAS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTED YOUR LIFE, YOUR BUSINESS, ETC., AND HOW ARE YOU COPING?
Prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, my focus had primarily been on continuing to grow The Promise Fund of Florida. Our nonprofit organization aims to prevent the unnecessary progression of breast and cervical cancer in order to eliminate preventable loss of life in Palm Beach County, Florida. In keeping with its mission to help those in need in Palm Beach County, the Promise Fund of Florida has donated $5,000 to both the Town of Palm Beach Coronavirus Emergency Fund and the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties’ COVID-19 Response Fund. The Promise Fund Board of Directors hopes that these actions will serve as an example for others to give to these funds so that those most affected can receive much-needed assistance during this very difficult time. The Promise Fund encourages all to follow the healthcare guidelines in order to stay healthy and help others avoid the virus.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OUR BUSINESS LEADERS AND GOVERNMENT?
First and foremost: listen to the experts! I cannot stress that enough. We are blessed to have Doctor Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci spearheading the Coronavirus Task Force. All of our public behavior recommendations and communications must stem from their expertise and what the facts on the ground tell us. We have first-rate medical researchers and doctors at the National Institute for Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization, and their guidance must be heeded as well. It’s the virus that will dictate when we are prepared to begin assuming more routine interactions and work functions, not politicians. We must always err on the side of saving and preserving life. It’s certainly difficult and not without its challenges, but together we can get it done!
We learned a lot of lessons from the Spanish Flu and subsequent epidemics, including SARS in the early 2000s, when the Bush Administration earned high marks for its aggressive public response. That’s why we are even better prepared today. The current state of affairs already provokes enough anxiety – let’s not create more fear. Things are done on a different scale now, with much more research and a much more efficient approach to dealing with diseases. There are great reasons for hope.
DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS, IDEAS, RECOMMENDATIONS, WISDOM, ETC., TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
As the coronavirus pandemic inevitably expands during the coming weeks, so will our exposure to a virulent combination of misinformation, disinformation, and flawed analysis. As we have heard from Dr. Birx, the lead of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, time and data will take the place of assumptions, increasing the accuracy of projections. As someone who has spent four decades working with cutting edge researchers, scientists, and medical professionals, including Dr. Fauci, I understand that estimates, however valuable, can be daunting. Sometimes, this leads to anxiety, nervousness, and even disputes about science. Information is power, and it can also be reassuring, so make sure you’re using trusted sources.
The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization offer easy-to-understand information for all age groups and the latest news and trusted information that will help to keep you and your family safe. Other good online sources of information on the virus include:
- Medline Plus, from the US National Library of Medicine;
- Harvard Health Publishing’s Coronavirus Resource Center;
- the UK’s National Health Service;
- the US Food and Drug Administration; and
- major news outlets with deep expertise in health reporting, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe’s STAT News.