Susan G. Komen was married to her high school sweetheart, Stan Komen. Born Susan Goodman in 1943 in Peoria, Illinois, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 and died from the disease in 1980 at the age of 36.
Susan's younger sister, Nancy Brinker, started Susan G. Komen, originally called the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, in 1982. The organization has grown to be the largest breast cancer organization in the United States as of 2015. Nancy drew from the experiences of her sister and their family to fulfill the wish Susan had expressed to help other women in her condition. The organization promotes education, research and advocacy for breast cancer patients.