Today I had the great honor to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. We arrived at the NYSE and were escorted to this beautiful room, where we were served coffee and a continental breakfast. About 15 minutes prior to the opening bell, we gathered for a little informal ceremony with the NYSE representative. In his little welcome speech he casually informed us that we will be watched my about 100 million people. Ok, yes I said ONE HUNDRED MILLION people (who is visualizing Dr. Evil from Austin Powers at this moment??) This number is daunting no matter who you are, however, this was even more profound because of the reason that I was there.
I sit on many boards. Most of them are related to the jewelry industry, and anyone that knows me knows how much I love all my volunteer work and the giving back. But there is one board I sit on that has nothing to do with the jewelry industry, it is the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation Board. This Foundation was started in 2006 by a group of mom’s whose friend got Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). They could not find any information on this type of cancer anywhere. As a result, a grass roots effort was started, and the Foundation was born. In less than 8 years they have raised millions of dollars to support their mission: to be a credible source for triple negative breast cancer information, a catalyst for science and patient advocacy groups, and a caring community with meaningful services for patients and their families.
When most people hear that I am involved with this organization their first question is “What exactly is Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I never heard of it”. So now back to the NYSE. When I heard that number, ONE HUNDRED MILLION people, my first thought was, WOW, so many people that never even heard of the disease will at least now be familiar with the name. After this welcome speech was over, we were taken down to the “floor”, and again WOW. I had seen images on TV, seen images in movies, but their is nothing like the real thing. Again, what was amazing to me was that not only was the big TNBC sign hanging behind the podium, but on the screens they had our logo as well. Everyone was being exposed to our foundation, asking the questions to find out more about it and getting to know perhaps a little more than they did when they first woke up.
The morning was a great one, and all day I heard congratulations and excitement. However, in all the excitement of it, there is still one thing that everyone has to remember, Triple Negative Breast Cancer is a horrible disease. Real people are fighting it everyday, and what we do as a foundation is a small part in the fight for a cure, but it is with our determination, hard work and tireless volunteers, that we will one day find a that cure. If you want to learn more about TNBC, know anyone with TNBC or want to find out how you can help in the fight, I encourage you to visit the website at www.tnbcfoundation.org.
Ringing the bell at the NYSE will go down as one of those once in a lifetime moments, I just truly hope that the reach goes beyond the few minutes of air time and starts many conversations.