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Spotlight November 2008   

The American Women’s Club hosted the 6th Annual Pink Ribbon Gala in Sociëteit  “De Witte” in The Hague. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Hague-born Ms. Frederique van der Wal. The slogan for the evening is that ‘Pink has no boundaries.’ Breast cancer does not differentiate between people based on culture, ideology or nationality. The message of inclusion and tolerance was well-received, as the gala raised awareness and Euro 305,000 to help fight this pernicious disease.

Following are the remarks of Ambassador Culbertson at the Gala:

Ambassador Culbertson speaks at the Pink Ribbon Gala
The Hague, October 4, 2008

Thank you for that kind introduction.  And thank
you all for joining us tonight.  It is a great pleasure for me and my wife Germaine to be with you at the Pink Ribbon Gala.  On this occasion, we all celebrate the
nearly two decades of important work Pink Ribbon
International has done since it was initiated by a leading Dutch citizen, Walter Scheffrahn.

Pink Ribbon International is active all around the
world, but The Netherlands is second to no country in its dedication to combating breast cancer.  If you look on the Pink Ribbon web site, as I did, you will find a direct connection to the Netherlands with the board members
and inspirational leaders Ton van der Stap, and Xavier
Weert.  And of course there are many others, including
many of my fellow American citizens who live in the
Netherlands and work to improve the lives of all of us.

Most of us, unfortunately, are touched by cancer at
some point in our lives, whether by our own illness or
that of a loved one.  All of us here probably know a
cancer victim or survivor already, perhaps several.

A million people a year are diagnosed with breast
cancer, and in very many countries breast cancer is both the most common cancer and the leading cause of
cancer- related death for women.  In the United States,
more women will die this year from breast cancer than
from automobile accidents.

So for all our sakes, it is crucial that we share our
experience and understanding of this disease, and work together to continue to improve women's health.  The work you all do is vital in this regard, both to our quality of life today and to our chances for a better future.

The women of the world have benefited greatly in
the past 2 decades from your efforts -- raising awareness -- promoting early screening, detection, and treatment -- and sharing information.

Early detection and aggressive treatment remain the best recipe for survival, and breast cancer education and outreach remain priorities for us all.

Survival rates have increased dramatically for breast
cancer victims in the last 20 years, do in no small part to
the work of thousands of volunteers around the globe,
including those here tonight.

As the Ambassador of the United States, and as a
husband and a father, I thank you.

Pink Ribbon Gala website

Department of State
Embassy of the United States,
The Hague The Netherlands

Ambassador and Mrs. Culbertson at the Pink Ribbon Gala. Photo: American Women's Club
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