Her activism began grimly, when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. "I feel that I got famous, I got cancer, and I lived to tell about it," she says. "Now let's spin this!" Cancer first brought her to Washington, where she teamed with Democrats and Republicans to win passage of Johanna's Law, signed by the president this year, to create a campaign to educate women and health pros about the early signs of ovarian and other gynecological cancers. In June, she created Cancer Schmancer, based in Northern Virginia, to promote women's health issues.
Along the way, she says she won first lady Laura Bush's help and was rewarded with a nomination to be a special U.S. envoy on women's health issues. Her appointment is stuck in the usual bureaucracy, but she swears there are no skeletons in her closet. "I'm a good girl, I am," she says. Her further political goal: being a New York senator. "If Hillary wins," she tells us of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, "I want that seat!"
By Paul Bedard