I wanted to let you all know personally how touched I was by the response to my essay about my breast cancer diagnosis. As I wrote, I feel incredibly lucky that mine was caught early and that I had exceptional care that allowed for a quick diagnosis and plan of action. I know so many women are not as fortunate and are in the midst of much fiercer battles. That’s why we are covering every aspect of breast cancer on our platform during the month of October and I’m going to be a complete nag about getting your mammogram and asking your doctor if you have dense breasts.
As I wrote in my essay, 45 percent of women (if not more) fall into this category. Mammograms alone, even superior 3D mammograms, may not be enough to diagnose breast cancer in these patients. I find it maddening, or as my radiologist, Dr. Susan Drossman says, “‘disgraceful,” that more women aren’t informed that additional screening could save their lives. We need to fight for national legislation that will require insurance companies to cover breast ultrasounds for those of us who need them. I’ll be talking about this a lot this month, including on The TODAY Show on Monday in the 7:30 half hour!
I kept thinking about how fortunate I was to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022, with plenty of high-tech treatment options at my disposal. People diagnosed with ALS are never that lucky — they’re often told to get their affairs in order and prepare to die. But something incredibly exciting happened this month: The FDA approved the first drug for ALS in five years. The power behind this is an organization called I AM ALS, spearheaded by two forces of nature, Brian Wallach, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2017, and his incredible wife and partner in all things, Sandra Abrevaya. When I read their story in this Politico article by their friend Sam Stein, I knew I had to get involved in the documentary about their experience. I’ve grown to love them both and am so excited for you to see the documentary, which will premiere at The Chicago Film Festival next month! Here’s a trailer from the film:
Meanwhile, I had a great chat this week with Steve Case, the former CEO and chairman of AOL and best-selling author, about his new book, The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream.
For the past eight years, Steve has been traveling across the country to find and support promising start-ups that can then reinvigorate entire communities. We talked about the fact that the majority of venture capital goes to companies in California, New York, and Massachusetts. Steve, with the help of several other successful entrepreneurs, is working to spread that wealth and make sure female and Black entrepreneurs are not left behind. (The number of those companies that receive VC money is abysmal.) He believes supporting and nurturing these new businesses across the country will help with the political divide in our country as well. I chatted with him when he was dashing around for his book tour: Here’s our conversation.